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The Challenge of Success

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Story by Jim Krahn

As the most successful BMW dealership in Canada, you’d think being on top wouldn’t be a problem. But at Brian Jessel, we believe in setting the bar higher every year by continually exceeding our customers’ highest expectations. Customer Relations Manager Jim Krahn shares his strategies for building a hugely successful business, one customer at a time.

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Businesses face challenges every day, most of which they would probably rather do without. Success, on the other hand, is something every business strives for. Where’s the problem in that? The truth is, success has its own inherent challenges. Once you’ve experienced success, there is nothing like it to drive you onward and upward; nothing gives you greater incentive to discover better business practices, improve more services and please more customers.

In a sense, success places you on a trajectory towards excellence, and the challenge—the most rewarding of all challenges—lies in continually testing what you’ve done before. This is the point at which Brian Jessel BMW finds itself today. We’ve been the number one BMW dealer in Canada for New Car Sales forfour consecutive years, and are on our way to a fifth year. Our Pre-Owned Vehicle Department has been number one in Canada for two consecutive years, and is on its way to a third. Our Parts Department, not to be outdone, had the highest sales in Canada in 2006, and in March of this year broke the Canadian record for sales of over one million dollars in a single month. As ofthis moment, our service department is number one in Canada this year for labour dollars earned.

This kind of success is the kind other businesses would love to have. We love it, too. And we love the challenge that being on top presents us with, namely to adapt, innovate, and find new ways to provide even greater levels of service to the thousands of customers we now serve, and the thousands more we’ll serve in the future. To achieve these new heights, we need to grow. But growth doesn’t just mean expanding ourfacilities and hiring more people. Our philosophy is all about growing smart, and smart growth hinges on yes, bigger and better facilities, but also on hiring and training the right people.

We are always looking to hire individuals who care sincerely about others, and who have a driving need to provide a level of service that is second to none. As Customer Relations Manager, I take staffing very seriously. I have learned, over my many years in the business, that true passion, sincerity and a desire to help others can often trump credentials when it comes to providing excellent customer service. Anothertruism about growth is that “It costs moneyto bring a customer into the business, but it costs seven times more to keep them.”

At Brian Jessel BMW, we are always prepared to make the necessary expenditures in order to grow our business and retain our customers. For example, the one-of-a-kind service we have always provided and, indeed, perfected in ourservice departmentwas originallycomplemented byfewerthan 6 BMW courtesycars; now, we offerover60. And even with the largest per-capita fleet of BMW courtesy cars in Canada, we will not hesitate to rent up 20 cars per day to meet the needs of our customers. And if the rental agency should run out of, we’ll drive you ourselves, whereveryou need to go in the LowerMainland, wheneveryou need to go.

We call this “Guaranteed Mobility,” and we’re proud to offer it. Every successful business needs to reinvent itself from time to time, in order to continue to exceed their customers’ expectations. For us, that means thatwhatwe considered the ultimate in customerservice five years ago is considered ordinary service today. And at Brian Jessel, we just don’t do ordinary service.

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Our new Human Resources Manager, John Cheng, understands our business. He plays a major role in bringing qualified staffto Brian Jessel BMW, and in retaining the many long-term employees who have built their careers with us. In the Customer Relations Department, we have grown from a one person operation to a five-person team. With the recent addition of a Delivery Specialist, Shawn Wang, we can now spend hours of personal time with every customer when they take delivery of their BMW purchases, sharing our expertise with them until they feel completely knowledgeable about their new vehicle.

Customer Relations Assistant, Jorge Su is a new addition to our group. Senior Assistant Jack Lai was recently promoted to expand his position to include the role of Delivery SpecialistTeam Leader. We have also added new staffin almosteveryotherdepartment. Marketing & Communications Manager Rhoda Rizkalla brings a wealth of public relations, media relations and marketing expertise to her new role. Look also forMarketing AssistantKenneth Lee, Pre-Owned Sales ManagerLarry Mann, Information Technology Specialist Denna Matthews, Lease End SpecialistMaxine Petrick, Drive Through SupervisorSonyPangalia,Service Administration Assistant Tina Lalonde, a third Business Manager Catherine Lai, additional sales hostess Shin Chiao Yu, Service Receptionist Dawn Marquis and many more sales and service support staff.

A much-anticipated addition to our service department has arrived in the form of our new Express Service (see Robert Harrison’s article on page 90). This service will give our customers more options and greater convenience when servicing their BMW. Team leader Breanne Yip and Senior Technician Corrie are pleased to be rolling out the first Express Service program in Western Canada. We are thrilled to have chosen to implement the first “true” installation of Express Service. So, what does all this mean to you, our customer? It means we are constantly striving to please you in new, innovative and effective ways. Because of you, we are so much more than a BMW sales, service and parts facility.

You inspired such innovations as ourfirst-class M Café, our beautiful lifestyle boutique, and our customer lounge. You inspired us to create innovative events such as the VIP Breakfast Lecture series, and, most recently, the glamorous event known as CABRIOLET. That evening, held on May 3, over 800 guests enjoyed a lavish fashion show courtesy of Hugo Boss and Harry Rosen, dined on food created by the city’s best chefs, in support of BC Women’s Hospital and the VGH/UBC Women’s Hospital Foundation.

I often say to our customers that at Brian Jessel BMW, “We strive for perfection, realize we are not perfect, but never give up the pursuit.” This is how we have built our success over the past two decades, and how we will meet the ongoing challenge that great success represents ahead for us. For all this, we have onlyto thank you, our customer. All we ask is thatyou keep challenging us to set the bar even higher.

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