Our customers share stories about their BMW experience
Dr. John Coverdale, President – Center for Workplace Solutions
The quest for brand loyalty remains a top goal for every business.
No matter how a business initially captures that loyalty, it must continue to produce outstanding products and deliver exceptional service to ensure that it lasts.
While many automobile dealers may be slow to react to recent consumer trends in car buying, Competition BMW invested in developing and nurturing a connection and building trust by giving their customers what they want: a positive and consistent dealer experience knowing that their loyalty is important to earn and vital to keep.
IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR
Though no one is born with brand loyalty, in the Coverdale household in Blue Point, Long Island, it was pretty darn close.
Dr. John Coverdale is a professor of business at Stony Brook University, following in his parents’ footsteps, his father was a school administrator and his mother a teacher. John is also the president of Center for Workplace Solutions, a management consulting firm and a second-generation BMW customer.
His father, Fred, owned a total of eight BMWs, the first two were purchased from another Long Island dealer but were serviced at Competition. Fred liked the service so much that he became a regular. Over the next few years he bought six more BMWs, all 5-Series models.
“My dad purchased his first BMW in 1988,” John recalls. “I remember that it was delivered to our house in June. It was a Delphin Grey 528e with red interior. My father used the word ‘addictive’ to describe his feelings when he drove his BMW, and he wasn’t a car fanatic.”
Every three years, the Coverdale family would travel to St. James to shop at Competition BMW. John and his dad would select the car and the options, while Mrs. Coverdale would pick the color. When they were done, they would all go out to lunch.
“It became a family event,” John says with a smile. “The entire experience would take up the better part of a Saturday.”
Creating strong connections to a brand means delivering on a promise. When a brand experience like the Coverdale’s is continually positive, it builds a long-lasting relationship and deepens the attachment.
John remembers a key formative event that occurred when he was about 24 years old. His uncle had just passed away, and his father couldn’t travel to Maryland to attend the funeral, so he asked John to drive his mother in his stead.
It was John’s first experience driving a BMW.
“When I drove that car, I knew what my father meant about its power. I was hooked.”
AT THE CAR WASH
“My father came from a humble background. He was the oldest of seven and my grandfather was a truck driver by trade,” John says.
In the Coverdale household, Easter was the family’s favorite holiday, and they would traditionally travel to Delaware to spend it with their extended family.
John remembers one particular Easter when his grandfather had a special request. He asked John’s dad if he could take his BMW to the car wash.
John recalls that his father was initially reluctant about handing over the keys to his beloved BMW, but he relented.
“My grandfather was a very social person,” John says, smiling at the recollection, “so when he got the car, he picked up all his old friends and they went to the car wash.”
His grandfather was gone for more than four hours. John says that his dad was camped out by the front window, nervously scanning the street for their return. “When he finally came back, my father couldn’t be mad,” John recalls. “My grandfather was mesmerized by the BMW. It had built-in radar so it chirped. He didn’t know where the sound was coming from. The hood opened up in reverse, and he couldn’t get over the tires. He kept asking questions about the car.”
John’s grandfather loved having the opportunity to drive his friends in his son’s BMW.
“He talked about that day until he died,” John says. “He kept saying, ‘I can’t wait to drive the next one.’”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY
In 1990, John’s youngest daughter was born at Stony Brook University Hospital. Later that day, John asked his father to drive him back to the hospital so he could pick up his car.
“We were driving up Nicolls Road in my dad’s 5-Series,” John says. “He had on jazz music and we were having quality alone time together on a really important day.
“I remember looking at the dashboard—the illuminated dash—and you couldn’t hear anything,” John recalls. “The car was so quiet, I felt so safe, although a bit overwhelmed by the day’s event. I thought to myself, ‘I have a new baby and a new house. Will I ever be able to live the comfortable lifestyle of my parents?”
As if his father could read his mind, Fred told his son: “Just keep working hard, continue your education and stay focused, and everything will work out fine.”
It was a special moment for them both.
“I wasn’t sure if my father was reflecting on his own life or simply trying to ease my mind a bit,” John recalls thinking, “but I remember the dashboard illumination vividly.
“When I look back at that moment, at the birth of my daughter and the quality time I spent with my father on that drive,” John says today, “it was a well-timed message, and one I’ll never forget.”
YESTERDAY ONCE MORE
The last conversation John had with his father, Fred was ill in the hospital.
“My father said, ‘When I get out of here, you and I will be taking our trip to the BMW dealer to pick out my new car.’”
Inspired, John said he was planning on buying his first BMW.
Fred’s answer to that was: “Great, now you can pay for lunch!”
On June 10 2013, Fred Coverdale passed away, never having left the hospital. Later that same month, John traveled to Competition to pick up his 535 with an M Sport Package.
“BMW is one of the most amazing-looking cars,” he says. “It looks like it’s moving even when standing still. The balance of perfection, elegance with a blend of toughness, is appealing to me.”
On that trip to the dealership his mother accompanied him, and she decided to buy her first BMW, a 328i.
And in keeping with the Coverdale tradition that began more than 20 years ago, after they picked up their new cars, John and his mom went out to lunch together.