Higher Service Satisfaction Means Greater Customer Loyalty
Recent investments made by automakers and dealers in improving the customer service experience are paying off in terms of more highly satisfied and loyal service customers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study.
“Manufacturers have made large investments in their retail programs, and dealers have made significant investments in key customer touch-points—people, improved processes and customer waiting areas—which are having a profoundly positive impact on their customers,” said Chris Sutton, senior director at J.D. Power and Associates. “Dealerships are placing more emphasis on the service advisor’s role, which is essential to effectively handling service customers. Having a skilled, trained advisor is vital for a positive customer experience.”
The study examines satisfaction among vehicle owners who visit a service department for maintenance or repair work. The CSI rankings are based on dealer service performance during the first three years of new-vehicle ownership, which typically represents the majority of the vehicle warranty period. Five measures are examined to determine overall satisfaction with dealer service (listed in order of importance): service quality; service initiation; service advisor; service facility; and vehicle pick-up.
Higher Service Satisfaction Equals Higher Loyalty
The study finds a direct correlation between service satisfaction and loyalty. Overall, 79 percent of vehicle owners indicate they “definitely will” return to their dealership for maintenance and repairs covered under their vehicle’s warranty, and 64 percent indicate they “definitely will” return to the dealership for service work after their vehicle’s warranty expires
“The service experience has a profound impact on vehicle owners, not just where they take their vehicle the next time they need maintenance or repairs, but also on their next vehicle purchase,” said Sutton. “Dealers know this, and most are taking the appropriate steps to ensure their customers have the best experience possible on both the sales and service sides of the store.”
Overall Satisfaction with Service Improves
Overall satisfaction with dealer service improves by 10 points in 2013, compared with 2012, with gains in all five study measures. Among the 30 rank-eligible brands, 28 improve in service satisfaction from 2011, with eight brands improving by at least 20 points.
“While there are a lot of things dealers can’t control, such as the product and the incentive levels on the sales side, one thing they can control is the service they provide,” said Sutton. “When new-vehicle sales dropped in 2008, dealers increased their focus on service, and that attention on the service customer continues today.”
Lexus ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service among luxury brands for a fifth consecutive year. Lexus achieves an overall CSI score of 862 and performs particularly well in service initiation, service facility and service quality. Rounding out the five highest-performing nameplates in the luxury segment are Cadillac (858); Jaguar (856); Acura (852); and Infiniti (848).
The 2013 U.S. CSI Study is based on responses from more than 91,000 owners and lessees of 2008 to 2012 model-year vehicles. Read the full article here.