J.D. Powers Study: Dealers Are Providing Great Service

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.”

High­est-Ranked Name­plates
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.




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