Frequently Asked Questions

Share This Page

Learn more about J.D. Power and JDPower.com by viewing our list of frequently asked questions.

What is J.D. Power?

J.D. Power, a business unit of McGraw Hill Financial, is well known for our global marketing information based on independent consumer surveys of product and service quality, customer satisfaction, and buyer behavior. Each year, we interact with millions of consumers to better understand their opinions, perceptions, and expectations about a variety of products and services in more than a dozen industries.

Our services include customer satisfaction research, market research, and performance improvement programs. 

Established in 1968 and headquartered in Westlake Village, California, J.D. Power has three U.S. offices and nine international locations serving Canada, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region. On April 1, 2005, J.D. Power and Associates became a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, which changed its name to McGraw Hill Financial in 2013.

Learn more about J.D. Power >

Learn more about McGraw Hill Financial >

J.D. Power: Integrity, Independence, Impact®

  • Conducts research used by companies worldwide to improve product quality and customer satisfaction.
  • Bases its research on feedback from millions of consumers and business customers worldwide.
  • Compiles studies that serve as industry benchmarks for measuring quality and customer satisfaction.
  • Does not publish or incorporate the opinions of J.D. Power or its employees in its rankings.

How does J.D. Power conduct its research?

J.D. Power surveys consumers and business customers by mail, telephone, and e-mail. We go to great lengths to make sure that these respondents are chosen at random and that they actually have experience with the product or company they are rating. For example, ratings for the Lexus IS come from people who actually own one. As a result, J.D. Power ratings are based entirely on consumer opinions and perceptions.

What are Power Circle Ratings?

Power Circle Ratings* (the Ratings) are an easy-to-use system developed by J.D. Power for JDPower.com. All Ratings are based on the opinions of consumers who have actually used or owned the product or service being rated. Since the Ratings are based on J.D. Power research studies that survey a representative sample of owners, they are indicative of what typical buyers may experience.

High ratings for a particular product/service/company do not necessarily mean that every customer will have a positive experience. It simply indicates that, on average, consumer perceptions of the product/service/company indicate that it stands out when compared with competitive products/services/companies.

Learn how Power Circle Ratings are calculated >

*Please note that Power Circle Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards.

What is an index score?

J.D. Power uses a customer satisfaction "Index" as a means to determine most of its ratings and awards. To determine this Index, J.D. Power asks survey respondents to rate various aspects of their service or product experience. These vary by industry, but include such areas as customer service, billing, ease of use, etc. Based on these consumer responses, we then determine the importance of each of these areas and how each contributes to overall satisfaction. The consumer ratings on each of these areas, and their relative importance, are combined to create an overall numerical Index score--and this score determines which companies or brands receive a J.D. Power award.

What is the difference between Voice of the Customer feedback and expert opinion?

J.D. Power provides "Voice of the Customer" research based on actual survey responses from real consumers. J.D. Power represents the Voice of the Customer by translating survey responses from consumers and businesses into studies and reports that are used by companies worldwide to improve quality and customer satisfaction. These studies, reports, and Power Circle Ratings are based solely on Voice of the Customer feedback*.

J.D. Power researchers who conduct the surveys and prepare study results do not conduct product testing activities. J.D. Power does, however, leverages its expertise within the industries it serves to help companies improve their quality and customer satisfaction performance. Associates at J.D. Power also provide content on JDPower.com that showcases their expertise.

Other companies may provide their own experts to test products and services and generate ratings based on such expert opinions. But, this is not how J.D. Power operates. Our study results, reports, and Power Circle Ratings are solely based on the Voice of the Customer.

I had a negative experience with a product or service provider that ranked highly in a J.D. Power study. How can this be?

Even top performers occasionally receive poor ratings. However, when the responses from thousands of consumers are combined, industry leaders have higher overall ratings than their competitors. The expectation is that you are more likely to be satisfied with an industry leader than with those that receive lower overall ratings.

How do companies receive approval to use J.D. Power awards?

J.D. Power has strict guidelines for advertising claims, and every advertising claim related to a study is reviewed prior to publication to ensure accuracy. Only highest-ranked performers in pre-defined categories are allowed to license the use of J.D. Power awards in advertising.

Results are based on measures of customer satisfaction and quality by consumers that are proprietary to J.D. Power. Awards and performance ranking are based on numerical scores, and not necessarily on statistical significance. Our experience indicates that even when small differences occur in the scores of those being measured, these small perceived differences help drive competition in the marketplace, thereby improving product and service quality and driving increases in overall customer satisfaction.

How can J.D. Power information be unbiased when manufacturers pay for the studies?

J.D. Power industry benchmarking studies generally are not funded by the companies that are measured. Our syndicated studies are funded and owned by the company and based on the aggregated responses of consumer perceptions of product quality and customer satisfaction--not the opinions of J.D. Power. After the study results are published, manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, and other industry participants can choose whether or not to purchase the study. Ownership of study data is key to the company's independence and unbiased position. This third-party perspective enables us to provide clients and consumers with credible and clear feedback. Although J.D. Power does conduct custom research for many clients to help drive quality and customer satisfaction improvement, results of this type of proprietary research are owned by the clients that commission the research and the results are not made available to the public.