Overall Satisfaction with Automotive Dealer Service Declines, Impacted by Decreases in Service Quality

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Lexus Ranks Highest in Satisfying Customers with Dealer Service among Luxury Brands for an Eighth Consecutive Year; MINI Ranks Highest among Mass Market Brands for a Second Consecutive Year

Tokyo: 18 September 2014 ― Automotive dealers in Japan are improving their implementation rates of service activities, but their performance lags in implementing measures that impact the perceived quality of service, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2014 Japan Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM released today.

The study, now in its 13th year, measures overall customer satisfaction with service performed at automotive authorized dealer facilities based on five factors (in order of importance): vehicle pick-up (21%); service representative (21%); service quality (21%); facility (19%); and service initiation (18%). Overall customer satisfaction is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher customer satisfaction.

Overall service satisfaction averages 652 points in 2014, down from 679 in 2013. In the luxury segment, overall satisfaction is 726 points in 2014, a 34-point drop from 2013, while satisfaction in the mass market segment is 649 points, a 28-point decline from 2013.

The study finds a correlation between overall satisfaction and how likely customers are to revisit the same dealer for after-sales services. Among highly satisfied customers (satisfaction scores of 800 points or higher), 48 percent indicate they intend to return to the dealer for all after-sales services in the future, while only 30 percent of customers with low satisfaction (scores of 500 or lower) intend to take their vehicle to their dealership for future service.

On average, both luxury and mass market dealers implement 9.3 of the 12 quantitative service activities—such as greeting customers when they bring their vehicle in for service, explaining service charges and completing the work on time—in 2014, up from 8.5 for luxury dealerships and 8.4 for mass market dealerships in 2013. However, among the 13 service quality measures—such as answering the customer’s questions, cleaning the vehicle and providing advice on future maintenance—the average number implemented has declined year over year in both the luxury (5.1 vs. 5.5, respectively) and mass market (3.2 vs. 3.5, respectively) segments.  

“The number of vehicles taken to dealerships for service in Japan has increased as vehicle sales have increased, and dealerships have made profound improvements in their operational efficiency, such as managing their service bay capacity and having sufficient staff to assist their customers,” said Taku Kimoto, executive director of the automotive division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Tokyo. “While the dealerships are improving in the quantitative area, the quality of their customer service is dropping, leading to a decline in overall service satisfaction. Dealers need to find a way to continue to manage the volume of their service work while providing the quality of service vehicle owners expect.”

Key Findings

  • Among luxury brands, satisfaction declines across all study factors in 2014. Year over year, vehicle pick-up drops by 40 points; service representative by 37 points; service quality by 33 points; service initiation by 32 points; and facility by 31 points. Among mass market brands, satisfaction also declines across all factors year over year: vehicle pick-up (-37 points); service initiation (-28); service representative (-27); service quality (-26); and facility (-20).
  • Compared with mass market brands, satisfaction with customer service is higher among luxury brands in all factors, especially with the widest gap (100 points) in the facility among five major factors.
  • ŸAmong the 91.7 percent of customers who are able to get a service appointment on their preferred date, satisfaction averages 664. Satisfaction among customers who are unable to get an appointment on their preferred date drops to 551 points. The percentage of customers able to get an appointment on their preferred date drops to 91.7 percent in 2014 from 93.4 percent in 2013.
  • ŸVehicle pick-up satisfaction decreases by 38 points among customers who turned in their vehicle at a dealer and by 29 points among customers who used a vehicle pick-up service, compared with 2013.

2014 Ranking Highlights

Lexus ranks highest in the luxury segment for an eighth consecutive year, with an overall CSI score of 796. Lexus performs particularly well in all five factors. Mercedes-Benz ranks second at 726.

MINI ranks highest in the mass market segment for a second consecutive year, with a score of 685. Nissan ranks second (661), followed by Mazda (659) at third and Mitsubishi and Peugeot in a tie at fourth (658 each).

The 2014 Japan Customer Service Index (CSI) Study measures passenger-vehicle owner satisfaction with after-sales service obtained during the most recent one-year period at an authorized dealership. The study is based on responses from 9,342 domestic and import vehicle owners after 15 to 50 months of ownership. The online survey was fielded from late May through late June 2014.

About J.D. Power Asia Pacific

J.D. Power Asia Pacific has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Information regarding J.D. Power Asia Pacific and its products can be accessed through the Internet at japan.jdpower.com.

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