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2013 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study Results

2013 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study Results

By Jeff Youngs, August 16, 2013
Aftermarket auto service shops appear to be outperforming auto dealerships in customer satisfaction across Canada generally. The just-published J.D. Power 2013 Canadian Customer Commitment Index StudySM finds that both dealerships and aftermarket shops are increasing their capabilities and enhancing their services to compete with one another, and, as a result, both have improved overall consumer satisfaction.

NAPA AUTOPRO and Lexus dealerships rank highest (in a tie) in satisfying automotive service customers in Canada, with an overall index score of 863 on a 1,000-point scale. This is the second consecutive year that NAPA AUTOPRO has ranked highest. Rounding out the five highest-ranked brands are Great Canadian Oil Change (861); Volkswagen dealerships (840); and Fountain Tire (838).

Overall satisfaction with the service customers receive, both at dealerships and in the automotive aftermarket, averages 830 in 2013, up slightly from 827 in 2012. However, among customers with vehicles in the 4- to 12-year age range satisfaction is 842 at aftermarket shops, compared with 817 at dealerships.

Customer perception of the quality of work completed is higher in the aftermarket (842), compared with the dealership (810). The study finds that customers spend an average of $232 per visit for service at an aftermarket shop, compared with $264 per visit for service at the dealership.

"There is a convergence going as the service departments fight for market share," said J.D. Ney, supervisor of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power. "Service providers don't want to give customers any reason to go anywhere else, so they're offering a full or wider spectrum of products and services to attract them and keep them coming back.

"The study finds that owners take their vehicle to the dealership for the majority of their maintenance and repair work when it is new, but they are increasingly likely to visit the aftermarket as the vehicle ages and the warranty expires," said Ney. "Part of the reason for that is owners have a perception that aftermarket shops provide significantly cheaper service. However, while most owners find the cost isn't appreciably different, their satisfaction remains high. This would indicate the aftermarket is providing high-quality service first and foremost as well as doing a good job in terms of highlighting and selling the value of their work."

Both dealerships and aftermarket shops are ramping up their abilities to provide quick oil changes and tire service, presumably in hopes of getting their customers into the habit of patronizing them regularly.

The percentage of customers whose final invoice was on par with their expectations (a critical driver of cost-related satisfaction) differs between the dealership and aftermarket service options. Slightly more than one-fourth (26%) of customers who took their vehicle to the dealership for service indicate their final bill was higher than expected, compared with 16% of aftermarket customers who indicate the same. When asked to rate the fairness of those charges, 27% of those who took their vehicle to an aftermarket shop rate the fairness of charges 10 on a 10-point scale, while 20% of those who took their vehicle to the dealer for service rated their charges 10 points for fairness.

When it comes to satisfying service customers, dealers arguably have more at stake. Customers that are satisfied with their service experience are significantly more likely to buy the same brand the next time they purchase a new vehicle, something the aftermarket doesn't have to consider. Among customers who are highly satisfied with their dealer service experience (average overall customer satisfaction of 900 or greater), 79% say they're "likely" to purchase the same brand of vehicle next time, while 46% percent of customers who are highly unsatisfied with their dealer service experience (average overall customer satisfaction of 500 or less) indicate the same.

"The service dealerships provide in the back of their store affects the sales in the front of their store," said Ney. "The service department is their most recent experience with the dealership, and that's what's top of mind when the customer is in the market for a new vehicle. A good service experience will help keep them loyal, but a bad service experience will send them shopping elsewhere."

About the Study
The 2013 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study measures the service behaviors, satisfaction, and loyalty of vehicle owners whose vehicles are between 4 and 12 years old. The study is based on responses from more than 21,600 owners in Canada, and was fielded in March 2013 and in June 2013.

Additional Research:

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