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2015 CSI Study: Despite Three-Year Increase in Recalls, Satisfaction among Recall Customers Continues to Climb

2015 CSI Study: Despite Three-Year Increase in Recalls, Satisfaction among Recall Customers Continues to Climb

By Jeff Youngs,

The percentage of dealer service visits related to automotive recalls is rising, but at the same time, customer satisfaction with those visits is improving, according to the just-published J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study.SM The study measures customer satisfaction with service at a franchised dealer facility for maintenance or repair work among owners and lessees of 1- to 5-year-old vehicles.

According to the study, which was fielded in late 2014, 16% of the dealer service visits of those surveyed are related to automotive recalls, exceeding the previous high of 15% in 2011. The study finds that overall satisfaction among customers who take their vehicle to a dealer for recall-related work improved to 789 on a 1,000-point scale, up from 777 in 2014. This increase, combined with a slight decline in overall satisfaction with dealer service visits, reduced the satisfaction gap between recall visits and overall customer satisfaction. Overall satisfaction for customers with a non-recall visit is 778--an 11-point gap--compared with a gap of 27 points in 2014 and 21 points in 2013. Furthermore, satisfaction is 8 points higher among customers with a recall visit than among those with a repair visit (781). Overall customer satisfaction with dealer service averages 852 among luxury brands and 792 among mass market brands.

"Even though recalls can create a large influx of customers into the service department and really strain capacity, automakers are better prepared to handle recalls than they were a few years ago," said Chris Sutton, vice president, U.S. automotive retail practice at J.D. Power. "Manufacturers have shown that it is possible to turn a potential negative into a positive when it comes to recalls if they're done in a way that doesn't inconvenience the customer."

The study finds that dealerships that offer some type of express lane for customers who don't schedule service appointments substantially outperform those that don't offer this option. Also, satisfaction is substantially higher among customers who work with the same service advisor they worked with in the past than among those who work with a new advisor.

Another key finding of the study is that only 9% of customers book appointments via the Internet, compared with 73% who call for an appointment. Fully 45% of customers say they are unaware that Internet scheduling is available to them.

Jaguar, Buick Highest-Ranked Nameplates
Among luxury brands, Jaguar ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service with a score of 877. Following Jaguar in the luxury rankings are Lexus (870), Audi (865), Lincoln (861), and Cadillac (858).

With a score of 836, Buick ranks highest among mass-market brands for a second consecutive year. Rounding out the top five mass-market brands in the ranking are Mini (834), Volkswagen (818), GMC (811) and Chevrolet (807).

The 2015 U.S. CSI Study is based on responses from more than 70,000 owners and lessees of 2010 to 2014 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded between November and December 2014.

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