Pre-Service Communication Is a Key Driver of Vehicle Owner Satisfaction With the Service Experience in Australia

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Honda and Toyota Rank Highest (in a Tie) in Customer Satisfaction With Authorized After-Sales Service Centers in Australia

SINGAPORE: 27 November 2012 — Proactive communication with vehicle owners during the pre-service process may have a key impact on satisfaction with the overall vehicle service experience, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 Australia Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM released today.

Now in its third year, the study measures overall satisfaction with the vehicle service experience at authorized service centers by examining five factors (listed in order of importance): service quality; vehicle pick-up; service advisor; service initiation; and service facility. Overall satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction.

The study finds that among the various communication touch points during the vehicle service process, a positive pre-service communication experience assists in creating a highly satisfying overall service experience. Satisfaction increases by 105 points when vehicle owners are given an estimate of how long service will take, compared with those who are not given an estimate. In addition, satisfaction is 40 points higher when vehicle owners are notified by the dealership when their vehicle needs service, compared with vehicle owners who were not notified.

"Proactive communication during pre-service helps pave the way for a highly satisfying vehicle owner experience," said Mohit Arora, executive director J.D.Power Asia Pacific. "Owners prefer to be updated by the network on their service due dates, as well advised during vehicle drop-off of the time to pick up the vehicle. These simple steps help to create a positive first impression about the network's ability to deliver a quality after-sales experience."

Overall customer satisfaction averages 791 in 2012, a 2-point decrease from 2011. The marginal drop in satisfaction is due to the decline in scores in three factors: quality (-5 points), service advisor (-8 points) and service facility (-6 points).  

Among the 12 brands ranked in this study, Honda and Toyota rank highest in a tie, each with an index score of 809. Both brands perform particularly well in service initiation. Subaru, which ranked highest in 2011, ranks third with a score of 805.

The implementation of standard operating procedures, such as "work done right the first time" and "vehicle ready when promised," has a direct impact on overall satisfaction. In order to positively impact overall satisfaction scores, it is important for the service facility to ensure at least 11 procedures or standards are provided to vehicle owners. The performance of the network in implementation of standards has remained largely unchanged, compared with 2011. During the past two years, nearly one-third of vehicle owners indicate receiving 10 or fewer standards, among whom satisfaction is 85 points below the industry average.

"Service standards are building blocks of a thorough service experience," said Arora. "It is important that the network places significant importance in ensuring administration of all these standards to mitigate dis-satisfaction and ensure service consistency."

The study finds that vehicle owners who are highly satisfied with the dealer's overall service performance have higher levels of loyalty and advocacy toward both the dealership and the brand. Among vehicle owners who are highly satisfied (satisfaction scores above 895), 81 percent say they "definitely would" revisit their service dealer for post-warranty service. In contrast, only 12 percent of highly dissatisfied customers (satisfaction scores below 713) say the same. Similarly, 69 percent of highly satisfied customers say they "definitely would" recommend their make to their friends and relatives, compared with 4 percent of highly dissatisfied customers.

The 2012 Australia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study is based on responses from 4,300 owners who purchased their new vehicle between August 2007 and August 2012 and took their vehicle for service between August 2011 and August 2012. The study was fielded in August and September 2012.

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 China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. Information regarding J.D. Power Asia Pacific and its products can be accessed through the Internet at www.jdpower.com. Media e-mail contact: xingti_liu@jdpower.com.sg

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, J.D. Power and Associates and Platts, a leader in commodities information. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

Media Relations Contacts:

XingTi Liu; J.D. Power Asia Pacific; 08-Shenton Way, #44-02/03/04; Singapore, 068811; Phone +65-67338980; xingti_liu@jdpower.com.sg

John Tews; J.D. Power and Associates; Troy, Mich.; (248) 680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com

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No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

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