Customer Satisfaction toward After-Sales Services Declines in China Due to Rising Customer Expectations

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Audi Ranks Highest among Luxury Brands in After-Sales Customer Satisfaction; Dongfeng Peugeot Ranks Highest among Mass Market Brands

SHANGHAI: 31 July 2013 Overall customer satisfaction with after-sales service at authorized dealerships in China declines in 2013, largely due to rising customer expectations toward the service experience, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 China Customer Service Index (CSI) Study.SM

The China Customer Service Index Study, now in its 13th year, measures satisfaction among vehicle owners (between 12 and 24 months of ownership) who visit an authorized dealer's service department for maintenance or repair work during the past six months. The 12-24 month ownership typically represents a substantial portion of the vehicle warranty period. The study examines five factors to determine overall satisfaction with dealer service (in order of importance): service quality; service facility; vehicle pick-up; service advisor; and service initiation. The customer satisfaction score measures the performance among authorized dealers on meeting customers' expectations of their after-sales experience.

Overall customer satisfaction with after-sales service in China drops to 815 on a 1,000-point scale in 2013 from 832 in 2012, driven largely by a decline in satisfaction with Chinese domestic brands and Japanese and European brands. Customer satisfaction with Chinese domestic brands declines by 31 points to 751 in 2013. Customer satisfaction with Japanese brands averages 831, compared with 860 in 2012. European brands experience a 17-point decrease to 832 in 2013, while U.S. brands achieve an average score of 851, a one-point decrease from 2012. Among all brands of origin, only Korean brands collectively show improvement in customer satisfaction, with a year-over-year increase of 13 points to 874.

The declines in satisfaction with European, Chinese domestic and Japanese brands are attributed to the significant increase in customer expectations of their service experiences. The study identifies key performance indicators (KPIs) that contribute to overall customer satisfaction with the after-service experience. When implementing 13 KPIs, European brands experience a 37-point decrease in customer satisfaction, compared with 2012. When they implement 13 KPIs, satisfaction with Japanese and Chinese domestic brands decreases by 34 points and 33 points, respectively. When U.S. and Korean brands implement the same number of KPIs customer satisfaction remains consistent year over year.

"The competitive landscape continues to be aggressive, driven by product proliferation and rising customer expectations, making it imperative for manufacturers and dealerships alike to develop points of differentiation on delivering a superior customer experience in after-sales services," said Tony Zhou, director of automotive research at J.D. Power China, Shanghai. "The industry should also be attuned to macroeconomic dynamics and be agile in adapting dealer-service processes and standards in response to the changing business environment.

In the first five months of 2013, China had 6.7 million new passenger vehicles on the road, a 17 percent increase from the same period in 2012. Despite the aggressive dealer network expansion, this increase in the number of vehicles has put immense pressure on capacity at dealer service departments."

Zhou noted that customer loyalty is particularly important because after-sales service is a significant profit center for dealerships. After-sales services account for 50 percent of overall dealer profit, increasing from 44 percent in 2012, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 Dealer Attitude Study. SM

Customer satisfaction with their after-sales experience has a direct impact on dealers' service volume. Service volume among dealers with high customer satisfaction (831 points and above) averages 14,692 service visits per year per dealership, compared with 11,224 service visits among those with low satisfaction (773 points and below).

To improve customer satisfaction, priority should be placed on building a personal relationship with customers. The top KPI is service advisor paying full attention to each customer and focusing on customer's individual needs, which has a 65-point and 40-point impact on overall satisfaction for luxury brands and mass market brands, respectively.

"China is going to introduce the car warranty policy in October, supporting customers' rights to return defective vehicles and seek a refund or replacement," said Mei Songlin, vice president and managing director of J.D. Power China, Shanghai. "Dealers are at the front line of ensuring a positive customer experience. Meeting or surpassing customer needs is critical to mitigating the potential adverse effect of this new policy on customer loyalty and profitability for brands and dealers alike."

For the first time, the CSI Study separates luxury brands from mass market brands. The objective of the segmentation is to address the differences in customer expectations regarding after-sales service in the two market segments.

Overall customer satisfaction with after-sales service among luxury brands averages 849, while mass market brands average 811.

Audi ranks highest in the luxury segment with a score of 880, and performs particularly well in all five factors. BMW ranks second (873) and Cadillac third (872).

Among mass market brands, Dongfeng Peugeot ranks highest at 882, performing particularly well in service advisor, service initiation and vehicle pick-up. Following Dongfeng Peugeot in the rankings are Guangqi Honda (881) and Dongfeng Citroën (879).

The 2013 China Customer Service Index (CSI) Study is based on street intercept and face-to-face interviews with 15,370 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between February 2011 and May 2012, and examines 71 passenger vehicle brands. The study was fielded between February and May 2013 in 43 major cities in China.

The Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study is one of eight consumer-based benchmark studies conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific in China. Other 2013 studies conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific include:

•The China Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which measures satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process, was released in late June.

•The China New-Vehicle Intender Study (NVIS), which examines customers' pre-purchase perceptions and considerations, will be released in late August.

•The China Original Equipment Tire Satisfaction Index (OE-TSI) Study, which measures customer satisfaction with original equipment tires, will be released in September
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•The China Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study (MWES), which measures the effectiveness of OEM websites on the basis of the Voice of the Customer, will be released in late September.

•The China Initial Quality Study (IQS), which measures problems experienced by new-vehicle owners during the first two to six months of ownership, will be released in October.

•The China Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which measures what excites and delights owners about their new vehicle's performance and design during the first two to six months of ownership, will be released in November.

•The China Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which evaluates overall vehicle dependability during the first 25-36 months of ownership, will be published in December.

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: ellen_wang@jdpa.com. Please follow J.D. Power at

About J.D. Power
J.D. Power is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power has offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit
JDPower.com. J.D. Power is a business unit of McGraw-Hill Financial.

About McGraw Hill Financial

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Media Relations Contacts:

Ms. Ellen Wang; Public Relation Supervisor; J.D. Power Asia Pacific; Shanghai, 200040 China; +86 21 2208 0831; ellen_wang@jdpa.com

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