TORONTO: 15 August 2012 — In an ongoing battle for automotive customer loyalty, automakers may help build customer repurchase intent by offering a highly satisfying service experience, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Canadian Customer Commitment Index StudySM released today.
The study measures the service behaviours, satisfaction and loyalty of owners of vehicles that are four to 12 years old. Overall customer satisfaction is determined by examining five key factors of the service experience: service initiation; service advisor; service facility; service quality; and vehicle pick-up. The study examines customer satisfaction with both new-vehicle dealerships and aftermarket facilities.
The study finds that 42 per cent of customers who rate their dealer service experience 10 (on a 10-point scale) indicate they "definitely will" purchase the same make the next time they shop for a new vehicle. In contrast, only seven per cent of customers who rate their service experience between one and five say they "definitely will" purchase the same make.
"The dealership service staff essentially acts as a second salesperson to the customer after they have purchased the vehicle," said Ryan Robinson, director of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "The interactions they have with customers after the sale is critical to ensuring that customers not only purchase the same make of vehicle in the future, but also do so at the same dealership. The link between service satisfaction and future vehicle purchase intent is a critical one."
Communicating with Customers
The study finds that customers prefer to be communicated with via the same communication channel they use to schedule service appointments, indicating a comfort level with that channel. Among customers who schedule a service appointment via telephone, 54 per cent prefer to be contacted in the future by telephone, compared with email (32%) and traditional mail (10%). Similarly, among customers scheduling service appointments via the Internet, 66 per cent prefer to be contacted by email, compared with phone (22%), traditional mail (3%) or text message (8%).
"Knowing how a customer contacts a dealership is just as important as the communication itself," said Robinson. "The study shows that customers prefer to be contacted in the way that they schedule appointments. The additional effort that service staff put into the method of communication provides an opportunity to set the tone for the upcoming service interaction."
Type of Service Affects Customer Satisfaction
While dealership service departments are proficient in more areas than are specialty shops, such as facilities dedicated to oil changes, customer satisfaction with an oil change at a dealer service centre is 28 points lower (823 on a 1,000-point scale) than at a quick lube facility (851).
"Specialty shops can focus on a particular service and optimize the processes to make it as painless and quick as possible for customers," said Robinson. "In contrast, dealerships need to be prepared to handle any type of vehicle repair, making it more difficult to streamline any one service and provide a quick in-and-out appointment for most customers. However, dealerships should improve satisfaction within the most common activities first and expand to others."
Canadian Customer Commitment Rankings
NAPA AUTOPRO ranks highest in satisfying automotive service customers in Canada with an overall index score of 879. Rounding out the five highest-ranked brands are Jiffy Lube (857); Mr. Lube (849); Great Canadian Oil Change (848); and Subaru Dealerships (847).
The 2012 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study is based on responses from more than 18,000 owners in Canada whose vehicles are between four and 12 years old. The study was fielded in January and February 2012 and in June and July 2012.
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, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. 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/.
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