TOKYO: 23 Aug. 2018 — Customer satisfaction has improved overall, specifically with salespersons in the mass market segment and delivery in the luxury segment, according to the J.D. Power 2018 Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.SM.
On average, overall sales satisfaction has improved by 6 points from 2017 to 671 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2018. By segment, satisfaction with mass market brands averages 668 points in 2018, up 6 points from 2017, while satisfaction with luxury brands averages 717, up 7 points.
“It has always been important to hire charismatic salespersons and follow the sale through to the end and based on this years’ results, customers are putting more of the weight of their satisfaction on their experience with the salesperson,” said Koichi Urayama, Director of the Automotive Division at J.D. Power. “Not only do salespersons need to be personable, but they also need to have adequate knowledge of the vehicle and pay attention to the customer’s needs and continue that through the entire purchase experience past delivery to deliver a satisfying customer experience.”
Following are some of the key findings of the study:
- Salesperson personality boosts satisfaction: In the mass market segment, customer satisfaction has improved in the salesperson factor by a significant 10 points to 712 (714 for the industry average). This improvement is caused by higher satisfaction with the salesperson’s attitudes and responses, including courtesy/ friendliness (0.12 points up from 2017) and responsiveness (0.11 points up from 2017).
- Fuel economy falls in importance: Only 31% of customers cite good gas mileage (fuel economy) as the key reason for purchasing a new vehicle—which was the most frequently cited reason in 2014— decreasing 11 percentage points from 2014.
- Financing/ Leasing and utilization of loans increases: The percentage of customers who purchased outright has decreased by 7 percentage points from 2014 to 62% this year, while the number of customers who use financing/ leasing through their dealer or outside source has increased by 7 percentage points from 2014 to 38%. Customers who use residual value financing rose by 19 percentage points from 2014 to 62% in 2018.
Among the 10 mass market brands included in the study, Volkswagen ranks highest for the second consecutive year, with a score of 715. Volkswagen performs particularly well in all four factors. Volkswagen is followed by Toyota (682), Nissan (675) and Mazda (672).
Among the five luxury brands included in the study, Lexus ranks highest for the 12th consecutive year, with a score of 756. Lexus performs particularly well in all four factors. Lexus is followed by Audi (715), Volvo (712) and Mercedes-Benz (707).
The 2018 Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, now in its 17th year, measures customer satisfaction with the sales process at automotive dealerships based on four factors that are comprised of 20 attributes (in order of importance): salesperson (34%); working out the deal (26%); facility (21%); and delivery (20%). The study measures customer satisfaction with the dealer where they purchased their new passenger vehicle between April 2017 and March 2018. The study is based on responses from 7,220 domestic and import vehicle owners after two to 12 months of ownership. The online survey was fielded in May and June 2018.