Dealer Practices During Coronavirus Pandemic Improve Customer Satisfaction
According to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, overall customer satisfaction with dealership and independent service and repair facilities increases for a sixth consecutive year. The study also finds that despite the coronavirus pandemic’s stay-at-home orders and fewer customer miles driven, dealership visits dropped by only 6% in 2020 compared to 2019.
“Completing work right the first time, as well as focusing on customers’ needs, play significant roles in satisfaction—and dealers are nailing these key performance indicators nearly 100% of the time,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “It’s notable, too, that while service was less frequent in 2020, customers responded very well to convenience services such as vehicle pick-up and drop-off at their home.”
Sutton believes dealerships have an opportunity to win more business with customers by continuing to provide an exceptional service experience through pandemic-related changes to their business models.
In addition to vehicle pick-up and drop-off for service and repair, Sutton cites remote and online payment options as significant contributors to customer satisfaction in 2020. “This is an example of a process some dealers may have put into place as a safety measure during the pandemic, but which they may want to keep in place, as customers find they like it more,” Sutton said.
However, the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. CSI Study finds that battery electric vehicle (BEV) owners are less satisfied with dealership service and repair than those who drive vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines (ICE).
“BEV owners present a unique challenge for dealers,” Sutton said. “Not only are their vehicles more difficult to service than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, but also the lower frequency of visits means dealers have fewer chances to make a positive impression on these customers.”