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U.S., Canadian dealers receive service kudos in J.D. Power study

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 09:00
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Customer satisfaction with dealership service departments remains high in the U.S. and Canada, despite a record number of recalls, according to data from the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. and Canadian Customer Service Index studies.

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Overall customer satisfaction with dealership service in Canada is at 731 on a 1,000-point scale, while aftermarket shops in that country scored 749. Satisfaction with dealers in the U.S. is at 800 (a slight dip from 2014, when the score reached 804). In the U.S., overall satisfaction with dealer service averages 852 for luxury brands, and 792 for mass-market brands.

In the U.S., the CSI among customers with recall-related repairs improved from 777 in 2014 to 789 in 2015, reducing the satisfaction gap between recall and non-recall customers. The percentage of service visits related to recalls reached 16 percent in 2015, the highest it's been in recent history.

“Even though recalls can create a large influx of customers into the service department and really strain capacity, automakers are better prepared to handle recalls than they were a few years ago,” says Chris Sutton, vice president, U.S. automotive retail practice at J.D. Power. “Manufacturers have shown that it is possible to turn a potential negative into a positive when it comes to recalls if they’re done in a way that doesn’t inconvenience the customer.”

The Canadian study measures the service experience, satisfaction and intended loyalty among owners of vehicles that are 4 to 12 years old, and analyzes the customer experience from both warranty and non-warranty service occasions. Overall satisfaction is based on the combined index scores of five factors that comprise the overall service experience (in order of importance): service initiation (24 percent); service quality (23 percent); service advisor (20 percent); service facility (17 percent); and vehicle pick-up (16 percent). Scores for each factor are reflected in an index based on a 1,000-point scale.

The U.S. 2015 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study focuses on owners of 1 to 5-year-old vehicles that received service at franchised dealer facilities.

The Canadian study showed that the satisfaction gap between dealer and aftermarket service continues to shrink. "We've seen that gap closing, and that's true in terms of market share as well," says J.D. Ney, manager of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power. "It wasn't that long ago that aftermarket players had 60 percent market share. Now that number is much closer to a 50/50 split."

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