WESTLAKE, Calif. ─ Despite the percentage of dealer service visits relating to recalls reaching a five-year high of 16 percent, satisfaction among those customers is on the rise, according to a J.D. Power study.
Customer service has increased from 777 in 2014 to 789 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2015, according to the 2015 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) study, which measured customer satisfaction for maintenance or repair work among owners and lessees of one- to five-year-old vehicles.
Satisfaction among customers who made a non-recall-related service visit was 11 points lower than customers who did. In 2013 and 2014, the gap in satisfaction was 27 and 21 points, respectively.
“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,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of 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.
With a CSI score of 836, Buick ranked highest among mass-market brands for a second consecutive year. Rounding out the top five mass-market brands in the ranking were MINI (834), Volkswagen (818), GMC (811), and Chevrolet (807).
With a score of 877, Jaguar ranked highest in satisfaction with dealer service among luxury brands. Following Jaguar in the luxury ranking were Lexus (870), Audi (865), Lincoln (861) and Cadillac (858).
The study also revealed that overall satisfaction with dealer service averages 852 among luxury brands and 792 among mass-market brands. Additionally, dealers that offer some type of express lane for customers who do not schedule service appointments substantially outperformed those that didn’t offer that option (819 vs. 764, respectively).
“Among customers servicing at a dealership with an express lane, 52% indicate speaking to a service advisor immediately, compared with 38% of those servicing at a non-express lane dealer,” J.D. Power noted.
J.D. Power also looked at internet service appointment scheduling. And according to the study, only 9% of customers take advantage of such offerings, compared with 73% who call for an appointment. The firm noted that 45% of customers say they are unaware of the availability of Internet scheduling.
The study also showed that 29 percent of customers said the service advisor recommended additional, with the proportion of customers who agree to the additional work being 47 percent. Additionally, customers spent an average of $277 on that additional recommended work, compared with the $171 spent by customer who declined the additional recommended work.