Canadians are still more satisfied by the aftermarket service they receive at non-dealer shops than at dealerships, but not by much, according to a new survey by J.D. Power Canada.
On a 1,000-point scale, dealers trail non-dealers in overall customer satisfaction 761 to 767, respectively, said the marketing information company.
However, dealerships managed to significantly narrow the gap this year as both increased their scores. In 2016, dealerships scored 729 points and non-dealerships registered 749.
“Customer satisfaction is at the core of every viable business and the automotive service market is no exception,” said J.D. Ney, senior manager of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power. “The study clearly demonstrates the importance of maintaining high satisfaction levels in retaining loyal customers who also act as brand ambassadors and recommend their vehicle service provider.
“The higher the customer satisfaction score, the higher the likelihood of the vehicle owner returning to the facility for paid work. For auto service providers, this can lead to hundreds, if not thousands of additional service customers annually.”
According to the study, delivering exceptional customer service – measured by a score of 901 points and higher – increases customer likelihood of returned paid visits by 85 per cent for dealers and 93 per cent for non-dealers, Power found.
But the lower the satisfaction, the lower the rate of return. Shops that scored outstanding marks – between 751 and 900 points – saw less likelihood of repeat customers. Only 58 per cent of dealer customers and 69 per cent of non-dealer customers who say their service experience was outstanding planned to return to the facility for service work.
When it comes to ratings for service advisor performance – that is the face-to-face interaction between employee and customer – in people skills and knowledge, non-dealer service advisors outperform their dealership counterparts in every category on a 10-point scale, including:
• Courtesy of the service representative: 8.12 vs. 7.99 on a 10-point scale;
• Responsiveness: 7.96 vs. 7.77;
• Thoroughness of explanation: 7.80 vs. 7.63;
• Knowledge of service advisor: 8.03 vs. 7.81
“If auto service providers want to improve their business performance, they should pay closer attention to the front desk,” Ney said. “Service advisors play a critical role in driving a positive customer experience as they have the most interaction and visibility to the customer. Equipping service advisors with the right tools, training and knowledge can help auto service shops gain this competitive advantage that drives satisfied and returning clients.”
LEXUS TOPS AGAIN
Canadians ranked Lexus dealerships highest in satisfying automotive service customers in Canada for a third consecutive year with an overall satisfaction score of 808. Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked second (800), followed by Audi dealerships (793), NAPA AutoPro (790) and Volkswagen dealerships (788).
The study measures satisfaction and intended loyalty among 11,430 surveyed owners of vehicles that are 4-12 years old, and analyzes the customer experience in both warranty and non-warranty service visits.