Frequently Asked Questions

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How does J.D. Power conduct its studies?

J.D. Power surveys actual customers by mail, telephone, and email. The company goes to great lengths to ensure that these customers are chosen at random and that they own a product or have received service from the company they are evaluating. For example, ratings for NAPA AUTOPRO come from customers who actually serviced their vehicle at a NAPA AUTOPRO service centre. As a result, all study rankings are based entirely on customer opinions and in no way reflect the opinions or preferences of J.D. Power.

What are Power Circle Ratings?

Power Circle Ratings™ (PCRs) are used to recognize excellence in customer or consumer satisfaction or product quality and are published on JDPower.com, the company’s consumer-facing website. All PCRs are based on the opinions of consumers who have used or owned the product or service being rated. Since PCRs are based on J.D. Power research studies that survey a representative sample of customers or owners, they are indicative of a typical overall customer experience.

High ratings for a particular product/service/company do not necessarily mean that every customer will have a positive experience. They simply indicate that, on average, customer perceptions of the product/service/company suggest that it stands out when compared with competitive products/services/companies.

Scoring Legend

Scoring Legend

Please note that Power Circle Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards.

How are Power Circle Ratings calculated?

To calculate Power Circle Ratings, J.D. Power begins with the syndicated study index scores or a specific standard of measurement that can be found, in most cases, in the associated press release. An example of an index score is found in the J.D. Power U.S. Retail Banking Study,SM in which banks are ranked according to overall index scores based on weighted responses to several survey factors. An example of a specific standard of measurement is found in the J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study,SM in which vehicles are ranked according to reported problems per 100 (PP100) vehicles.

The ratings range from 2 to 5 Power Circles:

  • 5 Circles: “Among the best”
  • 4 Circles: “Better than most”
  • 3 Circles: “About average”
  • 2 Circles: “The rest”

Power Circle Ratings are useful because consumers can see the spread of brand performance, not just specific rankings or which brand scores highest.

Among the best Among the best
The highest-ranked companies or brands in each segment receive 5 Power Circles. In highly competitive segments with many companies or brands, multiple companies or brands scoring among the top 10% may also receive 5 Power Circles, which means they are "among the best." However, only the highest-ranked company in each segment receives a J.D. Power award.

Better than most Better than most
Companies or brands scoring among the next 30% of all companies receive 4 Power Circles, which means they are "better than most."

About average About average
Companies or brands scoring among the next 30% receive 3 Power Circles, which means they are "about average." Also, note that the average is established within this score range, with 10% of companies or brands that rate "about average" achieving a numerical score above average, and 20% of companies or brands that rate "about average" achieving a numerical score below average.

The rest The rest
Companies or models scoring among the next 30% receive 2 Power Circles, which means they are among “the rest.” J.D. Power does not publish a rating lower than 2 Power Circles.

Please note that Power Circle Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards.

What makes JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings different?

Power Circle Ratings are one of the only sources of consumer ratings based on independent and unbiased feedback from a representative sample of verified product and service owners. Representative means that the study results represent the general population of buyers/owners of that particular product or service, and verified means that the respondents own, have owned, or have used the product or service being rated.

Although many websites provide consumer ratings and feedback, product or service ownership is not normally verified. Verification of ownership is important because ratings on other sites may be based on information collected from online surveys, discussion forums, or chat rooms. In many cases, this type of feedback lacks sufficient rigor. In some instances, respondents provide feedback on a product or service they do not own.

What is an index score?

J.D. Power uses a customer satisfaction "index" as a means to determine most of its rankings and awards. To determine this index, J.D. Power asks survey respondents to rate various aspects of their service or product experience. These surveys vary by industry, but include such areas as customer service and problem resolution, among others. Based on these responses, J.D. Power determines the importance of each of these areas and how much each one contributes to overall satisfaction. Respondent ratings in each of these areas as well as their relative importance are combined to create an overall numerical index score, which in turn determines which company or brand receives a J.D. Power award.

What is the difference between Voice of the Customer feedback and expert opinion?

J.D. Power provides Voice of the Customer research based on actual survey responses from real consumers. J.D. Power represents the Voice of the Customer by translating survey responses from consumers and businesses into studies and reports that are used by companies worldwide to improve quality and customer satisfaction. These studies, reports, and Power Circle Ratings are based solely on Voice of the Customer feedback.

The researchers who conduct J.D. Power surveys and prepare study results do not conduct product testing activities. However, J.D. Power does leverage its expertise within the industries it serves to help companies improve their quality and customer satisfaction performance. Associates at J.D. Power also provide content on JDPower.com that showcases their expertise.

Other companies may provide their own experts to test products and services and generate ratings based on such expert opinions, but this is not how J.D. Power operates. Its study results, reports, and Power Circle Ratings are based solely on the Voice of the Customer.

I had a negative experience with a product or service provider that ranked highly in a J.D. Power study. How can this be?

Even the highest-ranked performers occasionally receive poor ratings. However, when the responses from thousands of consumers are combined, industry leaders have higher overall ratings than their competitors. The expectation is that you are more likely to be satisfied with an industry leader than with those that receive lower overall ratings.

How do companies receive approval to use J.D. Power awards?

J.D. Power has strict guidelines for advertising claims, and every advertising claim related to a study is reviewed prior to publication to ensure accuracy. Only the highest-ranked performers in pre-defined categories are allowed to license the use of J.D. Power awards in advertising.

Results are based on measures of customer satisfaction and quality by customers that are proprietary to J.D. Power. Awards and performance ranking are based on numerical scores, and not necessarily on statistical significance. The company’s experience indicates that even when small differences occur in the scores of those being measured, these small perceived differences help drive competition in the marketplace, thereby improving product and service quality and driving increases in overall customer satisfaction.

How can J.D. Power information be unbiased when manufacturers pay for the studies?

J.D. Power’s industry benchmarking studies generally are not funded by the companies that are measured. The syndicated studies are funded and owned by J.D. Power and based on the aggregated responses of customer perceptions of product quality and customer satisfaction, and not the opinions of J.D. Power. After the study results are published, manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, and other industry participants may choose whether or not to purchase the study. Ownership of study data is critical to the J.D. Power’s independence and unbiased position. This third-party perspective enables J.D. Power to provide clients and consumers with credible and clear feedback. Although the company does conduct custom research for many clients to help drive quality and customer satisfaction improvement, results of this type of proprietary research are owned by the clients that commission the research, and the results are not made available to the public.

Can I request a survey from J.D. Power or provide my comments for a specific study?

J.D. Power does not send out surveys upon request. Instead, surveys are mailed or emailed to scientifically selected groups of consumers whose names are pulled randomly from data maintained by public sources. The goal is to provide industries with accurate, unbiased information that will ultimately increase customer satisfaction through the Voice of the Customer information.

I received a J.D. Power questionnaire, but misplaced it. How can I request another survey?

At any one time, there are more than 400 projects in various stages of the survey/data collection process. Therefore, it is not feasible to provide another survey for a particular study and be assured that it can be included before the study closing deadline. J.D. Power appreciates your interest in participating in our surveys; hopefully, there will be another opportunity in the future for you to complete one.