Vehicle Owners Expecting Connected Service Experience, J.D. Power Study Finds
Lexus Dealerships Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction With Automotive Service for Second Consecutive Year
TORONTO: 31 August 2016 — “Connected car” is the buzz phrase for the auto industry, but connected service may soon be part of the nomenclature as well. From scheduling a service visit to amenities available while customers wait for their vehicle, technology and connectivity are becoming an increasingly important part of the service experience, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Canadian Customer Service Index Long-Term (CSI-LT) Study,SM released today.
“Consumers are demanding a connected service experience,” said J.D. Ney, manager of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power. “From scheduling appointments to interacting with the service advisor to staying connected via unobstructed Wi-Fi access, customers expect these services from their local coffee shop, so why wouldn’t they expect the same of their dealership or aftermarket service facility?”
While only 6% of service customers in Canada scheduled their last service visit via the Internet, 14%—more than twice as many—indicate the Internet is their preference for scheduling future visits. Currently, 74% of customers schedule their visits by phone.
Customers also like it when their service advisor is connected. The study finds that 21% of customers say their service advisor used a tablet device during their service visit. The use of a tablet seems to build a level of confidence in the advisor, as among customers whose advisor used a tablet and recommended additional work to their vehicle, 61% had the work done. When the advisor didn’t use a tablet but recommended additional services, only 44% had the work done.
Furthermore, customers want technology such as computers and Internet access available while they wait for their vehicle. Access to the Internet and electronic technologies are among the least frequently offered amenities, despite generating the highest service facility satisfaction scores. For example, only 42% of dealerships and 14% of aftermarket facilities currently offer wireless Internet access for their waiting customers. Additionally, only 17% of dealers and 5% of aftermarket facilities offer their customers computers with Internet access, yet the amenity has the highest overall service facility satisfaction score among dealer customers (771 on a 1,000-point scale) and the second-highest score among aftermarket facility customers (759).
Tablet computers or video games, the least offered amenity, has the highest service facility score among aftermarket facility customers (772) and the second-highest score among dealer customers (770).
Technology amenities can also help build customer loyalty and advocacy. For example, among customers of dealers that offer wireless internet access, 53% say they “definitely will” return to the dealer for future service that they have to pay for and 40% say they “definitely will” recommend the dealer to others. This compares with only 42% of customers who say they “definitely will” return and only 30% who say they “definitely will” recommend the facility, when Wi-Fi is absent.
“Customers want, and frankly expect, to stay connected while they wait for their vehicle so they can either be productive or entertained,” said Ney. “Simple Wi-Fi access requires the service facility to make a small investment, but the reward is a higher degree of customer engagement, which leads to higher customer loyalty.”
Among delighted dealer service customers (overall satisfaction scores of 901 or higher), 84% say they “definitely will” return to the facility for future paid service work. When customers are merely pleased with their dealer service experience (751-900), intender service loyalty drops to 59%. For aftermarket facilities, 92% of delighted customers say they “definitely will” return to the facility for future paid service work, compared with 73% of pleased customers who say the same.
The study, which measures satisfaction and intended loyalty among owners of vehicles that are 4 to 12 years old, analyzes the customer experience in both warranty and non-warranty service visits. Overall satisfaction is based on the combined index scores of five measures that comprise the overall service experience (in order of importance): service initiation (24%); service quality (23%); service advisor (20%); service facility (17%); and vehicle pick-up (16%). Scores for each measure are reflected in an index based on a 1,000-point scale.
Other key findings of the study include:
- Overall Satisfaction with Dealer Service Dips: Overall customer satisfaction with automotive dealerships is 729 in 2016, down from 731 in 2015, while satisfaction with aftermarket shops remains at 749.
- More Visits, More Money: On average, customers make 2.5 service visits per year, up very slightly from an average of 2.4 visits per year in 2015. Customers make an average of 1.1 visits per year to a dealer for service and 1.4 visits per year to an aftermarket service facility. Overall, the average amount spent per service visit increases to $241 in 2016 from $232 in 2015. The average amount spent per service visit at a dealership in 2016 is $297, compared with $200 per visit at an aftermarket service facility.
- Service Advisor Can Make or Break Satisfaction: When a customer says the service advisor is completely focused on their needs, overall satisfaction can increase by as much as 82 points. When the service advisor offers the customer helpful advice, it can boost overall satisfaction by as much as 48 points. And when the service advisor greets customers immediately upon their arrival, it can improve overall satisfaction by as much as 44 points.
Lexus Dealerships rank highest in satisfying automotive service customers in Canada for a second consecutive year, with an overall satisfaction score of 819. Great Canadian Oil Change ranks second (789), followed by Fountain Tire (786), NAPA AUTOPRO (768) and Volkswagen Dealerships (758).
The 2016 Canadian Customer Service Index Long-Term (CSI-LT) Study is based on responses from 12,340 owners in Canada whose vehicle is between 4 and 12 years old. The study was fielded from March through June 2016.
For more information about the Canadian Customer Service Index Long-Term (CSI-LT) Study, visit http://canada.jdpower.com/resource/canadian-customer-service-index-long-term-study.
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