JD Power survey shows Volvo dealers satisfy customers better than Audi, BMW and Mercedes

Volvo’s car service network is the most satisfying in the UK, according to the latest JD Power 2015 UK Customer Service Index Study.

The Swedish premium brand topped the overall table in the study of more than 9,000 new car buyers, scoring 779 points out of a maximum of 1,000.

Honda, in second place with 768 points, was the highest scoring mainstream brand. In third place was Land Rover with 767 points, then Audi with 762, Suzuki and Toyota with 759 each and Kia and Skoda with 758 each.

Mercedes-Benz scored 756 points, BMW 754 points and Mini 747 points.

The poorest scoring car service networks for satisfaction were Fiat with 704 points, Renault with 715, and Seat and Peugeot both with 723 points.

The inaugural study measures UK customer satisfaction with their service experience at a franchised dealer facility for maintenance and repair work.

The study explores customer satisfaction with their service dealer by examining five measures (listed in order of importance): service quality (26%); service initiation (23%); service advisor (19%); vehicle pick-up (17%); and service facility (16%).

“The common perception is that the luxury brands are able to deliver a more satisfying customer experience, but the study shows this is not the case,” said Dr Axel Sprenger, senior director of European automotive operations at JD Power.

“Any brand and any dealership can provide a consistently positive customer experience if they make it a priority and have the people and processes in place.  When they do, they likely will see an increase in revenue and will be able to build customer loyalty.”

The 2015 UK CSI Study finds that satisfaction with dealer service leads to customer loyalty and advocacy. Among the 20% of customers who are highly satisfied with their dealer service (overall satisfaction scores of 900 and above), 78% say they “definitely will” purchase their next vehicle from that dealer and 85% “definitely will” recommend the dealer to friends and family.

In contrast, among customers less satisfied (scores of 700-899), only 36% indicate an intention to purchase their next vehicle from that dealer, and only 42% say they “definitely will” recommend the dealer to others.

Other key findings of JD Power:

  • Satisfaction among the 93% of customers who are able to get an appointment on the day they desire averages 768, compared with 576 when an appointment is not available on their desired day.
  • While 25% of customers would prefer to schedule a service appointment over the Internet, only 15 percent actually do. The Internet as a method to schedule an appointment is expected to increase with the emergence of mobile apps, which make the process faster and easier.
  • The No. 1 reason for choosing a dealer for service is prior experience with the service department (35%), followed by location (34%) and prior experience with the sales department (32%). Fewer than 3 percent of customers indicate selecting their service facility due to advertising or promotions/coupons.
  • Though only 31% of dealers recommend additional service work to their customers, when they do, 62% of customers have the recommended work done. Satisfaction is substantially higher among the 78% of customers who are recommended service and have it done, compared with those who do not have the recommended work done (760 vs. 693, respectively).
  • On average, customers who accept additional work on their vehicle spend £347 on their service visit, compared with £189 among those who do not receive additional work recommendations. 
  • Amenities offered at the dealership are key drivers of satisfaction with the service facility, as 24% of customers stay at the dealership while service is performed on their vehicle. 

Tim Rose

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