BEING attended by competent service advisors and receiving customer-centric processes are increasingly what satisfy owners of new vehicles who bring in their vehicles for servicing, a study recently released by a consumer poll group found.
According to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 Philippines Customer Service Index (CSI) study, the overall satisfaction with authorized dealer customer service among Filipino car owners reached 825 points (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2013, four points higher than in 2012. Satisfaction among customers who indicate their service advisor was familiar with their vehicle’s service history reached 826 points, compared with 802 points among customers who indicate otherwise.
“When evaluating their experience at dealerships, customers are giving more weight to personal interaction,” said Mohit Arora, executive director at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore. “Manufacturers and dealerships, therefore, need to focus on communication and soft skills, such as managing customer expectations.”
J.D. Power said the CSI study measures overall satisfaction among vehicle owners who visit an authorized service center for maintenance or repair work during the first 12 months to 24 months of ownership based on five factors (listed in order of importance); service quality, service advisor, vehicle pick-up, service initiation and service facility. The importance of the service advisor and service initiation factors increased from 2012—22 percent versus 13 percent and 19 percent against 13 percent. In addition, the importance of service quality rose 40 percent, up from 25 percent in 2012.
Among the 11 auto brands measured in the study, Toyota ranked highest with a score of 832 points as it performed particularly well in the service advisor and vehicle pick-up factors. Following Toyota in the rankings is Honda, which scored 831 points as it impressed in the service facility factor.
The study identifies eight relationship measures, or dealer practices, that enhance the service experience of vehicle owners. These measures range from the ability of service advisors in dealing effectively with customers to a dealership’s willingness to guarantee the quality of its service. J.D. Power said its study found 69 percent of customers experience all eight relationship measures in 2013—the highest proportion since 2009. Overall satisfaction among customers experiencing all relationship measures is at 834 points. In contrast, satisfaction among customers who experience five measures or fewer is only at 645 points.
“Managing customers by having prior knowledge of the work done on their vehicle is a critical first step in the service initiation stage,” said Arora. “This lets customers know that the dealership cares and is prepared before they arrive at the dealership for service.”
J.D. Power said advocacy and loyalty are closely related to satisfaction levels with the overall service performance of a dealer. Nearly 66 percent of highly satisfied customers (service satisfaction scores of 877 points and above) said they “definitely will” return to the same dealership for post-warranty service. In contrast, 25 percent of highly dissatisfied customers (satisfaction scores of 799 points and less) indicate the same.
“Efforts to build positive relationships with customers, supported by the right people and processes, translate into higher levels of satisfaction, which in turn creates a long-term financial impact in terms of the business gained from loyal customers who are willing to return to the dealership for service post-warranty,” said Arora.
The 2013 Philippines CSI study is based on responses from 1,834 owners who purchased their vehicles between February 2011 and May 2012, and who took their vehicle for service to an authorized dealer or service center between August 2012 and May 2013. The study was fielded between February 2013 and May 2013.