Conventional wisdom, and maybe even your parents, used to tell you that a car dealership was the worst place to take your vehicle for routine maintenance and repairs. The 2013 J.D. Power & Associates Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, however, tells quite a different story about service from major auto brands. When compared to the 2012 statistics, overall customer satisfaction with dealer service increased by 10 points (on a 1,000 point scale) to 797. That figure is 44 points higher than the satisfaction rating for independent service centers, and the gap has widened.
Why the uptick? J.D. Power credits a renewed focus on service since the 2008 economic crisis as being the difference maker. When new vehicle sales dropped off significantly in 2008, manufacturers re-tooled their service departments and refined customer touch points, with the hope of capturing a greater share of the recurring revenue brought in by routine maintenance. While customer perception doesn’t directly improve the bottom line, it’s clear that satisfaction with service from dealers is trending upward, as 28 of 30 manufacturers raised their scores from one year ago.
Lexus once again set the standard for dealer service, placing first among all brands for the fifth consecutive year. Its nearest competitors, also from the luxury segment, were Cadillac, Jaguar, and Acura. Lexus scored 862 overall, performing exceptionally well in service initiation, service facility, and service quality.
Despite the lingering stereotypes, the CSI tells us there’s no need to fear a trip to your local Lexus service center, or those of most other manufacturers. In fact, car companies are doing what they can to make your service experience more enjoyable and hassle free, in hopes of earning your repeat business. Welcome to the new era of dealer service, where your satisfaction is more valuable than ever before.