Luxury auto brand Lexus and mass market auto brand Mini achieved the highest ratings in their respective categories in the J.D. Power & Associates 2011 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. Lexus ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service among luxury brands for a second consecutive year and receives an award for a third consecutive year, while among mass market brands, MINI ranks highest with a score of 805 and improves by 19 points from 2010.
The study examines satisfaction among vehicle owners who visit a service department for maintenance or repair work. The CSI rankings are based on dealer performance during the first three years of ownership, which typically represents the majority of the vehicle warranty period. Five measures are examined to determine overall customer satisfaction with dealer service (listed in order of importance): service quality; service initiation; service advisor; service facility; and vehicle pick-up.
Lexus Dealers Satisfy Luxury Buyers
Lexus achieves an overall CSI score of 846 (out of 1,000 possible points, average score of 819) and performs particularly well in all five measures. Rounding out the top four nameplates in the premium segment are Jaguar (837); Cadillac (830); and Acura (828). Among luxury brands, Volvo and Porsche achieved the greatest improvements from 2010.
Mini Appeals to the Masses
Mini performs particularly well in the vehicle pick-up and service quality factors. Also among the top 10 brands in the mass market segment are GMC (803); Buick (799); Chevrolet (792); Kia (784); Hyundai and smart, in a tie (783 each); Volkswagen (779); Ford (773); and Honda (765). Average mass market score was 758. Of mass market brands, Mazda and Suzuki achieved the greatest improvements from 2010.
Upsell Pressure Backfires
Customer perceptions of upsell pressure have a notable impact on overall satisfaction with dealer service. Among service customers who say they do not perceive that they were upsold, overall satisfaction averages 780 on a 1,000-point scale. In contrast, among customers who experienced upselling from the dealer, satisfaction averages 642, a difference of nearly 140 points.
Dealer Facilities Increase Share of Service and Spending
The study also finds that, during the past five years, dealer service facilities have gradually increased their share of service visits and spending, particularly among customers whose vehicles are covered by warranty. Between 2007 and 2011, the share of service visits at dealer facilities has increased about 10%, from 67% to 74%. During the same time frame, overall share of spending for dealer service visits increased 4%, from 70% to 73%.
Relatively Few Customers Report Unnecessary Work
Overall, only 7% of service customers in 2011 indicate that their dealer attempted to sell them service work that they perceived as unnecessary. However, customer-reported rates of upselling increase as vehicles age. Among owners of one-year-old vehicles, 4% indicate that the dealer tried to sell them unnecessary work. This increases to 9% among owners of four-year-old vehicles.
Honda Site Makes Shoppers Happy
In addition to providing new vehicle shoppers with adequate information that is easy to access, the most useful automotive brand websites must also provide a consistently satisfying experience across all points of entry, including the home page and model-level pages, according to the recent J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study Wave 1.
Honda ranks highest with a score of 836 on a 1,000-point scale, and performs particularly well in the information/content, navigation and speed measures. Mini came in third with a score of 815.
About the Data:The 2011 U.S. CSI Study, published by J.D. Power & Associates, is based on responses from more than 97,300 owners and lessees of 2006 to 2010 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded between October and December 2010. The study is the source of the enclosed charts.