The J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Customer Service Index shows a general rise in satisfaction among vehicle owners lately, due to an industry-wide push to improve the service experience. At the top of the volume brands was GMC, with a total of 819 points out of a possible 1,000. Coming in second was Mini, which had achieved first place in 2012. The rest of the top five: Buick, Chevrolet and Volkswagen. All five achieved scores of over 800.
Gaining the most was Scion, who improved by 24 points this year. Nissan, Dodge, Mitsubishi, Chrysler and Volkswagen all showed major improvements. Kia was the only brand to show a decrease.
Mark Ruess, GM’s North America President, has made service quality at the dealerships the number one priority in order to recover U.S. market share and build loyalty among consumers. In addition, dealerships across the country are getting facelifts from money from the GM Essential Brand Elements program; over the next seven years, it’s estimated that the company will spend roughly $5 billion on the improvements.
Luxury brands Lexus, Cadillac and Jaguar won 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their category followed by Acura and Infiniti in 4th and 5th place. A spokesperson for J.D. Power stated that all the luxury brands had made improvements over last year’s scores. Chris Sutton, Power’s Senior Director, said, “With Lexus, anything with a customer touch point they perform very well at. Things like customer waiting areas, the customers rate very highly. Also, the interaction with the service advisor and the level of attention paid to customers is really impressive and continues the long run they’ve had of delivering a great customer experience.”
This survey is a study of owner experience with service departments for vehicle repair and maintenance. The index used for scoring is based on the dealers’ performance over the initial three years of new vehicle ownership, which includes the majority of the warranty period, on average. J.D. Power’s results are compiled from surveys taken of over 91,000 lessees and owners of 2008-2012 model year vehicles. Satisfaction is measured in the categories of service quality, service initiation, the service adviser and facility and vehicle pickup services.
Sutton mentioned that there are still improvements being made by dealerships going above and beyond to exceed expectations, such as loaner car services, receiving a vehicle back cleaner than when it was left, advisor reviews of services and inspections performed, and overall improvements in the look and feel of the waiting areas.