Audi and Suzuki dealers lead the way for customer service

Not such good news for Fiat and Volvo

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The annual J.D. Power Customer Service Index has been published today, which rates customer satisfaction with their service experience at a franchised dealership.

Based on a study of more than 6,700 respondents of owners and lessees of vehicles up to three years old, Audi was the top-performing brand, with Suzuki in second place and best of the volume brands.

The study explores customer satisfaction with dealerships based on five measures: service quality, service initiation, service advisor, vehicle pick-up and service facility.

Overall, average scores for both the premium and volume sectors were slightly up compared to last year’s results, but there was some significant movement up and down the tables.

A franchise dealership service history preserves your resale value

Premium sector service

Audi rose from fourth place last year to the top spot in 2019, ahead of Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Meanwhile, Land Rover went the other way, falling from first to fourth. Volvo also fell from second place last year to fifth this year – which was last place, since only five premium brands received enough scores were received to be ranked.

Due to a lack of responses received, brands like Lexus and Jaguar were not rated. That will be particularly disappointing for Lexus, which tends to dominate most of these sorts of dealership satisfaction surveys conducted around the world.

Volume sector service

Eighteen brands were ranked in the volume sector, with Suzuki taking top spot ahead of Toyota and Honda. Interestingly, these three brands were also the top volume brands in the Auto Express Driver Power survey results published last August (although not in the same order).

Suzuki dealers improved on last year’s fifth-place result with a significantly better score in 2019 to finish at the top of the pile. Toyota had a similar improvement to jump from eighth to second, while Honda slipped from second to third.

Last year’s best-ranked brand was Mini, which fell to tenth place this year. Kia fell even further, dropping from third last year to 17th and second-last this year.

The wooden spoon this year went to Fiat dealerships, finishing at the bottom of the list by quite some margin. Kia was second-worst, just behind Volkswagen.

Overall, however, the average score across the volume sector improved slightly on last year.

Other key findings

The J.D. Power survey threw up a few interesting findings, like the fact that customer satisfaction was notably higher when dealers used a tablet to provide cost estimates and explain options.

Less surprising, but probably more important, was that the level of satisfaction with the service department significantly influenced customers’ likelihood of buying another car from the same brand.

J.D. Power also conducts similar surveys in America, and found that UK dealers lag behind their US equivalents on several key factors in terms of how customers are greeted and treated.

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Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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  1. I have a year old Volvo XC90 90 RDesign pro T8 polestar with many extras I also had a Volvo XC90Rdesign T6, 2015 sold the T6 last year. And currently selling the new T8. This is solely to do with the very poor customer service, as I have been let down with my last Four Volvos so won’t be buying another. I understand totally as to why are last.

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