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