Service Advisors Spark Vehicle Owner Loyalty

Jan. 1, 2020
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA (Aug. 7, 2007) - Vehicle owners who report experiencing a personal connection with their service advisor are far more likely to return to for future service and spend more money ...
Service Advisors Spark Vehicle Owner Loyalty 

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA (Aug. 7, 2007) - Vehicle owners who report experiencing a personal connection with their service advisor are far more likely to return to for future service and spend more money, according to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates (JDPA) 2007 Service Usage and Retention Study (SURS). JDPA says the study shows that dealerships have almost closed the consumer satisfaction gap with non-dealer shops, which sends a clear message to independent shops.

"It is imperative that dealerships strive to exceed customer expectations during every service visit, as one unsatisfactory service experience could open the door for previously loyal customers to permanently defect to a non-dealer service facility." - Tom Gauer, J.D. Power and AssociatesThe study, now in its 11th year, measures customer satisfaction of vehicle owners who visit a dealer service department for maintenance or repair work during the fourth or fifth years of ownership, which typically represents the period after the manufacturer's vehicle warranty expires. Overall customer satisfaction is based on six factors (in order of importance): service initiation, service advisor, service quality, user-friendly service, service delivery, and in-service experience.Connection matters
Among vehicle owners who report a sense of connection to the service advisor, 70 percent say they would "definitely return" for work not covered by warranty. These customers also report considerably higher satisfaction with their overall service experience. In addition, connected customers spend a much larger proportion of their annual service expenditures at a facility than those customers who do not feel connected.Exceed expectations
SURS finds that failure to meet customer expectations has a considerable negative impact on customer loyalty. Among customers who say their service visit fell below their expectations, only 4 percent intend to return for future service. However, this figure increases to 73 percent among customers who say that their expectations were exceeded during a service visit.Closing the service gap"Once customers have a good experience at a non-dealer service facility, they are less likely to return to a dealership." - Tom Gauer, J.D. Power and Associates The study also finds that overall service satisfaction with dealers has improved by 11 points since 2006, while satisfaction with non-dealer service facilities has decreased by 6 points. While non-dealer facilities have typically posted higher satisfaction scores than dealerships in previous studies, the gap narrowed to just 4 index points in 2007 - down from 18 points in 2005. In addition, customers using dealerships are more likely to have maintenance service visits that exceed their expectations, while non-dealer facilities are more likely to exceed customers' expectations for repair service. Tom Gauer, JDPA senior director of automotive retail research, says that when service writers and staff take extra time and energy to connect with customers on a personal level - for example, by calling customers by name, treating them in a friendly and courteous manner, and being honest and upfront about the work that's required on a vehicle - it inspires increased feelings of trust and fuels loyalty. Whether an independent or dealer shop, future profits and market share, not to mention survival, can hinge on this commitment. (Source: J.D. Power and Associates)

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