Improved Pre-Inspection and Fix Rates Help Drive Luxury Vehicle After-Sales Satisfaction, While Creating a Seamless Service Scheduling Experience Online Is an Opportunity for Dealers

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Mercedes-Benz Ranks Highest among Luxury Brands with the After-Sales Experience In Australia for a Second Consecutive Year

Melbourne: 15 December 2015 — Australian luxury automotive dealers have improved their performance in servicing and fixing customers’ vehicles, compared with last year, with the percentage of pre-inspections increasing this year, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Australia Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM—Luxury Marketreleased today. However, scheduling service can be an issue for customers. 

The study measures overall satisfaction with the vehicle service experience at authorised service centres by examining five factors (listed in order of importance): service quality; vehicle pick-up; service advisor; service initiation; and service facility based on a 1,000-point scale. Overall customer satisfaction is 817 in 2015, a 14-point improvement from 2014. 

Notably, the percentage of service and repairs completed by luxury brands during a customer’s first visit to the dealer has improved to 95% in 2015, up by 1% from 2014, and the percentage of cars washed and vacuumed has improved to 60%, up by 3% from last year. 

“It is encouraging to see that luxury dealers are doing a better job of completing all service work on the first visit,” said Loi Truong, senior country manager at J.D. Power.“This improvement is aided by the fact that dealer service advisors are spending more time inspecting vehicles when dropped off. Advisors who inspect the vehicle up front are able to identify and agree the work required with the customer, and, importantly, avoid any misunderstandings that could occur later in the process.” 

Consumers use digital media every day to conduct a myriad of personal and business transactions, but scheduling a service appointment for their vehicle can be a pain point for those who use the online channel. According to the study, satisfaction is lowest among luxury vehicle owners who use the Internet (via email, dealer or brand website, etc.) to schedule service (805). In comparison, satisfaction among vehicle owners who use more traditional service scheduling methods, such as phoning the dealer for an appointment, averages 820. 

“It is encouraging to see the improvement in the luxury brand segment in Australia,” said Dr. Gordon Shields, director at J.D. Power.“However, it is clear that service centres are still struggling to make digital service channels really work for them. Not only should dealers make online scheduling easy and quick to use, they should also look at how other service companies use technology to help customers track the progress of the work, offer regular updates, as well as provide pricing online too.” 

Key Findings 

  • Practice of Proactive Vehicle Inspections Increases: Pre-inspections of customer vehicles have increased by 8% in 2015, with 62% of customers indicating that their dealer performed an inspection when they dropped off their vehicle. 
  • Dealers Should Offer Customers a Free Ride: The study finds that 14% of customers requiring alternative transport during their service visit either don’t receive any transport or are charged a fee for it. Satisfaction is higher among customers who receive a free ride from their dealer than among those who are offered a loan car (852 vs. 843, respectively). 
  • Providing Consistent Level of Service to All Customers Is Key: Customers who indicate their service costs are all or partly covered under a service package (781) are less satisfied than their counterparts who paid all (814) or some of the service charges themselves (832). Lower scores among customers with service packages are typically due to the perception they receive less time and support from service advisors than paying customers without such packages, making it important for advisors to provide the same level of service to all customers regardless of how payment is rendered. 
  • Many Dealers Service and Deliver a Clean Car to Customers: A higher proportion of luxury vehicle owners than mass market vehicle owners indicate that their vehicle was cleaned during their service visit. Overall, 60% of luxury vehicle owners indicate their vehicles were both washed and vacuumed after the service, almost double of that of the mass market average of 31%. 
  • Garnering Customer Loyalty beyond the Warranty Period: Nearly nine in 10 customers (88%) who are highly satisfied (satisfaction scores of 904 or higher) indicate they would revisit their service dealer for a service work they would pay for (i.e., post-warranty work). 

Australia Customer Service Index Rankings 

Mercedes-Benz ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service among luxury market brands, with a score of 843. Mercedes-Benz performs well in all five study factors. Audi ranks second (829). 

The 2015 Australia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study—Luxury Market is a part of the annual CSI study, which covers both mass market and luxury brands from a total of 4,971 owners. The luxury study is based on evaluations from 453 vehicle owners who purchased their new vehicle between August 2010 and October 2015 and took their vehicle for service at an authorised service centre between August 2014 and October 2015. The study was fielded from late August to early October 2015. 

Media Relations Contacts

XingTi Liu; J.D. Power Asia Pacific; 08-Shenton Way, #44-02/03/04; Singapore, 068811; Phone +65-67338980; xingti_liu@jdpower.com.sg
John Tews; Director, Media Relations; J.D. Power; Troy, Michigan 48083 USA; 001-248-680-6218; john.tews@jdpa.com

 About J.D. Power in the Asia Pacific Region

J.D. Power has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Malaysia and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries in the Asia Pacific region. Together, the six offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Information regarding
J.D. Power and its products can be accessed through the Internet at asean-oceania.jdpower.com.

Media Contacts

Troy, Michigan
(248) 680-6218

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