Service study shows dealerships expanding products, services to compete

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In an ultra-competitive market, automotive dealerships and aftermarket shops are expanding the range of products and services they offer as they search for ways to attract and retain customers, according to the J.D. Power 2013 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study.

The study, which measures the service behaviours, satisfaction and loyalty of owners of vehicles that are four to 12 years old, found that dealerships are adding service bays focused on providing quick oil changes.

Aftermarket shops that have traditionally focused on mufflers and brakes are adding oil changes and tire service to their services.

“There is a convergence going as the service departments fight for market share,” said J.D. Ney, supervisor of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power. “Service providers don't want to give customers any reason to go anywhere else, so they're offering a full or wider spectrum of products and services to attract them and keep them coming back.”

Overall customer satisfaction with the service they receive at dealerships as well as the automotive aftermarket averages 830 in 2013, up slightly from 827 in 2012. However, customers with vehicles in the four to 12-year age range are, on average, more satisfied with their experiences with aftermarket shops than they are with the service they receive at dealerships (842 vs. 817, respectively).

“The study finds that owners take their vehicle to the dealership for the majority of their maintenance and repair work when it is new, but are increasingly likely to visit the aftermarket as the vehicle ages and the warranty expires,” said Ney. “Part of the reason for that is owners have a perception that aftermarket shops provide significantly cheaper service. However, while most owners find the cost isn't appreciably different, their satisfaction remains high. This would indicate the aftermarket is providing high-quality service first and foremost as well as doing a good job in terms of highlighting and selling the value of their work. “

The study also found that customers spend an average of $232 per visit for service at an aftermarket shop, compared with $264 per visit for service at the dealership—a difference in cost which represents less than the sales tax.

The percentage of customers whose final invoice was on par with their expectations (a critical driver of cost-related dissatisfaction) differs between the dealership and aftermarket service options.

Slightly more than one-fourth (26 per cent) of customers who took their vehicle to the dealership for service indicate their final bill was higher than expected, compared with 16 per cent of aftermarket customers who indicate the same. The corollary is, when asked to rate the fairness of those charges, 27 per cent of those who took their vehicle for in the aftermarket rate the fairness of charges a 10 out of 10, whereas the same is true for only 20 per cent of those took their vehicle to the dealer for service.

“When it comes to satisfying service customers, dealers arguably have more at stake,” the study said.

“Customers satisfied with their service experience are significantly more likely to buy the same brand the next time they purchase a new vehicle, something the aftermarket doesn't have to consider.”

Among customers who are highly satisfied with their dealer service experience, 79 per cent indicate that they are “likely” to purchase the same brand of vehicle next time, while 46 per cent of customers who are highly unsatisfied indicate the same.

NAPA AUTOPRO and Lexus dealerships tied for the top spot with aftermarket options taking three of the top five scores.

Chrysler came in last of all the automotive brands.

The 2013 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study is based on responses from more than 21,600 owners in Canada whose vehicle is between four and 12 years old. The study was fielded in March 2013 and in June 2013.

Overall Service Experience Satisfaction Index

(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

 

 

 

Index score

 

 

JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings 
For Consumers

Lexus Dealerships

 

 

863

 

 

5

NAPA AUTOPRO

 

 

863

 

 

5

Great Canadian Oil Change

 

 

861

 

 

5

Volkswagen Dealerships

 

 

840

 

 

4

Fountain Tire

 

 

838

 

 

3

Mr. Lube

 

 

835

 

 

3

Goodyear Auto Centre

 

 

834

 

 

3

Industry Average

 

 

830

 

 

3

Mazda Dealerships

 

 

828

 

 

3

GM Dealerships (Chev/Cadillac/Buick/GMC)

 

 

826

 

 

3

Toyota Dealerships

 

 

826

 

 

3

Acura Dealerships

 

 

825

 

 

3

Nissan Dealerships

 

 

825

 

 

3

Subaru Dealerships

 

 

824

 

 

3

Midas

 

 

823

 

 

3

Kal Tire

 

 

821

 

 

3

Hyundai Dealerships

 

 

819

 

 

3

Honda Dealerships

 

 

818

 

 

3

Mitsubishi Dealerships

 

 

812

 

 

2

Mercedes-Benz Dealerships

 

 

811

 

 

2

Jiffy Lube

 

 

808

 

 

2

Ford/Lincoln Dealerships

 

 

803

 

 

2

Ford Quick Lane

 

 

802

 

 

2

Kia Dealerships

 

 

802

 

 

2

Active Green & Ross

 

 

801

 

 

2

BMW Dealerships

 

 

797

 

 

2

Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram/Fiat Dealerships

 

 

796

 

 

2

Wal-Mart

 

 

787

 

 

2

Canadian Tire

 

 

783

 

 

2

Costco

 

 

774

 

 

2