AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (Dec. 18, 2000) — Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc. is the nation´s best passenger and light truck tire retailer in terms of customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Associates´ latest study.
Les Schwab, which operates 312 company-owned and franchised outlets in the Pacific Northwest, scored high marks in each of the five rating criteria— people, service, facility, reputation and product selection, J.D. Power said.
``People and service are the largest contributing factors to retailer satisfaction, and Les Schwab is the only retailer with customers who listed high-quality service as a top reason for purchase,´´ said Jeff Zupancic, senior manager of tire practice at J.D. Power, in a prepared statement.
``Tire retailers need to focus on customer satisfaction because there definitely is a positive relationship between retailer satisfaction and customer loyalty,´´ Mr. Zupancic said.
Following Les Schwab in the ratings were Big O Tires Inc., Discount Tire Co. Inc., Price Club/Costco and Goodyear Auto Centers, J.D. Power said.
Finishing below the industry average in retailer satisfaction were, in alphabetical order: Firestone Car Car Centers, National Tire & Battery, Pep Boys—Manny, Moe & Jack, Sam´s Club, Sears Auto Centers, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
J.D. Power based its ratings on responses from more than 7,400 vehicle owners in the U.S. who had purchased replacement tires for their vehicles during 1999. The marketing information firm surveyed 120,000 households and received 14,000 responses from individuals who said they had purchased tires during 1999. Participants were then sent a detailed replacement tire and retailer customer satisfaction study.
Tire Rack, the top-ranked retailer during the past two years, did not merit mention this year, following J.D. Powers´ revamping of its evaluation criteria, putting greater emphasis on personnel and service.