TORONTOFountain Tire Corp. earned the highest customer service index score among independent tire dealerships in the J.D. Power 2015 Canadian Customer Service Index Long-Term Study.
The study, which measured the service experience, satisfaction and intended loyalty among owners of vehicles that are four to 12 years old, analyzed the customer experience from both warranty and non-warranty service occasions.
Overall customer satisfaction with aftermarket shops generated an index score of 749 while car dealerships earned a score of 731.
Overall satisfaction is based on the combined index scores of five factors that comprise the overall service experience (in order of importance): service initiation (24 percent); service quality (23 percent); service adviser (20 percent); service facility (17 percent); and vehicle pick-up (16 percent). Scores for each factor are reflected in an index based on a 1,000-point scale.
Among vehicle owners who are delighted with their most recent service experience (with an overall satisfaction rating of 10 on a 10-point scale), 93 percent said they definitely will return to the service facility for work they are willing to pay for, compared with only 61 percent among those who rate their last service visit an 8.
This underscores the importance for Canadian vehicle service facilities to focus on providing a consistently outstanding customer experience, said J.D. Ney, manager of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power.
There is a significant opportunity to improve the service experience, as just 15 percent of all service occasions in the past 12 months resulted in an overall customer satisfaction rating of 10, compared with 67 percent of service occasions rated 8 or below, among whom only 40 percent say they 'definitely will' return.
The study said the top three performance measures and their impact on satisfaction scores include being completely focused on the customer's needs (+63 points); providing an appointment on the day desired (+56); and providing helpful advice (+53).
Three performance processes that are completed less than 80 percent of the time, creating a significant opportunity for service facilities to improve customer satisfaction, include: having the customer speak to an adviser immediately on arrival (+43 points; 44 percent completion); keeping customers informed on the status of their vehicle (+36; 75 percent); and contacting customers after the service occasion (+29; 38 percent).
Nearly half (46 percent) of owners of older vehicles selected an aftermarket facility exclusively for their service needs in the past year, according to the study. Another 33 percent used only an OEM dealership and the remaining 21 percent took their vehicles to both an aftermarket and OEM dealer facility.
That remaining 21 percent of owners represents a key battleground for vehicle service market share and a significant revenue potential for service providers in Canada, the study said.
The average amount these customers spend per service visit is $232. At an average of three visits per year, each customer represents nearly $700, making the 21 percent battleground customers worth more than $1.5 billion in annual potential revenue for service providers, according to the report.
The study results concluded that customer satisfaction and the amount spent on a service visit increase when a service adviser properly educates customers on additional work that may be required.
Study results showed that 46 percent of owners of four- to 12-year-old vehicles indicated their service adviser recommended additional work. Of this group, nearly half authorized the work to be completed, spending an average of $527 on the visit, compared with an average of $225 among those who were not advised of additional work.
Car dealerships are more likely than aftermarket providers to perform a multi-point inspection on vehicles (77 percent vs. 70 percent, respectively) and to have an advantage in knowing a customer's service history (85 percent vs. 76 percent), according to the report, suggesting performing inspections more frequently and knowing a vehicle's service history helps service facilities make more informed service recommendations, opening significant potential revenue opportunities.
Lexus dealerships ranked highest in satisfying automotive service customers in Canada, with an overall satisfaction score of 809. NAPA AutoPro facilities ranked second at 775, and Volkswagen dealerships ranked third at 772, with Fountain Tire coming in at fourth with a score of 760. Independent repair shop in general averaged a 772 score.
Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size, according to the study, were Active Green & Ross, Goodyear Auto Centers, Kal Tire, Meineke Car Care Centers, O.K. Tire and Speedy. The studyfielded in March-April and May-June 2015was based on responses from more than 11,000 owners in Canada whose vehicles were between four and 12 years old.