The first J.D. Power 2018 U.A.E. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study found that vehicle owners value personalized services that make life more convenient for them and enhance their experience.
It is important for automotive companies to ensure that service advisors are on hand to communicate with vehicle owners as this contributes significantly to their overall satisfaction with their servicing experience. Customer satisfaction increases by 35 points (on a 1,000-point scale) when an advisor is at hand to talk to customers when they drop off their vehicle. As many as 35 per cent of customers participating in the study said that they to a receptionist rather than a service advisor about their servicing needs when they visited their dealer and for these customers, satisfaction is 50 points below the industry average.
Commenting on this aspect, Shantanu Nandi Majumdar, Regional Director, Automotive Practice at J.D. Power Singapore said that as service advisors undergo intensive training on the product and the after-sales process, they have the expertise and soft skills which are needed to understand and address their customers’ requirements better than anyone else at the dealership. They are generally the first point of contact that a customer has with a brand after the sales process is completed. This interaction with customers heavily contributes to reinforcing the relationship that the customer has with the brand after the vehicle is purchased.
The satisfaction increases by 8 points when customers get their vehicles back from the service advisors (72 per cent) rather than from another member of the staff after the service or repair job is done (29%).
The other significant findings of the study are as follows:
• Transport vehicle for drop-off: Almost half (45 percent) of the customers said that they needed transportation for a drop-off after they bring their vehicle for service. However, 62 per cent of vehicle owners at the service center did get any transport, and this lowered satisfaction by 17 points.
• Personalized service experience: The overall satisfaction is 25 points above average for the 40 per cent of customers who benefited from valet parking. 70 per cent of the customers surveyed used the quick/ express service for servicing their vehicle and for them, the satisfaction is 38 points higher than average. Satisfaction was also 13 points higher for the 44 per cent of customers who were told the name of their service mechanic than among those who were not aware of the name if the person handling their vehicle. This highlights the the importance of service mechanics in the vehicle servicing experience.
• Need to review and redefine the service appointment process: The time taken to hand over the vehicle for service is one crucial aspect when it comes to customers in the U.A.E. a surprisingly large percentage of customers who came in for prebooked vehicle service appointments said that they had to wait to meet their service advisor, when were dropins (29 per cent vs. 19 per cent, respectively). Greater number of customers who had a scheduled appointment also said that the time to hand over the vehicle was higher. 34 per cent of such customers had to wait over 15 minutes, as compared to 22 per cent for dropins.
When it came to luxury brands, Infiniti had the highest score of 897 when it came to satisfaction with dealer service. Mercedes-Benz came second with a score of 862, followed closely by Lexus with a score of 858.
From the eight eligible mass-market brands, Hy7undai emerged as the topper with a score of 858 with Nissan (857) following closely while Toyota (838) came third. Ford and Honda tied for the fourth place (832 each).
The 2018 U.A.E. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study was based on responses from 2,806 owners who bought a new vehicle in the period from September 2015 to February 2017 and took their vehicle to an authorized dealership service center between March 2017 and February 2018. The study was conducted from September 2017 to February 2018 in all emirates across the U.A.E.
The study assessed customer satisfaction with service at an authorized service center for maintenance or repair work amongst owners of vehicles which ranged in age from 12 to 24 months and who had visited the service center in the past six months. The criteria used to measure overall satisfaction were service advisor (24%); service initiation (22%); vehicle pick-up (19%); service quality (19%); and service facility (17%).
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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