Despite facing some COVID-19 related challenges over the last year, automotive dealership service visits were only down 6 percent from 2019. On top of that, J.D. Power’s 2021 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, which was released today, found that overall customer satisfaction rose from a year ago, finishing with an overall score of 847 versus 837 on a 1,000-point scale.
In terms of premium brands, Lincoln dealers scored particularly well also, finishing fifth overall with a score of 872. Lincoln trailed Cadillac (883), Infiniti (887), Lexus (895), and Porsche (899), but finished above the industry average, as well as other automakers including Acura, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi, to name a few. This continues Lincoln’s strong showing in J.D. Power studies following a first-place finish in the 2020 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index.
J.D. Power’s Customer Service Index Study measures customer satisfaction with service at a franchised dealer or independent service facility for maintenance or repair work among owners and lessees of one- to three-year-old vehicles. It also provides a numerical index ranking, which is based on the combined scores of five different measures that comprise the vehicle owner service experience – service quality, service facility, service initiation, service advisor, and vehicle pick-up.
The 2021 U.S. Customer Service Index Study is based on responses from 62,519 verified registered owners and lessees of 2018 to 2020 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded from July through December of 2020.
This year’s CSI study found that remote and online payment methods had a significant impact on customer satisfaction, though only 6 percent of premium brand customers took advantage of contactless payments. It also uncovered that electric vehicle owners were less satisfied with their service than ICE-powered vehicle owners, with maintenance service representing a larger thorn in their sides than repairs.
“Completing work right the first time, as well as focusing on customers’ needs, play significant roles in satisfaction – and dealers are nailing these key performance indicators nearly 100 percent of the time,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “By continuing to provide an exceptional service experience, dealers have an opportunity to seize an even greater share of the market. It’s notable, too, that while service was less frequent in 2020, customers responded very well to convenience services such as vehicle pick-up and drop-off at their home.”