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Customer Expectations of Convenience during Vehicle Service Rises Significantly in India

Maruti Suzuki Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction for a 13th Consecutive Year
- J D Power Asia Pacific 2012 India Customer Service Index (CSI) Study

Vehicle owners in India increasingly seek speed and convenience when having their vehicle serviced, according to the J D Power Asia Pacific 2012 India Customer Service Index (CSI) Study released on 31st October 2012.

The study, now in its 16th year, measures satisfaction among vehicle owners who visit an authorised dealership service centre for maintenance or repair work between the first 12 to 24 months of vehicle ownership. The study measures overall satisfaction in five factors viz, service quality; vehicle pick-up; service advisor; service facility; and service initiation. Overall customer satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction.

The study reveals that vehicle owners increasingly consider faster turnaround in service, door-step service and alternate transportation arrangements post vehicle drop-off as essential to satisfaction. Satisfaction is significantly higher among vehicle owners whose dealership provides an alternate form of transportation while their vehicle is being serviced than among those who do not receive this service.

Correspondingly, during the past three years, the gap in satisfaction between these two groups of customers has increased by 41 points. The expectation for this service continues to outpace the delivery of it from dealerships by nearly 29 per cent.

Door-step service for vehicle owners also contributes to higher satisfaction scores. Overall satisfaction is 43 points higher among owners whose vehicle is picked up from and dropped off at their home or work by the dealership than among those who take their vehicle to the dealership service centre themselves.

Vehicle owners view the service process as an essential errand that needs to be completed, saidMohitArora, Executive Director, J D PowerAsia Pacific. With increasing stress of the daily commute, time commitments and other complexities in their daily life, owners highly appreciate the actions that dealers take tomitigate the effort required for service.

Overall customer satisfaction with the dealership service experience has increased by 10 points from 2011 to 834 in 2012, demonstrating that operational improvements continue to remain a focus for the industry. Satisfaction has improved in all five factors, with the largest increase in the service quality factor.

The study also finds that during the past three years, there has been a significant reduction in the cost of maintaining and repairing vehicles, which correlates to the improvement in the overall quality of vehicles being produced. In 2012, vehicle owners have experienced significantly fewer problems, compared with 2010. This year, 10 per cent of owners have experienced a problem with their petrol-fueled vehicle during the initial 12 to 24 months of ownership, down from 17 per cent in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of owners who have experienced a problem with their diesel-powered vehicle has declined to 14 per cent in 2012 from 24 per cent in 2010.

While reduction in the number of problems experienced during ownership has contributed to the reduction in the cost of vehicle maintenance and repairs for owners, the overall cost of running vehicles has gone up, said Arora. Fuel price increases are the primary reason for the rising costs, especially for petrol models, for which a 13 per cent reduction in the cost of maintenance has been offset by a 31 per cent increase in the cost spent on fuel between 2010 and 2012.Maruti Suzuki ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service for a 13th consecutive year, with a score of 879 points. Maruti Suzuki performs particularly well across all factors. Mahindra is the most improved make in 2012, significantly improving across all five factors of service operations.

Vehicle owners who are highly satisfied with dealer service tend to have higher levels of advocacy and loyalty to the dealership and the brand. Among owners who are highly satisfied with their service experience at the dealership (service satisfaction scores averaging 930 and above), 93 per cent indicate they definitelywould revisit their service dealer for postwarranty service. In contrast, only 38 per cent of less-satisfied owners (service satisfaction scores averaging 768 and below) say the same. Similarly, 85 per cent of highly satisfied owners indicate they definitely would purchase their next vehicle from the service dealer, compared with just 31 per cent of those who are less satisfied.

The 2012 India Customer Service Index Study is based on evaluations from 7,594 vehicle owners. The study was fielded from May to August 2012 and includes owners who purchased their vehicle between May 2010 and August 2011.

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