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Car dealers should use more technology to interact with customers, survey says

Motors | Published:

Annual JD Power Customer Service Index Study also found Audi and Suzuki top the charts for customer satisfaction

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Car dealerships need to do more texting when talking to customers about their servicing requirements, according to the results of a new survey published today.

The research, from JD Power, says ‘sizable gaps exist between how customers prefer to schedule vehicle service appointments and receive service updates, and how dealers are actually scheduling and communicating with their customers’.

Its 2019 UK Customer Service Index Study adds: ‘Closing these technology usage gaps will enable dealerships to increase service and sales revenue, while simultaneously increasing customer satisfaction.’

Josh Halliburton, vice president and head of European operations at JD Power, said: ‘Customers in younger generations are certainly affecting industry-wide behaviours when it comes to service experience expectations, and this will become more notable as they begin to represent a larger portion of the service business.

‘However, there is an increase in preference among those in all generations for text message updates. For example, in the five years this study has been conducted, there’s been an eight per cent increase in preference for this type of communication among Boomers, or customers born between 1946 and 1964.

‘We expect text message updates will become the most preferred means of interaction among all generations within the next few years.’

While 26 per cent of service customers prefer to schedule appointments via the internet, only 17 per cent are currently doing so, the survey found. Additionally, while 31 per cent of service customers indicate a preference to receive text message updates, only 15 per cent receive such updates.

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The study, now in its fifth year, measures customer satisfaction with their service experience at franchised dealer facilities for maintenance or repair work among owners and lessees of one- to three-year-old vehicles.

Audi ranks highest among premium brands, with a score of 815 out of 1,000, a 23-point improvement from 2018. Mercedes-Benz ranks second (802), followed by BMW (798). Volvo is bottom on 776 although only five ‘premium brands’ are listed.

Suzuki ranks highest among volume brands, with a score of 813, a 22-point improvement from 2018.

Toyota ranks second (800), followed by Honda (798). Bottom of the shop is Fiat (759).

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