J.D. Power Reports Immediate Customer Greeting Key to Aftermarket Service Satisfaction

Greeting customers on arrival at an aftermarket automotive maintenance facility can improve customer satisfaction, according to the results of the U.S. Aftermarket Service Index Study released today by J.D. Power in Troy.
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J.D. Power chart of customer satisfaction of aftermarket automotive maintenance
Courtesy of J.D. Power 2021 Aftermarket Service Index Study

Greeting customers on arrival at an aftermarket automotive maintenance facility can improve customer satisfaction, according to the results of the U.S. Aftermarket Service Index Study released today by J.D. Power in Troy.

Satisfaction scores decline when customers wait more than three minutes before they’re acknowledged at full-service maintenance and repair, quick oil change, and tire replacement businesses, says the data analytics and consumer intelligence company. As a practical matter, greeting customers as soon as possible at any business will provide benefits.

“One of every 10 customers waits more than five minutes before speaking with someone at a service facility,” says Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “Seeing as how the pandemic has affected service volume, it’s really important to do a great job with the customers who do come through the door.

“Not being acknowledged can make customers feel that their time isn’t valued. Aftermarket service providers need to ensure someone is available to greet customers when they arrive, even if it’s just to say, ‘Hello.’ Otherwise, they run the risk of losing out on return business.”

The study, now in its second year, measures customer satisfaction with aftermarket service facilities, providing a numerical index ranking of the highest-performing U.S. aftermarket service facilities. Performance in three segments — full-service maintenance and repair; quick oil change; and tire replacement — is based on the combined scores for seven measures that comprise the vehicle owner service experience.

These measures are ease of scheduling/getting vehicle in for service; service advisor performance; service advisor courtesy; service facility; time to complete service; fairness of charges; and quality of work.

In all three segments, customers indicate they were very often greeted immediately: 42 percent of the time for full-service maintenance and repair; 53 percent of the time for quick oil change; and 34 percent of the time for tire replacement. Among customers in each segment who say they waited three minutes or more — which ranges from 27 percent to 39 percent — satisfaction scores decline as much as 219 points (on a 1,000-point scale).

Additionally, satisfaction can improve by 23 points when customers are contacted after service is completed.

“Simple things — like explaining to customers about the facility’s cleaning protocols — can make the difference between whether or not they willingly plan to return for future business or will recommend it to others,” Sutton says. “Aftermarket service providers should pay special attention to simple actions that can enhance the customer experience.”

Christian Brothers Automotive Corp. ranks highest in satisfaction for full-service maintenance and repair with a score of 869. Big O Tires (778) ranks second and Goodyear Tire and Auto Service (775) ranks third.

Take 5 ranks highest in satisfaction for quick oil change, with a score of 810. Valvoline Instant Oil Change (784) ranks second and Kwik Kar (775) ranks third.

Les Schwab Tire Centers ranks highest in satisfaction for tire replacement with a score of 820. Discount Tire ranks second (792) and Costco (780) ranks third.

The 2021 U.S. Aftermarket Service Index Study is based on responses from 8,148 vehicle owners. Survey data collection was conducted online between July and October 2020. Survey respondents were initially selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day, and from the SurveyMonkey Audience market research panel. Respondents were then screened for having aftermarket service performed in the past 12 months.

For more details on survey results, visit here.

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