Apparently customer satisfaction does not always lead to higher sales.
The two brands whose sales are down the most this year according to Ward's data, rank the highest in J.D. Power and Associates' latest Customer Service Index Study.
The study's top-ranked brand, Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar Div., finished 13 points higher than last year's top performer, despite its 181 U.S. dealerships averaging 6.7 sales per month through June — a 27.4% decline from last year.
Jaguar, which finished fourth last year, significantly improved its service quality and service initiation this year.
General Motor Corp.'s Buick brand ranks second in the study, although sales are down 27.9% this year.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus, which topped the study in 2006, tied for third with Cadillac.
According to the study, customers who show up for service without setting an appointment are more satisfied than customers that make appointments.
“Customers who plan ahead and make appointments to have their vehicles serviced expect that the dealership will prioritize their vehicles,” Tom Gauer, J.D. Power's senior director of automotive retail research. “However, when customers with appointments see that drop-in customers are receiving the same attention and priority, their satisfaction drops.”
The study indicates 62% of service customers visit dealerships for maintenance rather than repairs.
The study measures the satisfaction of customers visiting the dealer service department for maintenance or repairs during the first three years of ownership.
For the survey, J.D. Power measures six categories:
Service initiation, service advisor, in-dealership experience, service delivery, service quality and user-friendly service.