It's a well-known fact that many vehicle owners stop taking their cars and trucks back to their dealer for service once its warranty period has expired. But is that really the best practice?
The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study, released this week, may shed some light on that question.
The study measured the service behaviours, satisfaction and loyalty of owners of vehicles that are four to 12 years old, in Canada. In terms of customer satisfaction, it included experience with both new-vehicle dealerships and aftermarket facilities.
Overall customer satisfaction was determined by examining five key factors of the service experience: service initiation; service advisor; service facility; service quality; and vehicle pick-up.
Chains score higher than dealers
As a group, chain aftermarket service providers tended to score higher than new-vehicle dealerships.
While dealership service departments are proficient in more areas than specialty shops, such as facilities dedicated to oil changes, the study found that customer satisfaction with an oil change at a dealer service centre is 28 points lower (823 on a 1,000-point scale) than at a quick lube facility (851).
"Specialty shops can focus on a particular service and optimize the processes to make it as painless and quick as possible for customers," said Ryan Robinson, director of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power and Associates.
"In contrast, dealerships need to be prepared to handle any type of vehicle repair, making it more difficult to streamline any one service and provide a quick in-and-out appointment for most customers," he added.
NAPA AUTO PRO tops them all
NAPA AUTOPRO ranked highest of all service providers in Canada in terms of satisfying its automotive service customers, with an overall index score of 879.
The remainder of the five highest-ranked brands were: Jiffy Lube (857); Mr. Lube (849); Great Canadian Oil Change (848); and Subaru Dealerships (847) – the only vehicle dealership to score above the industry average (827).
Among new-vehicle dealers, Subaru (847) was followed by: Acura (824); Audi/Volkswagen (823); Honda (823); Hyundai (822); GM (816); Kia (814); Toyota/Lexus (812); Nissan/Infiniti (811); Mercedes-Benz (808); Ford/Lincoln (807); Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge (804); Mazda (794); Mitsubishi (777); Ford Fast Lane (774); and BMW (770).
The ranking order for chain aftermarket service facilities, behind NAPA AUTOPRO (879) was: Jiffy Lube (857); Mr Lube (849); Great Canadian Oil Change (848); Goodyear Auto Service Centre (837); Midas (825); Active Green & Ross (810); Wal-mart (786); Costco (775); Canadian Tire (767).
Independent garages and repair shops, aggregated together, scored 866 out of 1000.
The 2012 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study was based on responses from more than 18,000 owners in Canada whose vehicles are between four and 12 years old. It was fielded in January and February 2012 and in June and July 2012.