Mercedes-Benz India customers happiest with dealer service: JD Power

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 07 Dec 2015


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Mercedes-Benz India, which has been aggressively driving its growth game-plan, has been ranked the highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service among luxury brands, with a score of 842 in the J.D. Power 2015 India Customer Service Index (CSI) Study— Luxury, released today. BMW India, with 832 points and Audi India, with 835 points, were second and third placed respectively.

The 2015 India Customer Service Index Study is based on responses from 265 vehicle owners in the luxury segment who received delivery of their new vehicle between May 2013 and August 2014 and took their vehicle for service to an authorized dealer or service center between October 2014 and August 2015. The study was fielded between May and August 2015.

As per the findings of the latest study, service advisors play a critical role in customer satisfaction with their vehicle service experience. The study, now in its third year, measures satisfaction among luxury vehicle owners who visit an authorised dealership service center for maintenance or repair work within the first 12 to 24 months of vehicle ownership. The study measures overall satisfaction in five factors (listed in order of importance): service quality (43%); vehicle pick-up (17%); service advisor (14%); service facility (14%); and service initiation (11%).

KEY FINDINGS

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Luxury Car Owners Expect End-to-End Interactions with Service Advisors: The study lists 11 points of interaction service advisors can have with their customers, from addressing them appropriately to reviewing work done on the vehicle. Satisfaction among customers whose service advisor delivered on received all 11 points reported a satisfaction score which is higher by 28 index points above industry average. Such interactions have occurred less frequently in 2015, with 56% of customers indicating their service advisors were in frequent interaction with them, compared with 74% in 2014.

Satisfaction with Dealer Service Drives Customer Loyalty: Among the 24% of customers who are highly satisfied with their dealer service (overall satisfaction scores of 897 and above), 79% say they “definitely would” return to their dealer for post-warranty service and 85% “definitely would” recommend their dealer to friends and family. In contrast, among customers who are less satisfied (scores of 786 and lower), only 46% indicate they “definitely would” return to the dealer for post-warranty service, and only 66% say they “definitely would” recommend the dealer to others.

Areas in Need of Improvement: Areas of customer service with the greatest need for improvement are those that focus on reviewing work done on the vehicle, performing an inspection of the vehicle and returning the vehicle washed and vacuumed. For example, 21% of owners indicate their car was not washed and vacuumed when it was returned from service, up from 7% in 2014.

Same-Day Service Improves Satisfaction: More service facilities in 2015 provide same-day vehicle delivery, compared with 2014 (64% vs. 56%, respectively). When service is completed on the same day, satisfaction is 847, compared with 817 when it takes longer than one day.

“Luxury vehicle owners around the world normally expect a high level of personalised service, and that holds true for their service experience,” said Mohit Arora, executive director at J.D. Power, Singapore. “Customers expect their service advisor to have an ongoing dialogue with them so they can know the status of the work being done throughout the process. Luxury car manufacturers and their dealerships need to develop appropriate communication protocols in order to fulfill this expectation and drive greater customer engagement.”

Overall vehicle owner satisfaction with their dealership service experience averages 836 in 2015, a 7-point decline from 2014. An 11-point drop in service advisor satisfaction is contributing to the overall decline.

Mercedes-Benz India, which is on a roll in the domestic market, has launched 14 products so far this year, under its ‘15 in '15’ strategy and is set to launch the A-class facelift on December 8. It had registered a 34% rise in sales in the January-September 2015 period with deliveries of 10,079 cars in the first nine months of the year as against 7,529 units in the same period last year. The luxury carmaker had sold almost the entire volume of 2014 in the first nine months of 2015. Due to rising input costs, Mercedes-Benz India recently announced a price hike of up to 2% on its entire range of cars effective from January 1, 2016. Given that the luxury carmaker is riding on the strong demand wave, Indian customers may take the proposed price hike in their stride. 

More JD Power Study results:

Luxury car buyers in India happiest with Audi

- Maruti Suzuki remains best aftersales service provider for record 16th year

Vehicle manufacturing quality in India significantly improved over past 5 years


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