Since its 1990 inception, Lexus has won over customers not only through its high-quality vehicles, but also in customer service at dealerships. It forced other automakers, whether Japanese, German, or American, to pick up their game. And it hasn’t really slowed down, evidenced by the brand taking top honors (again) in this year’s J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service survey.
Evaluated on a 1,000-point scale measuring five different categories—service quality, service initiation, service adviser, service facility, and vehicle pickup—Lexus scored 861 points, leading both luxury makes and mainstream brands. Following the Japanese luxury automaker were Cadillac (852), Jaguar (849), Acura (838), and Porsche (836) to round out the top five.
Among non-luxury brands, J.D. Power ranks Mini first, which is odd considering it’s generally thought of as a premium small-car brand that shares lot space with BMW. It leads with 809 points, followed by another semi-premium brand, Buick (805), GMC (803), Chevrolet (801), Hyundai (791) to round out the mainstream top five.
Audi posted the greatest improvement of luxury makes, up 34 points to take sixth with 828 points, and Nissan picked up 43 points to land at 10th among mainstream makes with 774 points.
Conducted between October and December 2011, this year’s J.D. Power survey polled 84,000 respondents with 2007 to 2011 cars about their experiences at dealerships. Among other findings, J.D. Power found that overall satisfaction for dealership service was 38 points higher than non-dealer service at 787 points. Overall dealership satisfaction was up 19 points for 2012 versus 2011 figures.
“Steady improvements in vehicle quality, longer intervals between recommended service visits and a higher mix of maintenance service events have had a positive effect on overall dealer service satisfaction,” said Chris Sutton, senior director at J.D. Power and Associates in a statement.
Of the most recent findings—and possibly most important—J.D. Power said there were three key ways a dealership could further heighten customer experience:
- Promote online scheduling because of its ease. J.D. Power also said online scheduling customers tend to spend more money on maintenance.
- Review inspection reports with all customers, going down the list of parts and processes individually.
- Consider a complimentary maintenance program, such as what many luxury makes already use. It’s expensive, but it builds dealership trust and brand equity in the long-run.
Because if you’re plunking down five or six figures for a car that’ll last you the next half-decade or more, no less than the best money can buy should be par for the course, luxury car or not. A free massage, car wash, shoe-shining, or cookie bouquet would be pretty nifty, too.
Source: J.D. Power