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Dealers Helped Take Sting Out of Recalls, Finds JD Power Survey

Jaguar, Buick tops in customer service, in new survey.

by on Mar.18, 2015

John Csernotta of J.D. Power, left, presented Joe Eberhardt, center, and Eric Johnston, right, of Jaguar with a 2015 J.D. Power Customer Service Index award

While a record number of vehicles – about 64 million in all – were recalled in the U.S. last year, dealers helped take the sting out of things, according to a new survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

Power’s latest Customer Service Index found that dealers went out of their way to make the repair process as painless as possible.

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“Manufacturers have shown that it is possible to turn a potential negative into a positive when it comes to recalls if they’re done in a way that doesn’t inconvenience the customer,” noted Chris Sutton, vice president of J.D. Power’s U.S. automotive retail practice. (more…)

GM Hopes to Turn Frustrated Owners into Loyal Buyers

Maker dedicates new Customer Engagement Center in Detroit.

by on Dec.09, 2013

One of the growing team of "advisors" at the new GM Customer Engagement Center.

For decades, General Motors viewed frustrated customers as a costly nuisance.  Today, the maker says, it wants to turn them into loyal owners. At least, that’s the strategy behind the new Customer Engagement Center officially opening at the GM Technical Center in the Detroit suburb of Warren, Michigan.

The facility, which will eventually employ nearly 350 “advisors” and managers, is part of a dramatic shift in the way GM wants to do business – a recognition that in today’s crowded and highly competitive automotive market it doesn’t take much to send buyers over to your competition if they aren’t treated right.

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“I don’t know if there’s anything more important than getting a customer to come back,” said Mark Reuss, president of GM’s North American automotive operations, during a tour of the new facility which consolidates earlier call centers based as far away as Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Lexus Tops New JD Power Customer Service Study

GMC surges into lead among mass market brands.

by on Mar.13, 2013

Lexus vehicles like the GS sedan once again dominated the Power measure of dealer service.

Sure, those car dealers are easy to poke fun at. But a new study suggests American motorists are more than happy, on the whole, with the service they’re delivering.

For the fifth year in a row, Lexus led the closely watched J.D. Power Customer Service Index, a measure of how well are meeting owners’ expectations for performance at their repair shops. Detroit-based GMC, meanwhile, jumped into the lead among mass-market brands, according to the market research firm.

The annual CSI found that customers are becoming increasingly satisfied by dealer service in general, especially with the service they get from factory-approved retailers as compared with independent facilities.

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“Manufacturers have made large investments in their retail programs, and dealers have made significant investments in key customer touch-points—people, improved processes and customer waiting areas—which are having a profoundly positive impact on their customers,” said Chris Sutton, the JDPA senior director in charge of the 2013 survey.


Lexus, Mini, top J.D. Power Customer Service Index

Customers face little "upsell" pressure from dealer service shops.

by on Mar.11, 2011

The repair shop can make a big difference in the way a customer views a dealership - and a brand.

Lexus and Mini are the brands most likely to satisfy customers – at least those owners who take their vehicles in for service, reports J.D. Power and Associates.

While its conventional wisdom that consumers will be heavily pressed to make unnecessary repairs by greedy dealers, the 2011 Customer Service Index reveals that very few owners actually face “upsell” pressure from dealers who want to perform unnecessary repairs.

Only 7% of customers faced such pressures, according to Power’s survey of nearly 100,000 owners and lessees of 2006 through 2010 model-year vehicles.  But the report reveals that the older the vehicle the more likely an owner is to face upselling.  And, in some cases, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, reports Power.

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Suggesting additional service work can actually benefit both customers and dealerships,” according to Jon Osborn, Power’s research director, because “customers may prolong the life of their vehicle while service facilities may gain additional revenue.”

Nonetheless, he stressed that dealers need to properly train their staff to suggest additional work only when it is truly necessary – and not to make customers feel unduly pressured.