BANGKOK:— Toyota ranks highest in customer satisfaction with authorized dealer after-sales service in Thailand for the first time since 2003, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2008 Thailand Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study released today.
Now in its ninth year, the study measures customer satisfaction with maintenance and repair service at authorized dealer service centers. Seven factors are examined to determine overall satisfaction. In order of importance, they are: service quality; problems experienced; service delivery; user-friendly service; service advisor; service initiation; and in-service experience. CSI performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale.
Among the eight brands examined in the 2008 study, Toyota ranks highest with an overall CSI score of 853, performing particularly well in the in-service experience and user-friendly service factors. While ranking below the industry average, Isuzu follows Toyota in the rankings with a score of 846, performing particularly well in the service quality factor. Honda improves considerably since the 2007 study and follows Isuzu in the rankings with a score of 844, performing particularly well in the service initiation, in-service experience and service delivery factors.
Overall satisfaction in 2008 averages 847—up 4 points from the 2007 study. The industry also improves slightly in all factors. In 2008, 94 percent of customers, regardless of their service requirements, say that service was completed the same day they brought their vehicle to the dealer—an increase from 92 percent in 2007. Among these customers, the time needed to service the vehicle averaged 2 hours and 20 minutes.
“Interestingly, a growing proportion of customers report waiting at the service center while their vehicle is being serviced—an average of 72 percent in 2008, compared with 69 percent in 2007,” said Loïc Pean, country manager at J.D. Power and Associates, Singapore. “As a result, customers are becoming more demanding regarding service center amenities, particularly in the waiting area. Manufacturers and dealers may need to quickly adopt new strategies to match these rising customer expectations.”
The study finds that the proportion of customers who say they schedule an appointment for service rather than simply dropping in at the dealership is quickly increasing. In 2008, 29 percent of customers report making an appointment, compared with 22 percent in 2007 and 20 percent in 2006.
“The increase in the number of customers scheduling their visit is probably the result of manufacturer efforts to gain better control of the service process, which can improve management efficiency and operational costs, as well as potentially reducing servicing and waiting time for their customers,” said Pean. “In past years, customers with service appointments historically had lower overall satisfaction levels than did drop-in customers. However, in 2008, overall satisfaction is nearly equal for these two groups, demonstrating that dealers are making strides in improving customer satisfaction among customers with appointments. The future challenge for manufacturers and dealers will be to maintain or improve that level of satisfaction and proactively manage growing numbers of scheduled service visits.”
The study also finds that vehicle owners report spending more money on fuel—an average of 5,000 baht per month in 2008, compared with 4,500 baht per month in 2007.
“As rising fuel costs are whittling away household budgets, existing or prospective car owners may become more sensitive to maintenance and service costs in the near future,” said Pean.
The 2008 Thailand Customer Satisfaction Index Study is based on evaluations from 3,316 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between July 2006 and April 2007. The study was fielded between January and April 2008.
The CSI study is one of four consumer-based studies J.D. Power Asia Pacific conducts in Thailand. The 2008 Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which measures satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process, will be released in late July. The 2008 Initial Quality Study (IQS), which measures problems experienced by new-vehicle owners, will be released in late October. The 2008 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, measuring what excites and delights owners about their new-vehicle’s performance and design, will be released in late November.
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