J.D. Power Asia Pacific Reports: For Dealership Service Facilities in India, Defection Rate to Non-Authorized Service Centers Decreases Notably

Maruti Suzuki Ranks Highest in Dealer Service Satisfaction in India for a 10th Consecutive Year

New Delhi, New Delhi, October 27, 2009 /India PRwire/ -- The proportion of customers defecting from dealership service facilities to non-authorized service centers has decreased in 2009, compared with 2008, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2009 India Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM released today.

The study, now in its 13th year, measures satisfaction among vehicle owners who visited their authorized dealership service center for maintenance or repair work during the first 12 to 24 months of ownership. Redesigned in 2009, the study measures overall satisfaction by examining five factors (listed in the order of importance): service quality; vehicle pickup; service advisor; service facility; and service initiation. Overall customer satisfaction is measured on a 1,000 point scale, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction.

The study finds that the proportion of customers who defected to non-authorized service centers for their vehicle service requirements has decreased to 7 percent in 2009 from 11 percent in 2008. This decrease in defection rates is attributable to brands expanding the reach and quality of their service networks, as well as to manufacturers making greater efforts to retain customers.

“Automotive brands and their dealerships lose revenue-earning opportunities when new-vehicle owners defect to non-authorized service centers,” said Mohit Arora, senior director at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore. “Defection may be minimized by enhancing customer contact and engaging in relationship-building activities at dealerships, such as keeping track of customer service histories and proactively informing customers when to schedule their next service visit.”

For a 10th consecutive year, Maruti Suzuki ranks highest in customer satisfaction with authorized dealer service in India. Maruti Suzuki achieves an overall CSI score of 824 and performs particularly well in the service advisor and service facility factors. Following Maruti Suzuki in the rankings are Honda (791) and Mahindra (757).

“The leading brands differentiate themselves in the service quality and vehicle pickup factors,” said Arora. “These brands and their dealerships consistently perform simple activities that help raise customer service satisfaction levels, such as providing explanations of work prior to service, establishing post-service contact to ensure work was performed to the customer’s satisfaction, informing the customer when the vehicle is ready and washing and vacuuming the vehicle.”

The study finds that 57 percent of customers report that 24/7 roadside assistance is not available from their dealership, or they are not aware that their dealership offers the service. Meanwhile, 64 percent of these customers indicate they are willing to subscribe to this service.

“Safety and convenience are basic needs for customers,” said Arora. “Providing 24/7 roadside assistance is likely to provide customers with the sense of added comfort in their hour of need and is also likely to add to their satisfaction both with the dealership and vehicle brand.”

The study finds that investing in service customer satisfaction yields benefits for both dealerships and their brands. More than nine in 10 highly satisfied customers (with service satisfaction scores averaging above 870) say they “definitely will” return to the same dealership for post-warranty service. In contrast, only one-third of highly dissatisfied customers (with satisfaction scores averaging below 719) say the same. Furthermore, customers who are highly satisfied are twice as likely as highly dissatisfied customers to repurchase the same brand of vehicle.

“Dealer service is one of the key customer interfaces for automakers once a vehicle is sold,” said Arora. “This makes it imperative for brands and dealers to maintain high levels of satisfaction, as highly satisfying customer interactions help build favorable impressions and build long-term brand loyalty.”

The 2009 India Customer Service Index (CSI) Study is based on responses from more than 5,800 owners of nearly50 different vehicle models. The study was fielded from May to August 2009 and includes customers who had purchased their vehicles between May 2007 and August 2008.

Notes to Editor

About J.D. Power Asia Pacific

J.D. Power Asia Pacific has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide performance analytics services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Information regarding J.D. Power Asia Pacific and its products can be accessed through the Internet at www.jdpower.com.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. http://www.jdpower.com/corporate

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