Industry players and watchers like to make much of initial customer satisfaction with a particular brand, and then there are the obligatory brand reliability ratings; both play an important role in the consumer buying process. However, the quality of customer service shouldn’t be overlooked.
After all, the human factor remains a major element in any transaction, especially when it involves a follow-up visit, such as for vehicle maintenance, for example.
Yesterday, American organization J.D. Power released the results of its annual survey on the subject f after-sales service. For some brands the results are reassuring, but for others they might surprise, disappoint, even cause alarm.
The evaluation process is rigorous and complex, but there are basically five elements used to determine the score: quality of service, including total time and attention to detail, speed of the drop-off process and ease of completion, knowledge and courtesy of the service manager, cleanliness of the facility, and helpfulness of the staff when picking up the vehicle. That score is tabulated based on a 1,000-point scale.
We can separate the data into two main categories, those of mass-market and luxury brands. First, the brands most buyers shop for.
Since 2015, Mini has done well in after-sales service rankings, as the BMW division has placed among the top three most-liked brands more often than not. After a dip last year, it's back strong and takes top spot this year with a score of 864 points.
Behind Mini are Buick (859), Mitsubishi (857), GMC (856) and Kia (854). The industry average is 843 points. At the wrong end of the ranking, we find Dodge (824), Volkswagen (823), Jeep (820), Chrysler (818) and Ram (817). Clearly, Stellantis has some work to do.
As for the luxury brands, Porsche reigns at the top with a score of 899. The German automaker is followed by Lexus (895), Infiniti (887), Cadillac (883) and Lincoln (872). Considerably less happy with their score will be Volvo (863), Audi (862), Jaguar (853), Land Rover (799) and Alfa Romeo (797).
We should point out, of course, that scoring in the bottom five doesn’t mean that the service department is rotten. But it does mean that it is lagging behind the competition. It serves as a benchmark for manufacturers who want to improve customer service.