WASHINGTON - J.D. Power and Associates is revamping its annual Customer Satisfaction Index Study to focus more on customer satisfaction with dealer service departments.
Even the name of the study will change when it is released in mid-July - to Customer Service Index instead of Customer Satisfaction Index. So said Joseph Ivers, senior director of customer satisfaction for the Agoura Hills, Calif., research firm, at the June meeting of the Washington Automotive Press Association.
'Customer loyalty is much more driven by the dealer service experience,' Ivers said. 'Once the vehicle is designed, built and sold, it is out of their (the manufacturers') hands.'
The study - which covers both satisfaction with dealer service and vehicle quality - will offer more details on how customers are treated in dealer service departments. Customer satisfaction with vehicle quality, which has been a secondary focus, will continue to take a back seat to dealer service, he said.
But the survey is expected to give a clearer picture of how well vehicles are built, because the new study will separate satisfaction with repairs from satisfaction with normal maintenance. 'Through the mix of repair vs. normal maintenance, it will be clear who does well' in producing a quality vehicle, Ivers said. The study will reveal which vehicles are in the shop most for repairs.