Lexus regained its top spot among luxury brands and compact car maker Mini again bested much larger mass-market brands to grab the top spots in the industry's major dealership service satisfaction survey.
Lexus bested Cadillac in J.D. Power's 2022 U.S. Customer Service Index Study, released Wednesday, after Porsche had squeaked out a win over Lexus in last year's study. Among mass-market brands, Mini scored a consecutive victory, but only narrowly beat Buick to take the crown.
The study, now in its 42nd year, was redesigned for 2022 to include cutting-edge offerings including valet service, remote servicing and online payments, J.D. Power said. Service capacity issues — brought on by ongoing staffing shortages as well as parts supply interruptions from the pandemic — have been a sore spot with consumers.
The company said wait times to schedule service appointments for 1- to 3-year-old vehicles had increased by nearly one full day among owners of premium and mass-market vehicles.
"Dealer service departments are in a pivotal position to improve customer satisfaction and provide greater customer convenience, even though many challenges — including the parts supply chain disruption and the availability of new-vehicle loaners — are out of their control," Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power, said in a written statement.
"Proactive communication with customers is one solution for dealerships to mitigate a disruptively tough situation. Simply implementing text or email alerts can greatly improve customer satisfaction," Sutton continued. "Letting customers know what is happening at each step along the way, including why it is taking longer to book an appointment or providing any updates in parts delays, can help improve satisfaction."
The study measures five areas, with weighted scores combined into a composite number for each brand. The five weighted areas are service quality, service adviser, vehicle pickup, service facility and service initiation, J.D. Power said.
Among the general industry findings of this year's study, J.D. Power said that increased communication, including photographic or videographic evidence of service, as well as added convenience were keys for brands to improve customer service satisfaction. It also found that service satisfaction among battery-electric vehicle owners trailed that of owners of internal combustion engine-powered vehicles.