Auto Service World
News   May 9, 2024   by Adam Malik

Dealer wait times increase but doesn’t impact satisfaction

Customer distrust of dealer ability with complex repairs grows, says new study from J.D. Power

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Customer satisfaction with dealership service experiences has shown improvement this year, despite ongoing challenges with parts and labor shortages that lead to extended waiting times for service appointments.

This finding comes from the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Customer Service Index Study. The overall service satisfaction score increased by five points to 851 on a 1,000-point scale.

“It’s encouraging to see an improvement in service satisfaction but, unfortunately, the capacity and wait time issues have gotten progressively worse since the pandemic and show no immediate signs of easing up,” said Chris Sutton, J.D. Power’s vice president of automotive retail, noted the mixed nature of these results. While service satisfaction has seen an uplift, the issues surrounding capacity and wait times have worsened since the pandemic, with no immediate solutions in sight.

He further highlighted the subpar service experience for battery electric vehicle (BEV) owners, excluding those who own Teslas. He emphasized the urgency for automakers and dealers to address these issues as the market shifts from early adopters to more typical consumers who are less forgiving of inadequate service.

The study also points to a trust gap in dealers’ ability to conduct complex repairs for non-Tesla BEV owners, impacting the overall service experience. Trust scores among these owners lag behind those of gas-powered and plug-in hybrid vehicle owners.

The study also covers modern service features like valet service and mobile vehicle servicing. It measures customer satisfaction across five key aspects of the service experience: quality, advisor, vehicle pick-up, facility, and initiation.

Key findings from the 2024 study include:

  • Appointment wait times are increasing, with mass market vehicle owners waiting an average of 5.2 days and premium vehicle owners waiting 5.4 days.
  • A growing preference for prompt service is leading more customers to choose aftermarket facilities over dealerships.
  • Technology plays a crucial role in improving the service experience, with a notable preference for receiving service updates via text message.
  • The cost of service visits has risen significantly over the past two years, with inflation and higher parts and labor costs driving up prices.
  • Non-Tesla BEV owners report the lowest satisfaction levels, particularly in relation to recall work, where they experience recalls more than twice as often as gas-powered vehicle owners.

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