Auto Service World
News   June 21, 2022   by Adam Malik

This may be a key advantage for the aftermarket over dealers

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A recent study out of the United States found that vehicle owners find it easier to do business with an aftermarket service facility compared to a franchised new-vehicle dealer for some types of service.

The J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Aftermarket Service Index (ASI) Study reported that dealer service facilities have a leg up over the aftermarket in consumer perception — except in one area. The aftermarket outperforms dealers in ease of doing business when it comes to general maintenance, tire replacement and oil change services.

Consider this a competitive advantage to build on, a J.D. Power expert said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, dealers put more emphasis on vehicle service as new vehicle sales took a hit.

“To remain competitive, independent service providers must understand that it’s important to build on the competitive advantage of being easier to do business with — which is something franchise dealers typically fail to communicate to their sales and service customers,” said Leonard Martin, director of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “This facet of the business includes location, hours of operation, scheduling procedures and overall friendliness. Customers want to be acknowledged immediately and then served hassle-free.”

The study measures customer satisfaction with aftermarket service facilities measuring areas like ease of scheduling, fairness of charges, friendliness of the service advisor, quality of work and more.

The study found shops are good at fixing problems right the first time — improving from last year’s numbers. It reported that 97 per cent of full-service maintenance customers said their problem was fixed right the first time, up from 94 per cent in 2021.

For quick oil change customers, customers reported ‘right the first time’ at 98 per cent (up form 97 per cent). Tire replacement customers reported this at 96 per cent, up from 94 per cent.

“Given that both franchised dealers and independents are finding it more difficult to hire qualified technicians, this result is heartening,” Martin said. “It’s an indicator that the general level of service has improved despite labor challenges.”

When asked why they choose an independent service provider respondents selected lower cost of service (39 per cent), schedule accommodation (38 per cent) and perceived ease and speed of using the facility (34 per cent).

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