Automotive firms’ service improves for sixth consecutive year

9th Aug 2016

Customer satisfaction in the automotive sector has increased for the sixth year running, the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) from the Institute of Customer Service shows, but more organisations need to get service right first time.

The Index, which measures customer satisfaction across 13 sectors of the economy, gives the UK’s automotive industry an overall customer satisfaction rating of 78.9 out of 100 – an increase of 0.6 points since July 2015. Land Rover received the sector’s highest score, while Suzuki is the most improved automotive organisation.

Over the past 12 months, the report shows that the industry has improved on most complaint handling measures, apart from satisfaction with complaint outcomes. Customers are also happier with communication via the phone and email, but the sector performs below average for most online experience measures. 

It is, however, becoming harder for organisations to earn customer loyalty and advocacy – as sector data shows. Despite the increase in customer satisfaction, the Net Promoter Score (used to gauge customer loyalty) for the sector fell by 2.2 points compared to July 2015.

One way for firms to build loyalty is to deliver great service first time. Customers claim automotive companies ‘get it right first time’ in 75% of cases, but there is always room for improvement.

“Customers expect to be dealt with quickly and competently – as soon as they start to feel let down or ignored, their trust is lost,” Institute chief executive Jo Causon explains. “It’s encouraging to see the automotive sector is making progress, but prevention is always better than cure, so the industry should take note of the areas that need to be focused on. Efficiency, effectiveness and empathy are key, and organisations should always follow up with customers to ensure that the problem is resolved.”

Given that a higher proportion of automotive customers now prioritise excellent service at a higher price over more affordable ‘no frills’ service, this focus could drive up business for many firms. Almost a third of customers expressed a preference for top customer service, even if it costs them more, compared to 27% in July 2014. 

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