Automotive sector take fourth position in customer satisfaction index

11th Sep 2014

Customer satisfaction in the Automotive sector has been dented slightly, experiencing a small decline since July 2013, however it remains in the top four performing industries and outperforms many other sectors, encouraging greater levels of trust and loyalty from its customers.

The Automotive sector performed in line with the all sector average in July’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), falling by 0.8 points, experiencing the same overall drop in customer satisfaction experienced in the UK over the past six months. All but one organisation returned scores above the all-sector average, revealing that UK customers feel the automotive sector is delivering a relatively high level of customer service compared to elsewhere in the economy.

Skoda was awarded the best customer satisfaction score of 82.7 for the sector, followed by Mercedez Benz (82.6), Honda (82.5), Hyundai (81.8) and Kia (81.5). There was however considerable variation in performance since January’s UKCSI, with all of the top five apart from Hyundai reporting a drop of more than one point, while Seat was the only Automotive organisation that reported an improvement of more than one point.

Automotive organisations with higher satisfaction also enjoy higher rates of intention to remain a customer, repurchase and recommend - key metrics of business performance in a sector with a high focus on loyalty and repurchase. Those with higher satisfaction also have higher levels of trust from customers.

Only 7.6 per cent of customers experienced a problem in the three months leading up to UKCSI, considerably fewer than the 13.4 per cent UK all-sector average demonstrating that the sector is especially strong at preventing problems arising.

Examining the nature of complaints revealed that quality, staff competence and suitability of goods were the areas most cited by customers. However, Automotive customers who made a complaint were less likely than average to cite problems with staff attitude, speed of delivery and an organisation not keeping its promises.When customers did complain satisfaction with the way the complaint was handled increased from 5.0 to 5.4 out of 10 (the UKCSI average was 4.9). Social media appears to be growing in importance as a way of complaining to or about organisations. 5% of complaints in the Automotive sector were made using social media and 8.6% of customers who escalated a complaint did so through social media. Telephone (56%) and face to face (54%) continue to be the most commonly used channels for making a complaint.

Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service, comments:

“The UKCSI provides consistent evidence that organisations with high satisfaction also see higher levels of reputation, trust, loyalty, repurchase and recommendation, a key element of competition in the Automotive sector. The sector also highlights a number brands that are experiencing a decline in customer satisfaction, suggesting that as the economy recovers there will be winners and losers in all sectors and those organisations that maintain a consistent focus on their customer experience will be well placed to achieve sustainable success.”

The UKCSI, carried out by the Institute of Customer Service, includes over 40,000 responses from more than 9,000 customers. During these interviews customers gave insight into 197 of the UK’s leading brands across 13 different sectors. Of these, the Automotive sector ranked in 4th place, experiencing a drop of 0.8 points between January and July 2014. The Automotive sector includes over 3,000 customer responses.

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About The Institute of Customer Service

The Institute of Customer Service is the professional body for customer service delivering tangible benefit to organisations and individuals so that our customers can improve their customers' experience and their own business performance. The Institute is a membership body with a community of over 400 organisational members - from the private, public and third sectors - and over 5,000 individual memberships.

For more information about the Institute of Customer Service go to www.instituteofcustomerservice.com

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