With pressures on staffing, parts delays, inflationary impacts on pricing, a high volume of work that strains capacity, and sometimes just plain less friendly service advisors, independent aftermarket shops may be slipping when it comes to keeping customers happy.
At least that’s what a recent survey says.
According to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Aftermarket Service Index (ASI) Study of more than 11,000 shops south of the border, customer satisfaction declined in all key service segments it covers.
Based on a 1,000-point scale, quick oil change dropped 18 points year over year; full-service maintenance and repair, down 7; and tire replacement down 6 points.
Customer satisfaction also dipped for the performance of the service advisor, specifically noting increased wait times, and fewer advisors providing helpful advice. There is also lower satisfaction with service advisor courtesy.
And while the survey is of U.S. shops, it is easy to draw some parallels when in comes to the key advantages that Canada’s aftermarket shops can offer, and where they might be able to boost their performance.
“Independent service providers must remain focused on retaining their customer base,” said Leonard Martin, director of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “Aftermarket service facilities can increase customer loyalty and revenue by taking advantage of what they do best—being easier to do business with. Convenience, speed and price are very attractive to today’s vehicle owners who are looking for excellent service, and aftermarket service providers can leverage those factors to stem the tide of owners going to dealerships.”
Quick and easy facility fixes that improve satisfaction
Improving satisfaction at independent service centers can be as simple as providing complimentary snacks or electrical power for customers’ electronic devices, says. J.D. Power.
The three amenities that have the largest effect on satisfaction are offered less than 15% of the time.
- Service facility satisfaction is 825 when complimentary snacks/beverages are offered, a 91-point increase vs. when they are not (734).
- Facility satisfaction is 81 points higher when providers make a device charging station available than when this amenity is not offered (735).
- Giving customers a workspace to plug in computers is another easy way to boost satisfaction yet is currently provided only 7% of the time.
Other key findings of the 2023 study
The study, now in its fourth year, measures customer satisfaction with aftermarket service facilities, providing a numerical index ranking of the highest-performing facilities in the U.S. aftermarket. Performance in three segments—full-service maintenance and repair; quick oil change; and tire replacement—is based on the combined scores for seven measures that comprise the vehicle owner service experience. These measures are (in alphabetical order): ease of scheduling/getting vehicle in for service; fairness of charges; service advisor courtesy; service advisor performance; service facility; time to complete service; and quality of work.
A detailed look at the drivers of satisfaction in each segment reveals that satisfaction with quick oil change declines in all seven measures, with the largest decline in service facility (-22); satisfaction with full-service maintenance and repair declining in six of seven measures, with satisfaction only improving in ease of scheduling (+3); and tire and replacement declining in six of seven measures, with satisfaction improving only with time to complete service (+1).
Aftermarket service providers’ customer advocacy keeps up with dealers
The Net Promoter Scores (NPS) of independent service providers are competitive with those of franchised dealerships when comparing service visits for model-year 2020-2023 vehicles included in the 2023 ASI and the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study Independent service providers have an NPS score of 54 for full-service maintenance and repair, while dealerships have a score of 51. The NPS scores for tire replacement are 57 among dealerships and 56 among independent tire stores. NPS scores for oil changes are 54 for dealerships and 47 for quick oil change providers.
Aftermarket service providers can get boost from EVs
The ever-increasing electric vehicle (EV) marketplace service needs and shorter length of service intervals is creating an opportunity for aftermarket service providers.
The study finds that tire repair and replacement needs for EVs trend much higher than the industry average for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
The types of work being done at a higher rate on EVs than the industry average include tire maintenance (49% vs. 28%, respectively); tire repair (41% vs. 12%, respectively); and tire replacement (34% vs. 21%, respectively).
“Aftermarket service providers can benefit from an increase in tire replacement and repair business as automakers offer more EVs,” Martin said. “The heavier EV weight due to batteries coupled with the instant torque results in more tire wear and tear, which is an opportunity for the aftermarket industry.”
For more information about the U.S. Aftermarket Service Index (ASI) Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/automotive/us-aftermarket-service-index-asi-study.
See the rank charts for each segment at http://www.jdpower.com/pr-id/2023039.