Toyota ranks highest in customer satisfaction with automotive dealer service in the Philippines, according to the JD Power Asia Pacific 2004 Philippines Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) study.

The annual study, now in its fourth year, identifies seven factors that measure customer satisfaction with dealership service in the Philippines. In order of importance, they are: problems experienced, service quality, user-friendly service, service delivery, service advisor, service initiation, and in-service experience.

Toyota moves up one position to rank highest in 2004, with an index score of 828 out of a maximum of 1,000 points. Toyota posts industry-leading scores on service delivery, user-friendly service and problems experienced, which together account for more than 50% overall satisfaction.

Honda follows Toyota in the ranking with a CSI score of 826 points and leads the industry on in-service experience and service quality.

With a CSI score of 821, Nissan improves six index points over 2003 to rank third, and is the only make to record a year-over-year improvement. Nissan's improved performance stems from industry-best performances on the initial stages of dealer service: service initiation and service advisor.

The industry average score declines by six index points over 2003 - dropping from 826 to 820. This decline is the result of lower satisfaction levels with six out of the seven factors.

Service initiation is the only factor to post an improvement (+21 points over 2003), indicating that customers are more satisfied with the dealer's ability to schedule service visits and their promptness in initiating the service process.

This study finds that the percentage of customers who report the time taken to service their vehicles as better than expected declines 6% against 2003, reflecting higher customer expectations on the time to service the vehicle. Customers who report better than expected service times record CSI scores 53 points above the industry average. In contrast, customers who report worse than expected service times record CSI scores 119 points below average.

"Vehicle owners in the Philippines are becoming increasingly time-sensitive, thus it is imperative that dealers manage the service visit in the most efficient and time-effective manner," a JD Power spokesman said.

The study also reveals that about one in five customers (18%) defect to aftermarket facilities. Although the key reason for defection is price, dealers can minimise defection rates by providing a service experience that exceeds their customers' expectations. Only 12% of the most satisfied customers (CSI scores higher than 900 points) defect to aftermarket facilities. In contrast, more than double (25%) the most dissatisfied customers (CSI scores below 760) defect to aftermarket facilities.

The 2004 Philippines study is based on evaluations from more than 1,200 new vehicle owners surveyed at 12 to 18 months of ownership and includes customers who purchased their personal use passenger cars and light trucks between October 2002 and June 2003.