Toyota leads the industry in customer satisfaction with dealer service, according to the JD Power Asia Pacific 2002 Thailand Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study.

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The annual study, now in its third year, identifies seven factors that determine customer satisfaction with dealer service in the Thai automotive market. In order of importance, these are: problems experienced, service quality, user-friendly service, service delivery, service advisor, service initiation and in-service experience. Toyota is the only nameplate to receive above-average scores across all seven factors.

“Toyota demonstrates its customer commitment by doing an outstanding job of maintaining contact with its customers,” said Sanjay Ralhan, senior analyst and account director at JD Power Asia Pacific. “A manufacturer’s responsibility does not end with the vehicle sales and delivery process. Toyota, through its dealers, ensures that its interaction with consumers is not a one-time event but rather a continuous, two-way process.”

The study reveals that the majority (61 percent) of Toyota owners visiting an authorised facility for service are contacted after the service event to evaluate whether they had a satisfactory experience-much higher than the industry average of 37 percent.

JD Power says that this enables Toyota dealerships to proactively take corrective action in the event there are any complaints. In addition, says Power, Toyota also leads in “pre-contacts”-reminding customers when it is time for them to bring their vehicles in for service.

“A timely reminder is a personal touch that is well appreciated by customers,” said Ralhan. “It also helps ensure that the vehicle is maintained in optimum operating condition rather than having it brought to the dealership only when something goes wrong.”

Compared to 2001, the industry as a whole records a modest improvement in its ability to provide a satisfactory dealer service experience. Four makes outpace the industry rate of improvement. While Mazda is the most-improved nameplate, AutoAlliance partner Ford also records gains and ranks second overall, following Toyota. Light-truck nameplate Isuzu is the fourth make to improve at a faster rate than the industry.

“We find that, on average, owners of light trucks are relatively more satisfied with the service performance of their dealers than are passenger-car owners,” said Ralhan. “Light-truck owners report higher scores on six of the seven factors and consequently demonstrate a greater inclination to recommend their service dealer.”

The 2002 Thailand Customer Satisfaction Index Study is based on evaluations from 2,248 new-vehicle owners surveyed at 12 to 18 months of vehicle ownership and includes customers who purchased their personal-use passenger cars and light trucks between September 2000 and May 2001. The index is calculated using seven measures that are determined through factor analysis and multiple regression based on customer responses to a comprehensive survey.