Following up from its recent announcement of the Customer Service Index (CSI) studies for Indonesia and Thailand, research house J.D. Power Asia Pacific has announced their findings for its Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) studies for Thailand and Taiwan yesterday.
Now in its 12th and 13th year respectively, the SSI study ranks the performance of the dealership networks based on seven criteria – deal, dealer facility, delivery process, delivery timing, paperwork, sales initiation, and salesperson. The importance of those seven criteria differ between the two markets, but delivery process and salesperson are top priorities of both.
Evaluated based on a 1,000 point scale, both the Thai market and Taiwanese market reported increased overall customer satisfaction despite also facing higher showroom traffic and vehicle sales. The Thai market recorded an all-time high industry volume of about 800,000 vehicles sold, but its sales satisfaction average improved by nine points to 893 in 2011. Similarly, satisfaction in the Taiwanese market also went up, by five points from 883 to 888 this year.
In Thailand, customer satisfaction has improved in six factors, with delivery process being the only exception. An increasing number of customers reported vehicles being delivered in either imperfect condition or with a few paid for features missing. The study also notes the increasing importance of Internet usage on the part of car buyers in performing their marketing research, although word-of-mouth and salespeople continue to be useful sources of information.
For the first time since the study’s inception in 2000, Honda finds itself top of the table, with a score of 899, particularly excelling in the areas of sales initiation, deal, and delivery process. Isuzu and Mazda are tied in second place with 897 points, followed by Toyota at 894. Results of the Thai SSI study, fielded from February to March 2011, is based on responses from 3,029 new vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between August 2010 and March 2011.
Meanwhile, over in Taiwan, Lexus continues to be the torch bearer being the clear leader amongst 14 brands studied. Excelling at all seven factors, Lexus scored 937 in the 1,000 point index, ahead of Mercedes-Benz at 910 and Toyota at 895. Mitsubishi was the most improved brand, with a 27 point jump, although at 883 points, they are still rated as below industry average.
Delivery times play a big role in influencing those scores. Owners that receive their vehicles within 13 days of purchase record average satisfaction scores of 921. That figure plummets to 807 for those who had to wait for an average of 28 days. For brands with long-waiting periods, the situation can be remedied with advance and accurate notification of delivery timing.
“Dealerships that can better manage customer expectations through advance communication, as well as ensure the initial promised delivery time is met, may benefit from increased customer satisfaction,” said Rajeev Nair, senior manager of J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore.
On the subject of time, the length of time needed to complete transaction paperwork also affects satisfaction levels. Customers who manage to complete their paperwork within the period of one day give 18 points higher in overall satisfaction than those who don’t. Having said that, for owners who arrange their own financing rather than through the dealer, only 14% were able to complete their paperwork within the same day.
The 2011 Taiwan SSI Study is based on responses from 2,324 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between July 2010 and February 2011. The study was fielded from February to May 2011. The 2011 Taiwan Customer Service Index Study (CSI), which measures new-vehicle owner satisfaction with after-sales dealership service, will be published in late August 2011.
Charts: Official J.D. Power release.