J.D. Power and Associates CSI Study

When it comes time to maintain or repair your vehicle, there are three options available: fix it yourself, take it to an independent or a non-dealer facility, or take it back to the dealership. Given the highly technical nature of modern Land Rovers, the dealership is often the venue of choice for late-model Land Rover owners. If you fall into that camp, you’ll be happy to hear that dealerships enjoy higher customer satisfaction ratings than independents. Additionally, luxury brand retailers are ranked higher than mass market brands.

All of this and more was revealed by J.D. Power and Associates’ recently released 2012 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. In that study, 84,000 owners and lessees of 2007 to 2011 model year vehicles were surveyed on their service experience. The responses were indexed on a 1,000-point scale with the luxury brands leading the pack. Coming in at number one was Lexus with an index of 861. Jaguar came in third with an index of 849 and Land Rover came in with an index of 796. Incidentally, Land Rover’s score was at the bottom of the luxury brand segment but still above most mass market brands, which is interesting given that Jaguar landed near the pinnacle of the index.

Dealerships enjoyed an average index of 787 compared to 749 for non-dealer service centers.

Filtering down to the bottom of the study was Jeep, fourth to last with an index of 741, followed by Smart (740), Suzuki (740), and Dodge (739). Ranking higher than Land Rover in the mass market category was MINI (809), Buick (805), GMC (803), Chevrolet (801), and Hyundai (791). It’s worth noting the luxury and mass market CSI indexes correlate strongly with J.D. Power.com’s Power Circle Ratings that offer an overall glimpse into vehicle reliability on a two (The Rest) to five (Among the Best) point scale. For example, Lexus, MINI, Buick, and GMC are all ranked as “five circle” brands and all top their respective CSI categories. 

Dealers vs. Independent

As far as the dealer vs. independent index, dealerships enjoyed an average index of 787 compared to 749 for non-dealer service centers. The one exception to the rule might be independent brand-specific repair facilities. It would be interesting to see a study that compares dealerships against independent specialists, especially in regions where independent Land Rover specialists are common. 

Customer Service Index Ranking

(Based on a 1,000-point Scale)  
Luxury Brands  
Lexus 861
Cadillac 852
Jaguar  849
Acura  838
Porsche  836
Luxury Brand Average  835
Audi  828
Mercedes-Benz  827
Infiniti  824
BMW  823
Lincoln  817
Volvo  811
Land Rover  796
NOTE: SAAB is included in the study,
but not ranked due to small sample size.
Mass Market Brands  
MINI  809
Buick  805
GMC  803
Chevrolet  801
Hyundai  791
Ford  786
Volkswagen  785
Kia  782
Honda  778
Mass Market Brand Average  778
Nissan  774
Mazda  767
Toyota  766
Chrysler  760
Subaru  760
Mitsubishi  759
Ram  754
Scion  752
Jeep  741
Smart  740
Suzuki  740
Dodge  739


Improving the Dealer Service Experience

J.D. Power and Associates predicts that dealer service volume will decrease through 2013 due to recent economic factors and rebound afterwards. The research firm also noted three specific things dealerships can do to improve customer services. These included the promotion of online service appointment scheduling, reviewing the service technician’s inspection report with the customer, and implementing complimentary maintenance programs.

Land Rover Service Clinic

We found the last point particularly interesting, considering we just received a letter from our local Land Rover retailer announcing a Land Rover Service Clinic. The free service clinic offers a complete vehicle inspection, car wash, fluid top-off, vehicle feature demonstrations, child safety seat installation demonstration, refreshments, and even a test drive of the all-new Range Rover Evoque. While this certainly isn’t the same as complimentary maintenance, it is a nice outreach to Land Rover owners in the local area. 

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