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Study reveals drop in customer satisfaction for independents

Recent numbers from research firm Ducker Carlisle showed growing dissatisfaction with franchised dealership service departments.

This week, JD Power released its 2023 US Aftermarket Service Index Study that showed an overall decline in satisfaction with independent repair facilities as well. The data firm revealed independent shops dropped in all three categories that make up the study — quick oil change, full-service maintenance and repair and tire replacement.

Shops were scored on seven measures within each of the three segments. These include ease of scheduling, fairness of charges, service adviser courtesy and quality of work. This is the fourth year of the JD Power study.

“Independent service providers must remain focused on retaining their customer base,” Leonard Martin, director of automotive retail at JD Power, said in a statement. “Aftermarket service facilities can increase customer loyalty and revenue by taking advantage of what they do best — making it 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.”

A couple of simple ways to improve customer satisfaction, the study found, are providing complimentary snacks and charging space for mobile phones. For example, the study found service facility satisfaction was 825 when complimentary snacks and beverages were offered. That score dropped 91 points when snacks weren’t available. Likewise, facility satisfaction was 81 points higher when shops had a mobile phone charging station.

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