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Record-high wait times at dealers are key aftermarket repair opportunity

Customer satisfaction rebounds; aftermarket providers easier on convenience, service advisor performance and price help drive transparency, trust

Troy, Mich.—After experiencing year-over-year slumps last year, overall satisfaction rebounds across the three segments examined in the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Aftermarket Service Index (ASI) Study, released Tuesday.

Full-service maintenance and repair sees the greatest improvement (+12 points on a 1,000-point scale), followed by tire replacement (+5) and quick oil change (+4). Boosts in all three segments are largely driven by improved service advisor performance and courtesy, along with enhancements in service facilities and time to complete service.

Amid record-high appointment wait times at franchised dealerships, customers are finding it easier to do business with aftermarket service providers due to no-appointment drive-in service or a small number of days wait for an appointment.

“This is a key opportunity for aftermarket providers to not only compete with franchised dealers on price, but also to add customer value with a quicker and easier service experience,” said Leonard Martin, director of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “Aftermarket service providers should continue to focus on service advisor performance, courtesy and creating a welcoming environment for customers who wait at the facility. In addition, technology utilization can inspire transparency, trust and strong advocacy for the service provider.”

The study, now in its fifth year, measures customer satisfaction with aftermarket service facilities, providing a numerical index ranking of the highest-performing facilities in the U.S. aftermarket. Performance in three segments — full-service maintenance and repair, quick oil change, and tire replacement — is based on the combined scores for seven factors that comprise the vehicle owner service experience. These factors are (in alphabetical order): ease of scheduling/getting vehicle in for service; fairness of charges; service advisor courtesy; service advisor performance; service facility; time to complete service; and quality of work.

Following are key findings of the 2024 study:

  • Younger customers are harder to please: Gen Z customers have lower satisfaction than do Gen Y customers with tire replacement (-15 points) and full-service maintenance and repair providers (-6). Service advisors are the key to turning this around. “Younger customers are less likely to have a service provider with whom they are familiar, and they may need more guidance from advisors in order to build a trusting relationship,” Martin said. “This is an opportunity for aftermarket providers to create new long-time loyal customers when they have been provided with satisfying experiences.”
  • Photo/video documentation for recommended repairs: Multi-point inspections (MPI) are routine, but fewer than one-fourth (23%) of customers receive any kind of accompanying photo or video documentation. While doing so is more time-consuming for service staff, providing photo/video evidence of recommended repairs has a significant payoff, especially for tire replacement providers. Of the customers who receive an MPI with photo/video, 51% have the recommended work done. Without photo/video, only 24% of customers who receive an MPI have the work done.
  • Franchised dealerships more trustworthy in some areas: Dealerships have a higher level of customer trust than do aftermarket service facilities. For example, ratings by dealership customers for the use of technology to make service more efficient average 6.09 (on a 7-point scale), compared with ratings by tire replacement customers, which average 5.90. Ratings by dealership customers for the ability to perform complex repairs on the vehicle average 6.12, while the average by customers of full-service maintenance and repair providers is 5.83. Across each segment in the study, aftermarket service customers continue to find their provider easier to do business with (average of 6.26), while franchise dealer customers rate their service provider an average of 6.09.

Christian Brothers Automotive Corp. ranks highest in satisfaction for full-service maintenance and repair for a fifth consecutive year, with a score of 825. Meineke Car Care Centers (810)and Midas (810) each rank second in a tie.

Express Oil Change and Tire Engineers ranks highest in satisfaction for quick oil change for a second consecutive year, with a score of 841. Take 5 (818) ranks second and Valvoline Instant Oil Change (815) ranks third.

Jiffy Lube ranks highest in satisfaction for tire replacement for the first time with a score of 842. Meineke Car Care Centers (834) ranks second and Midas(829) ranks third.

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