August 6, 2004

Firestone Service Centres rank highest in customer satisfaction survey

Toronto, Ontario – Firestone Service Centres recaptured the top ranking for overall service experience satisfaction, having last held the position in 2000, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Canadian Customer Commitment Study released on Wednesday.

Firestone performed particularly well in the areas of the appointment/check-in process, service advisor, work quality and customer orientation, said the survey.

The study, which measures the service satisfaction and loyalty of owners of 2- to 12-year-old vehicles, found that auto dealerships now account for almost one-half (48%) of the service occasions on 4- to 7-year-old vehicles-up from 41 percent in 1999. This gain has come at the expense of mass merchants (e.g., Canadian Tire, Sears, Costco and Wal-Mart) and auto specialists (e.g., Midas, Speedy, Mr. Muffler), which each lost a 1 percent share of service occasions in this segment since 2003.

“With new-vehicle sales slowing down over the past two years, attention has shifted to the fixed operations at dealerships in an attempt to retain more service revenue,” said Rohan Lobo, manager of research projects at the J.D. Power and Associates office in Toronto. “However, dealerships still have work to do to keep from losing customers to aftermarket service providers, particularly as vehicles from the peak sales period are now coming off their basic warranties. While customers consistently rate dealerships highly for having well-trained technicians, dealerships lag the aftermarket in the ‘human’ aspects of customer handling, which is the key to retention.”

While customer satisfaction has improved slightly for the industry as a whole, satisfaction with quick-lube providers has fallen 6 index points over 2003, with ratings declines particularly in the areas of work quality and after service.

The 2004 Canadian Customer Commitment Study is based on responses from 17,700 owners of 2- to 12-year-old vehicles who were surveyed in December 2003 and April 2004.


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