Westlake Village, California – Overall customer satisfaction with dealer service improved considerably in 2008, with more than two-thirds of the 37 ranked brands demonstrating gains, according to the 2008 Customer Service Index (CSI) study released by J.D. Power and Associates.

The study, now in its 28th year, measures satisfaction among vehicle owners who visit the dealer service department for maintenance or repair work during the first three years of ownership.

After remaining relatively flat since 2005, overall satisfaction has increased to 882 on a 1,000-point scale in 2008, an improvement of six points over 2007. Customers who visit the dealer for routine maintenance tend to be more satisfied on average than those who visit for repairs, but the proportion of customers bringing their cars in for repairs has declined to a historic low in 2008.

For the second consecutive year, Jaguar has ranked highest in satisfaction with dealer service, achieving an overall CSI score of 923, followed by Cadillac at 922 and Buick at 919.

The study found that communicating with customers after service work has been completed has a notably strong effect on satisfaction, particularly through increasing customer perceptions of fairness of charges and the value of service received.

The study also found that while five per cent of customers say they would prefer to schedule their service visit via the Internet, only one per cent actually do, while 74 per cent call for an appointment and 25 per cent drop in; satisfaction scores averaged 48 points higher when vehicles were returned to the customer cleaner than when received by the dealer; and satisfaction was higher when customers spoke to a service advisor immediately upon arriving at the dealership, as opposed to waiting five minutes to speak with an advisor.