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Owners of Kia and Hyundai vehicles were also interviewed but the brand scores are not shown in the chart due to the sample size being too small. Chart provided by JD Power.

The J.D. Power 2017 Malaysia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study reveals that the efforts of service advisors (SAs) to efficiently meet their customers’ needs at service centres has a significant positive effect on customer satisfaction. The latest study is the 15th consecutive one done in Malaysia which measures overall service satisfaction among owners who took their vehicle to an authorized service centre.

The study examines dealership performance in 5 factors (in order of importance): service quality; service initiation; vehicle pick-up; service advisor; and service facility. This year’s study involved 2,705 owners of new vehicles purchased between February 2015 and May 2016 who took their vehicle for service to an authorized service centre between August 2016 and May 2017.

The owners were selected independently and not recommended by any car company and were screened for eligibility to be respondents.

Overall customer service satisfaction—measured on a 1,000-point scale—increased this year to 761 from 751 in 2016. This improvement was apparent across all factors, with service initiation improving the most (+15 points) to 762.

“Customers want to be viewed as individuals with unique needs,” said Muhammad Asyraf Bin Mustafar, Country Head of Malaysia for J.D. Power. “With a demanding and fast-paced modern lifestyle, Malaysian car owners do not have time to waste when sending their cars for service. It is a dealership’s responsibility—with the support of professional service advisors—to ensure exceptional service that meets customers’ expectations. Moreover, every interaction with customers—from scheduling an appointment to after-service calls—has a profound effect on customer satisfaction.”

When customers are provided explanations of work prior to service, satisfaction was found to increase by 49 points, compared with when explanations are not provided (768 vs. 719, respectively). Furthermore, satisfaction among customers whose advisors paid attention to their service details was far higher than among those who did not (764 vs. 676, respectively). The study also found that satisfaction among customers whose advisors were completely focused on their needs was 765, 80 points higher than among those whose advisor was not completely focused on their specific needs.

Encouragingly this year, the percentage of customers who completed the handover process in less than 15 minutes increased to 62% from 58% in 2016. This is a development that notably helps improves the customer experience at the facility and should make them happy to keep coming back.

The study found that satisfaction among customers who received an explanation of work after the completion of service had risen by 52 points, compared with those who did not receive any explanation (763 vs. 711, respectively). In addition, the percentage of instances in which service charges were explained post-service had increased to 91% from 88% last year.

The car companies invest a lot in providing amenities at their service centres, which enhances the customer experience. The percentage of customers who indicated that their service centres are providing at least four or more facilities/amenities (refreshment counters, internet access and air-conditioned lounges, etc), increased to 94% from 90% in 2016. Satisfaction among customers who experienced at least four of these amenities increased by 41 points to 763, compared with 722 among those who did not enjoy the same experience.

Customer satisfaction would certainly affect loyalty and advocacy, determining not only whether or not the customer will return in future but also whether he or she will recommend the service centre to others. Nearly half (46%) of highly satisfied customers said they ‘definitely would’ recommend their service centre to family and friends, while only 10% of highly dissatisfied customers said the same. Additionally, highly satisfied customers are more than twice as likely to say they ‘definitely would’ revisit their service centre for post-warranty service compared to customers who are highly dissatisfied. Generally, vehicle owners will stop going to an authorised service centre when the warranty period ends since it is no longer required in order to maintain the warranty.

The study also found that Malaysian national brands improved as their overall CSI score averaged 756, an increase of 9 points from 2016. This year’s study has Toyota being ranked highest in overall service satisfaction among mass market brands, with a score of 780. Toyota service centres performed particularly well in the SA and service facility factors. Mitsubishi was second with a score of 778 and Mazda was third with 776.

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