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Lexus, Buick have best service experience, JD Power says

Its annual US Customer Service Index Study looks at both dealership service departments as well as non-dealership entities.


Nobody likes spending time in dealership service departments, but some folks will at least have a slightly better time, according to JD Power.

JD Power's annual Customer Service Index (CSI) study looks at customer opinions of both dealership and independent service facilities, polling some 70,000 owners and lessees of vehicles between 1 and 5 years old. Overall, customer service satisfaction is up 14 points this year, on a 1,000-point scale.

Buick took home top honors for service satisfaction across mass-market brands, followed by Mini, GMC, Chevrolet and Nissan. On the luxury side, Lexus reigned supreme, beating out Audi, Lincoln, Porsche and Cadillac, respectively.

"That's a Buick?!"

"Yes, Johnny, we're at the Buick dealership. Stop acting intentionally dim."


Dealerships outgunned independent service facilities in 15 of 16 total categories, losing to indie shops only with regards to time required to complete a given service. Some of the dealership's benefits include better amenities and a cleaner facility.

Technology factors into satisfaction more than ever, too. Not only did JD Power note an increase in tablets and online scheduling at service departments, it found that dealer loyalty rises when owners are contacted by text message instead of by phone call. However, only 3 percent of customers said they received texts, so JD Power suggests dealerships get on that bandwagon, and fast.

In news that's a bit more obvious, JD Power noted that satisfaction dropped markedly if a dealership was unable to fix an issue after one visit. Thankfully, 94 percent of those polled said the dealer was able to remedy the issue correctly the first time. That figure drops to 80 percent when it involves radio reception, though.

The study is primarily used for internal purposes at automakers and dealerships, so regular ol' folks like you and I are not able to read the study in its entirety. That said, based on the year-over-year improvements discussed, it seems like dealerships are taking these results seriously.