Customers more satisfied with automotive dealer service than independent shops

In the latest J.D. Power and Associates Customer Service Index, customers revealed their overall customer satisfaction and loyalty with car dealers.

In the latest J.D. Power and Associates Customer Service Index, customers revealed their overall customer satisfaction and loyalty with car dealers.

According to the survey of 84,000 vehicle owners, dealerships received a better score - 787 out of 1,000 - than independent companies  - 749 - for automobile service. In addition, more customers are getting all of the services for their warranty-covered vehicle from dealers, up to 79 percent from 74 percent last year.

The higher customer service ratings could be the combined result of better quality products that are leaving clients more satisfied with their visits. The study found that an increasing number of visits to dealers are for maintenance rather then repairs, up 72 percent in 2012 from 63 percent in 2011. Maintenance visits are often less confusing and expensive, leaving customers feeling more satisfied with their experience, reports the marketing information services firm.

"Moreover, manufacturers and their dealers have instituted broad-based customer service improvement initiatives to increase satisfaction with both the purchase experience and after-sales service," said senior director at J.D. Power and Associates Chris Sutton.