ASCI Report Shows Downturn in Overall Scores
The American Customer Satisfaction Index Report (ASCI Report) is an independent national benchmark of customer satisfaction with the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. Each year, an ASCI Report is published, focusing on automobiles and light trucks. Scores are based on customer evaluations of recently purchased automobiles from the largest automakers in terms of market share, plus an aggregate of smaller nameplates.
ASCI Report: A Closer Look
What’s most eye-opening from this year’s ASCI Report is this: for the third consecutive year, the scores dropped. This time around, customer satisfaction fell 3.7 percent for an average score of 79 on a 100-point scale. A total of 27 nameplates were tracked; 15 saw a decline, while 10 others were either unchanged or their comparisons were not applicable.
This year’s ASCI Report results are the worst since 2004, when a then-record number of recalls caused the scores to plummet. This time around, the reasoning behind the lower scores is no different. Last year, the amount of recalls more than doubled compared to 2004 – a total of more than 64 million in all.
There were only two nameplates whose scores actually went up. Acura jumped up eight percentage points to 83 (tied for the second-highest overall score this year), while BMW improved by three percent to 82. This year’s chart-topper was Lexus, with a score of 84. Last year’s winner, Mercedes-Benz, matched Acura’s score of 83.
On the other, not-so-glamorous end of the spectrum, Fiat Chrysler brands took up four of the five bottom slots. Not coincidentally, Fiat Chrysler recalled more cars than any other automaker through the end of July.
Breaking it down a little more, foreign-made automobiles make up 77% of above-average scores in the ASCI Report … and specifically, Japanese and Korean makes outperformed their American and European counterparts.
Something to “Recall”
How should you react to recalls? With kindness and concern toward the customer, of course! If your dealership sells any of the recalled products, you are probably hearing the same questions over and over from your customers. Be patient with them, even during the times you wish you could be anywhere else. The way you care for these customers today can ensure they remain your customers tomorrow, and well into the future. Don’t view vehicle recalls as an issue (even though this is absolutely the case); instead, realize they present you with an opportunity to prove yourself to your customer all over again. Most consumers realize the recalls aren’t the fault of the dealership – but the way their situation gets handled is entirely up to you!
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