Honda and Mitsubishi rank highest in a tie in customer satisfaction with authorized dealer after-sales service, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2009 Philippines Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM released today.

The study, now in its ninth year and redesigned for 2009, measures customer satisfaction with authorized dealer after-sales service in the Philippines by examining five key factors: service quality; vehicle pickup; service initiation; service advisor; and service facility. Customer service performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale.

Among the 11 manufacturers included in the study, Honda and Mitsubishi rank highest in a tie, each receiving a score of 814. Honda performs particularly well in the vehicle pickup, service initiation, service advisor and service facility factors. Mitsubishi performs particularly well in service quality, which has the greatest impact on overall customer service satisfaction. Nissan ranks third with a score of 810, followed by Kia, Mazda and Toyota, respectively. The six vehicle makes round out the manufacturers performing above the industry average.

The study finds that consistent implementation of standard operating procedures have a direct impact on overall satisfaction. The study identifies 22 dealer practices that enhance the service experience for customers. These procedures can range from the comfort level of the service facility, convenience of operating hours and after-sales service, to the sales advisor's overall competency in dealing with customers.

The study also reveals that customer satisfaction levels are high when dealers perform at least 19 of the 22 service standard procedures. Satisfaction scores fall below average for manufacturers whose dealerships failed to meet 19 standards.

In addition, satisfaction is lowest among customers whose dealer performed 14 or fewer standards. These customers have an average index score of 677, which is 125 points below the industry average. Conversely, among customers receiving at least 21 standards, the average score is 832-30 points above the industry average. In 2009, only 30 percent of customers report that their dealer performed at least 21 standards during their past service visit.

"The low percentage of customers receiving at least 21 standards is clear evidence that dealers have much room for improvement," said Taku Kimoto, general manager for the Philippines at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore. "Maintaining a high rate of implementation for these standards is the key to delighting customers."

Additionally, the standard operating procedures that have the most considerable differences in performance by manufacturer are related to communication. These include contacting customers after service is performed; informing customers when the vehicle is ready for pickup; and notifying customers about routine maintenance needs. Among the lowest-ranking manufacturers, these three procedures all have low implementation rates.

"The customer service experience is not limited to customer visits for routine maintenance," said Kimoto. "Proactively staying in touch with customers is a great opportunity for dealers to make a lasting impression and to sustain customer loyalty."

The study also finds that customers who are highly satisfied (satisfaction scores average 872 or higher) have the highest levels of advocacy and loyalty to both the vehicle brand and dealer. Nearly 70 percent of customers who report that they are highly satisfied with their dealer's service performance say they "definitely will" revisit the dealer for post-warranty service, compared with the industry average of 51 percent. Additionally, 60 percent of highly satisfied customers say they "definitely will" purchase their next vehicle from the service dealer, compared with the industry average of only 44 percent.

The 2009 Philippines Customer Service Index (CSI) Study measures the overall satisfaction of vehicle owners who visited an authorized dealer/service center for maintenance and repair work during the first 12 to 24 months of ownership. The study is based on responses from 1,604 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between January 2007 and March 2008 and took their vehicle for service to an authorized dealer or service center between July 2008 and March 2009. The study was fielded between January 2009 and March 2009.