Customer satisfaction with authorized dealer after-sales service in the Philippines has declined, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2007 Philippines Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study released today.

Now in its seventh year, the study measures new-vehicle owner satisfaction with the after-sales service process by examining dealership performance in 33 attributes, which are grouped into seven key factors. In order of importance, they are: problems experienced, service quality, user-friendly service, service delivery, service advisor, service initiation and in-service experience.

The study finds that the overall industry average has declined to 814 points on a 1,000-point scale in 2007-down 16 points from 2006.

Ford ranks highest in the study with a score of 828, receiving particularly high ratings from customers in five of the seven drivers of overall satisfaction: in-service experience, service advisor, service quality, service delivery and service initiation. Mazda (823) and Honda (817) follow Ford in the ranking.

The study finds that service standards-dealer practices implemented to enhance the service experience for customers-are critical in impacting overall satisfaction. Customers report higher satisfaction levels when dealers implemented at least 18 of the 24 service standards evaluated in the study, and satisfaction drops considerably among customers who experienced fewer than 18 service standards. In particular, Ford records the highest average number of service standards implemented (18.9), followed by Mazda (18.3).

"The change in customer attitudes toward the use of service standards is a reflection of the shift in both their expectations and in the market," said Anna Amador, country manager for the Philippines in J.D. Power Asia Pacific. "As the market changes, customers are more demanding and not as easy to please, as they are coming to expect a certain level of service. Without fully understanding the ever-changing expectations of customers, it will be increasingly challenging for all auto manufacturers to delight their customers."

The study also finds that customers are more satisfied when they are directly welcomed to the service facility by the dealer service advisor as opposed to waiting at the time of service initiation. Satisfaction scores with regard to service initiation are nearly 30 index points higher when the service advisor is present to greet customers. In contrast, satisfaction scores drop 54 points when customers are greeted by someone else first and have to wait for the service advisor. At least one in five customers who walk into the dealer for their service is made to wait for the service advisor after being welcomed by another dealership employee.

The 2007 Philippines CSI Study is based on evaluations from more than 1,400 owners who purchased their personal-use vehicles between September 2005 and June 2006 and took their vehicle for service at the authorized dealer or service center between September 2006 and June 2007. The study is an independent measure of customer satisfaction with after-sales service process conducted annually by J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Inc.