Toyota ranks highest in customer satisfaction with authorized dealer after-sales service in the Philippines, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2008 Philippines Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study released today.

Now in its eighth year, the study measures new-vehicle owner satisfaction with the after-sales service process by examining dealership performance in seven factors. In order of importance, they are: problems experienced; service quality; user-friendly service; service delivery; service advisor; service initiation; and in-service experience. CSI performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale. Overall customer satisfaction shows improvement with a score of 837 this year-an increase of 23 points since 2007.

Among the 10 brands included in the study, Toyota ranks highest, achieving an overall score of 843. Toyota performs particularly well in the areas of service advisor and service quality. Ford follows Toyota in the rankings with a score of 841. Also ranking above the industry average are Nissan and Mitsubishi, respectively.

The study finds that customers whose dealers provided explanations of the work performed on their vehicle had higher satisfaction levels, compared with customers who did not receive explanations. On average, satisfaction was 4 points higher than the industry average when customers received explanations. In contrast, when dealers did not provide explanations, satisfaction averaged 49 points lower than the industry average. In 2008, 8 percent of customers report that their dealer did not offer an explanation of the work performed on their vehicle.

"Customers are concerned about what work is being performed on their vehicle, and want to be kept informed, even for routine maintenance," said Taku Kimoto, general manager for the Philippines at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore. "By making an effort to explain the actual work done, the dealer demonstrates thoroughness in the work completed. This helps to reinforce customer confidence and trust in the dealership, which translates into higher customer satisfaction."

In addition, customers who are highly satisfied with the overall service performance of the dealer have higher levels of advocacy and loyalty to both the vehicle brand and dealer. Approximately 85 percent of customers who report that they are highly satisfied with their dealer's service performance say they "definitely will" repurchase the same make, compared with the industry average of 55 percent. Similarly, 81 percent of highly satisfied customers say they "definitely will" revisit their service dealer for post-warranty service, compared with the industry average (58%).

"Customer dealership service experiences play an important role in building a lasting relationship for both service and sales," said Kimoto. "While the improvement in overall satisfaction demonstrated in 2008 is very encouraging, the challenge for dealerships lies in continuing this upward momentum against rising customer expectations."

The 2008 Philippines Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study is based on the responses of more than 1,400 new-vehicle owners who purchased their personal-use vehicles between September 2006 and June 2007 and took their vehicle for service to an authorized dealer or service center between September 2007 and June 2008.