Recalls fail to shake loyalties
DESPITE several Toyota vehicle safety recalls this year, Australia’s top-selling car company has rated third in a consumer recommendation survey behind Subaru and Honda.
The online survey, released by Brisbane consulting firm Engaged Marketing, showed the three Japanese companies ‘‘significantly outperformed’’ Australian companies Ford and General Motors Holden, Engaged Marketing director Chris Roberts said.
‘‘I suspected the Toyota recalls would have had an effect, but they actually ranked well,’’ he said.
‘‘Price is not as strong a recommendation as how the product performs. People want quality more than price.’’
The company’s first customer research to involve car companies listed Subaru at the top with 35 per cent of its customers likely to recommend the vehicle to friends and colleagues.
Roberts said the research also demonstrated the impact negative customer comments could have on an organisation.
‘‘Our research shows that for every one negative comment made about a particular car, it takes around five positive referrals to negate that damage,’’ Roberts said.
There has never been a more critical time to go back to basics and focus on the customer
Of Australia’s 12 million registered passenger vehicles there may be as many as 17 million negative comments being made by customers about their car company every year.
Three companies achieved negative scores.
‘‘It seems certain that some car companies in particular have huge potential to grow simply by focusing on improving their customer experiences and value propositions,’’ Roberts said.
‘‘In the highly competitive car sales industry, achieving a positive customer experience, first time, is more important than ever.
‘‘There has never been a more critical time to go back to basics and focus on the customer.’’
The survey asked 1720 vehicle owners to rate their experience and rank makers ac- cording to whether they would recommend them.
It showed recommendations from friends or family — particularly on social media networks such as Facebook— were the biggest influence on purchase decisions for 45 per cent of consumers.
‘‘The continued strong utilisation of social media injects an additional element of urgency because everyone knows word of mouth is the most effective marketing channel available to customers,’’ Roberts said.
The survey included other non-automotive companies and only listed car companies mentioned by customers.
Some of the comprehensive report’s findings are confidential and available only to companies that buy the information.
Loyalty leaders 1 Subaru 35 per cent* 2 Honda 19 per cent 3 Toyota 13 per cent 4 Mazda 12 per cent 5 Hyundai 3 per cent 6 Nissan 1 per cent 7 Holden -3 per cent 8 Ford -13 per cent 9 Mitsubishi -18 per cent
(Source: Engaged Marketing) * Percentages of customers who would recommend the brand