Audi buyers happiest
National survey keeps Volkswagen Group in the lead with buyers’ sales and service experiences
THE Volkswagen Group once again fared very well in the recently announced 2015 Ipsos competitive customer experience (CCE) for people buying or servicing a vehicle in South Africa.
Audi took gold in the passenger car sales survey as well the servicing experience, with Volkswagen taking gold for sales and silver for servicing.
Among the bakkies, Volkswagen and Isuzu took gold for sales and these two brands, together with Nissan and Toyota took gold for servicing of their bakkies.
Last year Audi took gold for both sales and service in the passenger car category, while Volkswagen took gold for sales and silver for service in the PC category. (Volkswagen earned gold for both sales and service in the 2013 LCV survey).
BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan, Opel and Toyota all took silver for the passenger car sales experience this time around, with Ford, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Volvo collecting bronze.
Chevrolet, Lexus and Nissan joined Volkswagen in the silver category for passenger car servicing, with BMW, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota all in the bronze category.
Four brands qualified for silver in the LCV purchasing experience. They were Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan and Toyota.
Isuzu, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen each received gold, while Ford and Chevrolet collected silver. Mazda was excluded from the rankings from January to December 2014 due to the ongoing setup of the revised dealer network following Mazda separating from Ford.
“The local vehicle manufacturers and importers can be very proud of the latest Ipsos study results as a tribute to dedication to quality at all levels and extensive quality improvement programmes and intensive staff training,” added Patrick Busschau, director of the Ipsos Automotive Business Unit.
He said demographics play a significant role in customer satisfaction in terms of the purchasing and servicing experience of vehicle owners in South Africa. This is clear in the detailed breakdown of the latest Ipsos Competitive Customer Experience which is the result of telephonic interviews with more than 25 000 owners of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles over a 12-month period.
The sample does not include all the brands on the market, but covers 85% of the new vehicles sold through the retail dealer channel.
Women, for instance, are slightly easier to please in terms of both buying and servicing a car. The difference is only about half a percent, but it is measurable. People over 35 years of age generally give higher ratings than the younger groups, with the 25-34 year group being the most demanding in terms of the buying experience and the 18-24 group giving the lowest ratings when it comes to servicing. The province where the sale or servicing took place also impacted the results. People buying a car in the Free State are the most satisfied, but this is not the case with buyers of LCVs, where Mpumalanga gets the highest rating. Servicing is totally different, with those car owners in the Northern Cape the most satisfied and LCV owners in the Western Cape giving the highest rating.
Busschau said South African consumers could be a bit more indifferent and forgiving than their counterparts in the U.S. and Europe, but South Africans were quick to vote.
“When it comes to engaging with a retailer, especially about problems or complaints, there is often a sense of indifference or even helplessness, be this real or imagined. As a result, too often we see customers stating that they are satisfied and committed, but when it comes to market behaviour the customer may decide to purchase from another brand as this is often easier than risking the stress and frustration of trying to resolve issues. This tendency to defect, coupled with a growing market and a very wide repertoire of choices, means we are seeing a drop in attitudinal brand commitment in many sectors, including automotive. Brands and retailers are increasingly being expected to involve themselves with the customer through individualised customer engagement. For many retail businesses this is a huge challenge, but this would be the differentiator: understanding how to engage more effectively and proactively with customers in an appropriate way that drives memorable and positive experiences”
Busschau said customers are increasingly expecting retailers to understand their individual needs, which retailers could do by asking the right questions, before acting appropriately to meet those needs. “Being able to deliver a unique and meaningful experience to a customer is what set brands apart,” said Busschau.
Ipsos Automotive Business Unit director Delivering a meaningful experience to a customer is what set brands apart.