Audi buy­ers hap­pi­est

Na­tional sur­vey keeps Volk­swa­gen Group in the lead with buy­ers’ sales and ser­vice ex­pe­ri­ences

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

PA­TRICK BUSSCHAU

Ip­sos Au­to­mo­tive Busi­ness Unit direc­tor De­liv­er­ing a mean­ing­ful ex­pe­ri­ence to a cus­tomer is what set brands apart.

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