Inaugural J.D. Power Study Ranks U.S. Aftermarket Service Providers

Les Schwab Tire Centers and Christian Brothers Automotive tied for the top spot in the inaugural J.D. Power U.S. Aftermarket Service Index (ASI) Study, which gauges respondents’ satisfaction for general maintenance in the U.S. automotive aftermarket. The pair scored 823 on a 1,000-point scale. Grease Monkey (782) ranked third, followed by Goodyear Tire & Auto Service (780) and Valvoline Instant Oil Change (754).

Click here to see a more detailed ranking of the general maintenance providers.

The ASI Study measures customer satisfaction with aftermarket service facilities, providing a numerical index ranking of the highest-performing U.S. aftermarket service facilities, split into two segments: general maintenance and tire replacement. The rankings are based on the combined scores of six different measures (in order of importance).

For general maintenance, the measures are …
• Fairness of charges (19%)
• Service quality (18%)
• Service advisor (18%)
• Service facility (16%)
• Service initiation (15%)
• Vehicle pick-up (14%)

For tire replacement, the measures are …
• Service initiation (20%)
• Fairness of charges (18%)
• Service quality (18%)
• Service advisor (16%)
• Vehicle pick-up (15%)
• Service facility (13%)

Les Schwab Tire Centers ranked highest in satisfaction for tire replacement with a score of 824. Discount Tire ranked second (793), followed by Costco Wholesale (780), Goodyear Tire & Auto Service (771) and Sam’s Club (763). Click here to see a more detailed ranking of the tire replacement providers.

“Aftermarket service providers need to ensure a great experience, so customers will want to return for future service and might even recommend the facility to family members and friends,” explained Chris Sutton, vice president of the U.S. automotive retail practice at J.D. Power. “A lot of times, simple things like following up with a customer after a service experience can make the difference between a good and great experience.”

Vehicle walkarounds were the second-most influential key performance indicator (KPI) for general maintenance and tire replacement. However, this only occurred 72% of the time for general maintenance and 75% for tire replacement. When a vehicle walkaround was performed, satisfaction scores improved 49 points for general maintenance and 47 points for tire replacement.

Follow-up calls were only made 33% of the time for general maintenance and 38% for tire replacement, but such calls could account for satisfaction scores that were 28 points higher for general maintenance service and 21 points higher for tire replacement service, according to the firm’s research.

Completing the work the first time was the most important activity for increased customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power, and it was completed a vast majority of the time in both segments (93% for general maintenance and 94% for tire replacement). In the general maintenance segment, satisfaction scores increased 247 points — roughly five times greater than performing a vehicle walkaround — when work was completed right the first time. Satisfaction scores in the tire maintenance segment were 231 points higher when work was completed right the first time.

Battery replacement (754) and tire maintenance (758) had the highest satisfaction for general maintenance, while tire alignment (772) had the highest satisfaction in the tire replacement segment.

Among all age groups, the most common reason customers selected their service provider was prior experience, according to J.D. Power. 56% of Boomers chose service providers based on prior experience with the facility, compared with 34% of Generation Z service customers. Generation Z customers were most likely to choose a service facility based on recommendations from others.

The study also found that, among customers who had aftermarket service, 33% of owners within the first year of ownership also had service at a new vehicle dealership in the past year. This percentage steadily declined as vehicles age, down to 21% for owners of five-year-old vehicles and 16% for nine-year old vehicles. Only 8% of aftermarket service customers who own vehicles 10 years or older have visited a dealer in the past year.

The study is based on responses from 12,554 vehicle owners and was fielded August to September 2019. For more information, click here.