Bryanston - Ipsos has announced the 2012 Ipsos Quality Awards for Sales and Service experience in the automotive industry.
The Ipsos Quality Awards were previously known as the Synovate Quality Awards and have been awarded to the industry for the past eight years. They are the benchmark in customer experience in the automotive industry.
Top performing passenger car brands this year include Chevrolet, Audi and Volkswagen, while in the light commercial segment, Chevrolet, Isuzu and Toyota have delivered strong performances.
Recognition is given to the outstanding achievers in the following four categories:
* Passenger Vehicle (PC) Purchasing Experience
* PC Servicing Experience
* Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) Purchasing Experience
* LCV Servicing Experience
“There is much to be said of the effort that manufacturers and dealerships have put in over the last year to improve their customers' experience,” states Richard Rice, Head of Loyalty research at Ipsos South Africa.
“There have been significant advances in technology, facilities, systems and financing processes. All of these factors play a big role in the overall customer experience, as well as the product itself, of course. However, given the complexity of the human interaction during the sales and service transactions, the brands that have focused on the more 'personal' elements are the ones that have done particularly well.”
For the second year in a row, Audi takes top spot in the PC Purchasing Experience. The top three in the category are very close in terms of score, and the category yields a high average of 93.5% (last year this stood at 90%), which shows a great improvement. This is evident even at the bottom of the ranking – the 'lowest' score falls just short of 90%. Audi leads at 96%, followed by VW (95%) and Chevrolet (94.8%).
“The top performers in this category include a nice mix of brands – both mass and luxury vehicles are represented,” states Rice. “This reflects very nicely on the automotive industry because it shows unconditional treatment regardless of the 'type' of consumer.”
The category of PC Servicing Experience was topped by Chevrolet (88%), Lexus (87.9%), VW (87.6%), Opel (87.5%), Audi (87.2%), Mitsubishi (86.5%) and Mercedes-Benz (85.9%) – again with very close scores. Impressively, Lexus has maintained Gold in this category for three years.
“With a category average of 84.8%, there is a huge opportunity for new ground to be broken and a chance for manufacturers to differentiate themselves in the market based on the quality of their service,” comments Rice.
The category of LCV Purchasing Experience yields five Gold Awards and a very high category average of 91.7%, up from 88.0% last year. Top performers include Isuzu (92.9%), Toyota (92.8%), Chevrolet (92%), Ford (91.8%) and Mazda (91.4%).
Ipsos announces Quality Award winners 2012
“This category still has some catching up to do to reach the same high average as the passenger vehicle purchasing experience. There is an opportunity to separate out the light commercial sales experience from the passenger car experience with a clear focus on the specific needs of the commercial vehicle buyer,” comments Rice.
The top achievers for the category of LCV Servicing Experience were Chevrolet (88%), Isuzu (87.5%) and Toyota (87.2%). The average score for this category has improved from last year – from 80% to 85% in 2012.
“The service scores across the LCV category are quite consistent,” states Rice. “As is the case with passenger vehicles, manufacturers need to break through these threshold scores and differentiate themselves based on their unique consumer focus and understanding.”
The 2012 Ipsos Quality Awards are based on interviews with customers who purchased or serviced a vehicle between January and December 2011. This study makes up part of the largest survey of South African vehicle owners.
“To conclude, we must compliment the manufacturers on an excellent performance this year and improvement across all of the categories,” says Rice. “This is especially impressive given that the pressure for sales during the recession has relaxed somewhat and the drive for happy customers is still such a priority. With such high and close scores, there is an opportunity for all the OEMs to push the envelope and set a new standard within the market... the key to which lies in understanding customers to an even greater extent.”
More about the survey:
These rankings are based on Ipsos' Competitive Customer Experience (CCE), which has been conducted in South Africa for the past 20 years. The survey was conducted over a 12-month period between January and December 2011 and is part of a study that measures the perceptions of more than 22 000 passenger and light commercial vehicles.
The questionnaire covers all elements of both the sales and service process, from the appearance of and staff at the dealership itself, to the financing or pricing aspects of the sale or service, and then to the post-sale or post-service follow up. Complaint resolution is also a key part of the questionnaire for customers who do report problems.
Not all the brands are included in the survey for various reasons. This could be because the manufacturer chooses not to participate or because the sample that has been achieved is too small. Another reason some manufacturers do not get published is due to the length of participation in the study – a full year of participation is required before a brand can be included in the rankings.
The Ipsos survey represents approximately 83% of all new vehicles sold in the PC market and 98% of the LCV market.
Ipsos is the second-largest global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals that assess market potential and interpret market trends for more than 5 000 worldwide clients to develop and test emergent or existing products or services, build brands, test advertising and study audience responses to various media, and measure public opinion on issues and reputation. With more than 9 100 employees working in wholly owned operations in 83 countries, Ipsos conducts advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modelling and consulting, and a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel and online research products and services in more than 100 countries. Founded in 1975 by Jean-Marc Lech and Didier Truchot, Ipsos has been publicly traded since 1999. In 2008, Ipsos' revenues totalled €979.3 million. Listed on Eurolist by NYSE - Euronext Paris, Ipsos is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-100 Index and is eligible to the Deferred Settlement System. Visit www.ipsos.com to learn more about Ipsos' offerings and capabilities.
Ipsos acquired Synovate globally in October 2011, strengthening its position as a global research giant.
For more information contact:
Patrick Busschau – Business Unit Director
Richard Rice – Director: Loyalty