J.D. Power has released its 2017 Malaysia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, which measures overall service satisfaction among owners. The 2017 edition of the study is based on responses from 2,705 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between February 2015 and May 2016, and serviced them at authorised service centres between August 2016 and May 2017.

“With a demanding and fast-paced modern lifestyle, Malaysian car owners do not have time to waste when sending their cars for service. It is a dealership’s responsibility—with the support of professional service advisors—to ensure exceptional service that meets customers’ expectations,” said Muhammad Asyraf Bin Mustafar, country head of Malaysia for J.D. Power.

New-vehicle owner satisfaction with the service experience is measured by examining dealership performance in five factors (in order of importance): service quality (32%); service initiation (22%); vehicle pick-up (18%); service advisor (15%); and service facility (13%).

This year’s study saw customer satisfaction improving across the board, with both Malaysian and foreign brands achieving a higher score (on a 1,000-point scale) compared to last year. Malaysian brands averaged 756 points (+9 points), whereas foreign brands achieved an average of 766 points (+11 points).

Once again, Toyota managed to occupy the top spot with a score of 780 points, improving by 17 points from the year prior. Coming in second place is Mitsubishi, narrowly edging out Mazda (776 points) with 778 points, followed by Nissan (768 points), Volkswagen (765 points) and Isuzu (764 points).

Carmakers that were below the mass market average of 761 points include Ford (759 points), Perodua (757 points), Proton (755 points) and Honda (753 points). According to J.D. Power, Kia and Hyundai’s omission from the rankings is due to a small or insufficient sample size, even though both are included in the study.

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The study also revealed customers appreciated service advisors who provided a proper explanation of work prior to commencement of service, with satisfaction increasing by 49 points to 768 points, compared to when explanations are not provided (719 points). Similarly, those who received an explanation of work after the completion of service were more satisfied (763 points vs. 711 points).

This year also saw an increase in the percentage of customers who completed the handover process in less than 15 minutes at 62% from 58% in 2016. In addition, the percentage of instances in which service charges are explained post-service has increased to 91% from 88% last year.

Other key findings from the study reveal Malaysians are more satisfied when they are kept informed of their vehicle’s status and when customer facilities are available at service centres. Naturally, customer satisfaction affects loyalty and advocacy, so highly satisfied customers say they “definitely would” recommend their service dealer to the friends and family.