J.D. Power releases satisfaction data on auto websites, tires, telecom

TROY—The Troy customer satisfaction analysis firm J.D. Power Thursday released new reports on satisfaction with automotive websites, automotive tires, and telecom self-help sites.

The 2020 Automotive Website Evaluation Study shows a gap of only 9 points (on a 1,000-point scale) among the top six websites on desktop. The study measures the usefulness of U.S. automotive third-party websites during the process of shopping for a new or used vehicle by examining four key measures: information and content; appearance; navigation; and speed.

“We redesigned this year’s study to ensure visibility and analyzation of several recent trends seen in automotive third-party websites,” said Jon Sundberg, senior manager of digital solutions at J.D. Power. “New digital functionality has been implemented by many third-party websites, such as personalization and digital retailing, which enhance the shopping experience for the consumer, and we want to ensure the shopper’s voice is included in these areas.”

This year’s study finds that overall satisfaction averaged 773 for desktop, while the smartphone averages 795. Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book (790) ranked highest in a tie in the desktop segment and Carfax (829) is the highest-ranked in the smartphone segment.

The study, initially released in 2013, is based on responses from 4,236 vehicle shoppers (desktop and smartphone) who indicate they will be in the market for a new or used vehicle within the next 24 months. The study was fielded in January 2020. J.D. Power has its own consumer automotive websites that compete with the websites in the Automotive Website Evaluation Study, but they are not included in the study.

For more information about the Automotive Website Evaluation Study visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/resource/us-automotive-website-evaluation-study-cross-device

Power also reported that customer satisfaction with original equipment tires reached an all-time high in 2020, as tire manufacturers have found the right balance of performance characteristics—without making sacrifices that jeopardize the customer experience, according to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study.

The annual study measures tire owner satisfaction in four key areas: tire wear; tire ride; tire traction and handling; and tire appearance. Rankings are included for three vehicle segments: luxury; passenger car; and truck and utility vehicles.

“As the technology behind tires improves, we see manufacturers becoming very adept at incorporating those advancements in a way that maximizes overall tire performance,” said Brent Gruber, senior director of automotive quality practice at J.D. Power. “It wasn’t very long ago that we saw considerable trade-offs in tire performance where, for example, tires optimized for wear were not particularly good with characteristics such as traction and handling. There was more give and take with tire performance. Now, our data shows many manufacturers are producing tires capable of excelling in all areas.”

Michelin ranked highest in two vehicle segments, scoring 778 in luxury and 746 in truck/utility (on a 1,000-point scale). Pirelli ranked highest in passenger car with a score of 788.

The 2020 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 26,131 owners of 2018 and 2019 model-year vehicles and was fielded from October through December 2019.

For more information about the Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/resource/us-original-equipment-tire-customer-satisfaction-study.

Finally, Power also reported that digital unassisted customer care channels are rapidly becoming the first ports of call for many telecom customers when they experience technical difficulties. That’s a good thing for both providers and customers, according to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Telecom In-Home Service Technician Study. The study found that overall satisfaction is significantly higher among service customers who use provider websites, mobile apps and social media channels to troubleshoot a problem before scheduling a technician visit than among those who use the phone to call in a problem.

“As consumers continue to grow more adept at working with technology, there is a built-in expectation—particularly among younger people—that many tech issues can be fixed easily with a visit to a website or even a tweet to a social media account,” said Ian Greenblatt, managing director at J.D. Power. “We often say satisfaction is profitable. Providers that understand this and give customers easy access to the tools they need to troubleshoot common issues enjoy higher customer satisfaction, and—importantly—are spending less on customer service phone calls that begin at upwards of $7-$12 per call.”

Following are key findings of the 2020 study:

  • Majority of customers troubleshoot on their own: More than two-thirds (69 percent) of telecom customers attempt to resolve their own technical issues before resorting to scheduling a visit with an in-home service technician. However, those who attempt but fail to resolve their issues before having a technician visit are significantly less satisfied (a decline of 16 points on a 1,000-point satisfaction scale) than those who simply scheduled a technician visit without first trying to troubleshoot.
  • Phone rapidly waning as primary source of tech help: The most common means of seeking service is still the phone (75 percent), but that share is trending down, having dropped from 81 percent in 2018 and 79 percent in 2019. By contrast, the current percentages of customers turning to their provider’s website (33 percent), mobile app (14 percent) and social media (10 percent) have trended upwards over the same period. These trends are even more pronounced among younger customers.
  • Digital self-service tools drive higher satisfaction: While the phone is still the most commonly used channel for customers in need of technical help, it offers the least satisfying customer experience. Among communication channels, overall satisfaction with phone is 852, compared with provider website (unassisted) at 862; provider website (online chat) at 864; mobile app at 879; and social media at 881.
  • Being put on hold is death knell for phone-based scheduling: All told, 68 percent of service customers who called their provider to schedule in-home service were put on hold during the scheduling process. Among this group, average overall satisfaction is 751 vs. 837 among those who were not put on hold, a gap of 86 points.

DISH Network ranked highest in telecommunications in-home service technician satisfaction for a third consecutive year with a score of 883. Verizon (873) ranked second, reflecting a significant 24-point improvement from 2019. AT&T/DirecTV (868) ranked third. The industry average was 862.

The 2020 U.S. Telecom In-Home Service Technician Study evaluates customer perceptions of onsite service technician visits for installation and post-install service of residential wireline products, which include high-speed data, phone and TV services. The study is based on six single-attribute factors (in order of importance): quality of work; timeliness of completing work; knowledge of technician; courtesy of technician; professionalism of technician; and scheduling an appointment.

The study was fielded in December 2019-January 2020, for which 4,456 responses were received. To be eligible to participate, respondents needed to have had an in-home telecom service technician visit in the past six months.

For more information about the 2020 U.S. Telecom In-Home Service Technician Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/resource/us-telecom-home-service-technician-study.

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