Toronto, Ontario — If your dealership shop is repairing EVs, you had better make sure you know what you’re doing, as a new report from J.D. Power has found a correlation between the recent influx of battery-powered vehicles and the first year-over-year CSI index decline in 28 years.
The automotive advocacy organization reported Thursday that increasing volumes of EVs at dealers has contributed to an overall drop in the Customer Service Index by two points, down to 846 points out of a possible 1,000, since last year.
Owners of EVs appear to have resoundingly more negative repair experiences than their ICE powertrain counterparts, with the report finding them to have an overall satisfaction score 42 points lower than that of traditional vehicle owners.
One of the most significant contributing factors to these negative experiences on the part of EV owners, according to J.D. Power, is the frequency of which these vehicles are recalled, with the report finding that the need to bring a vehicle in for a recall repair is linked to a 23 point drop in customer satisfaction.
As well, EV owners appear to have slightly less confidence in the knowledge service advisors have on their vehicles, giving them a score of 8.01 out of ten, as compared to the score of 8.59 given by ICE owners.
“As the electric vehicle segment grows, service is going to be a ‘make or break’ part of the ownership experience,” said J.D. Power’s v-p of automotive retail, Chris Sutton.
“The industry has been hyper-focused on launches and now these customers are bringing their electric vehicles in for maintenance and repairs. As training programs for service advisors and technicians evolve, EV service quality and customer experience must address both the vehicle and the unique customer needs. The EV segment has the potential to spur massive convenience improvements in how customers service their vehicles—but we’re not seeing the benefits yet.”
Separate from the issue of EV repair complexity, customer satisfaction is also being negatively affected by dealers failing to meet the desire of customers for more text-based communication for simple information, as opposed to phone calls.
Despite 34 percent of customers saying they would prefer a text to a call, only 9 percent of dealers were reported to have obliged the request.
Owners across the board are waiting longer for service appointments, with premium and mass market vehicle classes seeing 1.9 and 1.3 day increases to wait times, bringing the total average to 5.6 and 4.8 days respectively.
For more information on customer satisfaction broken down by automaker, click here.
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