Recalls Driving Customer Satisfaction?

Understanding the role loaner cars have in the customer service experience

Not surprisingly, 2015 was a record breaking year for vehicle recalls in the automotive industry.1 What was surprising was this rise in recalls flooding service departments also resulted in an increase in dealership customer satisfaction.2 It may seem unlikely that increases in recall work and increases in customer satisfaction would be compatible. However, service departments have armed themselves with tools to smooth the recall process and turn a potentially negative customer experience into a positive one.

One big key to keeping customer satisfaction high while servicing a vehicle is the overall convenience factor. To address this most manufacturers offer service loaner vehicles for customers to drive while they perform the required repairs. These ‘courtesy’ vehicles not only increase customer satisfaction, they can also increase profits, drive new car sales and build brand loyalty. Car dealerships that take advantage of courtesy transportation programs can use their own vehicles rather than pay a rental agency to provide vehicles. By utilizing their own loaner fleet, the dealership is essentially sending the customer out for an extended test drive. Manufacturers are realizing that putting a customer in a brand’s latest model helps take the sting out of the recall process and increases sales. Given this, it just makes sense for dealerships that service vehicles and handles recalls to participate in a loaner vehicle program.

1. Wall Street - U.S. Auto Recalls Last Year Set Record at 51 Million
2. JD Power - 2015 CSI Study: Despite Three-Year Increase in Recalls, Satisfaction among Recall Customers Continues to Climb

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