J.D. Power and Associates has released its annual Motorcycle Competitive Information Study. This study doesn’t crunch hard sales numbers; instead, it takes a look at how human factors affect overall customer satisfaction with motorcycle ownership.
While the latest MIC numbers are anything but encouraging, the results of this study show the average consumer experience is as good as it’s ever been, definitely something for you to feel good about. Overall satisfaction increased for a seventh consecutive year to its highest level yet; average satisfaction reached 838 on a 1,000-point scale in 2009, up 24 points from 2008. In fact, satisfaction improved across all five measures in the study — product, quality, cost of ownership, sales and service — with the biggest gains in the sales and service areas — great job, guys!
"Given that industry sales are down roughly 30 percent during the past year, manufacturers are competing more than ever for every customer," says Todd Markusic, senior director of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "The result of this increased competition is that the quality and performance of bikes is at an all-time high, and dealers are paying much more attention to their customers’ sales and service experiences."
The study also reinforced the idea that post-sale follow-up is key to customer satisfaction. On average, the sales satisfaction score among customers who received a follow-up phone call was 170 points higher than among those who did not get a follow-up call. "The follow-up phone call is a simple concept that may have a significant impact on customers’ sales or service experiences," says Markusic. "While it might seem that calling customers after a visit would be standard practice for dealers, 20% of customers don’t receive a call after a new bike purchase, and 56% don’t receive a call after having their bike serviced."
In addition to following up with customers who actually laid their plastic on the counter and added to your bottom line, you’ve also gotta follow-up up on the door swings that didn’t convert to immediate sales.
Service department sales have been a lifeline to many struggling dealers as new unit sales falter and riders are maintaining older units. According to the survey, the length of time a motorcycle is in for service greatly impacts overall service satisfaction. The average repair time for maintenance work is one day, while the typical repair takes three days to complete. Dealers who are able to complete repairs in less than three days may benefit greatly, as their customers tend to be significantly more satisfied with their service experience. The average satisfaction score among customers who have a repair completed in less than three days is 857, compared with 753 among those who receive their bike back in three days or more.
The results of the 2009 Motorcycle Competitive Information Study are encouraging. 8,000 owners who purchased a new 2009 model year on-road or dual-sport motorcycle participated in the study, and we hope the results shed a light on what your customers need. Consider drafting your own customer satisfaction survey to see how you measure up.