RAC Ranked Top Roadside Service Provider in J.D. Power Study
It’s a hat-trick – the results of the latest J.D. Power and Associates UK Roadside Assistance Study are out, and the RAC has, for a third consecutive year, ranked highest in satisfying UK motorists requiring emergency roadside assistance. The study, now in its eleventh year, measures customer satisfaction with roadside assistance services by examining three factors: timing (the time taken for help to arrive and time taken at the scene); mechanic/vehicle driver (which includes items such as appearance, courtesy and ability to do what was needed); and operator/call centre (including friendliness, reassurance and time taken to answer the phone).
Scoring 779 on a 1,000-point scale, the RAC ranked the highest in 2008, and performed particularly well in two factors: operator/call centre and mechanic/vehicle driver. Following the RAC in the rankings was the AA, who gained 17 more points compared with 2007 to score 771. The AA performed particularly well in the timing factor.
“In 2008, customers waited less than one hour for assistance to arrive – 55 minutes, on average – compared with 63 minutes in 2007, which has helped to increase levels of customer satisfaction,” said Susan Barnes, European automotive director at J.D. Power and Associates. “Another aspect of timing that has a strong impact on satisfaction is how well the roadside assistance service communicates the likely arrival time to the customer. Satisfaction amongst those customers who received a text message or phone call to confirm arrival is considerably higher than amongst those customers who did not receive an update.”
The study found that high levels of customer satisfaction in a roadside assistance service have a particularly strong impact on both customer advocacy and repurchase intention. 92 per cent of customers who rated their overall roadside assistance experience as “outstanding” stated that they “definitely will” recommend their assistance provider to a friend, relative or colleague. Furthermore, 81 per cent of these customers also said they “definitely will” repurchase services from the same provider in the future. In contrast, amongst customers who rate their experience as “average,” only 5 per cent said they “definitely will” recommend their provider to others and only 4 per cent stated that they “definitely will” repurchase.
“Customer advocacy rates are an important indicator of a brand’s health,” said Barnes. “High advocacy rates can fuel a brand’s sales, particularly in tough economic times, as many customers rely heavily on recommendations when selecting a new product or service.”
The study also found that 61 per cent of customers purchased their roadside assistance coverage independently rather than as part of a bundle with their vehicle purchase or insurance policy. Amongst customers who actively chose their assistance provider, competitive pricing is the most frequently mentioned reason for selecting a particular company. Other frequently cited reasons for selection include a reputation for good service and previous experience with the company.
Issues with the engine and other mechanical problems accounted for nearly half of all calls for assistance. An additional 21 per cent of assistance calls concerned flat tyres, while 19 per cent were due to a flat battery. More than three in four (76 per cent) vehicles were fixed at roadside in 2008, an increase of 3 per cent from 2007.
The 2008 UK Roadside Assistance Study is based on responses from 3,012 customers regarding their experience with a roadside assistance provider. The study was fielded in October and November 2008.