J.D. Power Scores Dealer Satisfaction, Loyalty

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Customers are more satisfied with single-line dealers vs. stores carrying a variety of vehicle brands, according to the results of a J.D. Power and Associates study.

Customers report that single-line dealerships provide a higher quality of service when it comes to warranty overviews and explanations of a motorcycle's features and operational issues (see table).

"In addition, employees of single-line dealerships appear to be more knowledgeable and honest than those representing Multiline dealerships," according to Tim Fox and Todd Markusic of J.D. Power and Associates. "The gaps in these 'human element' scores are quite substantial. Given that honesty and integrity of personnel and personnel concern for my specific needs are the top two drivers of overall satisfaction, it is essential that dealerships have sales personnel who are honest and take time to explain product features in order to achieve high overall dealer satisfaction."

When it came to dealer loyalty, the study showed that 55 percent of respondents who bought a vehicle from a single-line dealer would "definitely" purchase another motorcycle from the same dealer if given the opportunity, compared to 44 percent of those who had purchased a vehicle from a Multiline dealer. Sixty-two percent of single-line dealer customers said they would recommend their dealer to another consumer, vs. 51 percent of Multiline dealer patrons. "Higher advocacy is directly linked to higher sales," say the researchers.

"Given that a dealer acts as the intermediary between a manufacturer and an end user, manufacturers should select their dealer franchises carefully — especially if the franchise is of a Multiline platform," assert Fox and Markusic. "While it may be nearly impossible to create an exclusive single-line dealer network, it is important to understand the impact that Multiline dealers have on brand loyalty."

Dealernews invites dealers to comment on the findings in this research at editors@dealernews.com.