TROY–The increasing volume of battery electric vehicles being serviced at dealerships is contributing to a negative effect on overall customer service satisfaction, resulting in a year-over-year decline in score for the first time in 28 years. According to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Customer Service Index Study, satisfaction with the service experience declined 2 points to 846 (on a 1,000-point scale) in this year’s study.

Customer service satisfaction among owners of BEVs is 42 points lower than among owners of internal combustion engine vehicles. A leading factor is that recall rates are more than double for BEVs than their gas/diesel counterparts. Additionally, service advisor knowledge continues to be a major satisfaction issue among BEV owners who provide a rating of 8.01 (on a 10-point scale) compared with 8.59 among owners of ICE vehicles.

“As the electric vehicle segment grows, service is going to be a ‘make or break’ part of the ownership experience,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “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.”

The study, now in its 43rd year, includes emerging features such as valet service, mobile vehicle servicing and online/smartphone app payment options to gauge the effect these processes have on the service experience. The study measures satisfaction with service at franchised dealer or aftermarket service facilities for maintenance or repair work among owners and lessees of one- to three-year-old vehicles. It also provides a numerical index ranking of the highest-performing automotive brands sold in the United States, which is based on the combined scores of five measures that comprise the vehicle owner service experience. These measures are (in order of importance): service quality (32%); service advisor (19%); vehicle pick-up (19%); service facility (15%); and service initiation (15%).

To read the rest of this story, click on Tech Century