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J.D. Power released its 2022 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study on March 9, and the rankings found Ford falling short among owners of newer-model-year vehicles. Ford scored 838 points out of a possible 1,000, beating out brands like Honda, Kia, and Volkswagen. The segment average for mass-market brands was 844.

What factors influence Ford’s low ratings in the service department? J.D. Power doesn’t provide specific details brand by brand, but it does provide some overarching views of the automotive service industry.

Why are Ford service customers unsatisfied?

There are a variety of valid reasons that Ford service customers might be unhappy with their experiences scheduling and receiving service and repairs for their cars. Ford has seen some major recalls in the last few years, though it touts its “built tough” marketing. Recalling thousands of vehicles in one area can cause major scheduling problems for dealers and frustration for customers.

Recent supply chain issues have also caused problems for dealers needing to order parts. J.D. Power reports that average wait times for automotive service scheduling have gone up nearly an entire day, possibly related to enhanced Covid protocols. Many of these factors are out of the control of the dealerships, but J.D. Power’s rating scale covers more than just satisfaction with scheduling.

J.D. Power bases its 1,000-point scale on five categories, weighted in order of importance:

  • service quality (32%)
  • service adviser (19%)
  • vehicle pick-up (19%)
  • service facility (15%)
  • service initiation (15%)

Ford service is sub-average, but it improved from last year

While the Ford brand ranked 12th this year, this is a boost over last year’s 14th-place landing in the same survey at 833 points with an 843-point segment average. Better customer service scores this year may be related to improvements to the FordPass app, which helps customers schedule their appointments right from their phones and speed up the service process.

Modern service offerings like valet service, payment options through an app, and the convenience of remote servicing (having a tech come to your home or office for vehicle maintenance) have changed the service experience and J.D. Power’s Customer Service Index Study was updated this year to reflect that.

Is this an indication of an upward trend for Ford?

A white Ford Explorer rolls out of a manufacturing plant, driven by a mechanic
Ford Explorer | Ford

Overall, J.D. Power finds that customers still have faith in good service

J.D. Power shared key findings, which included strong customer preferences for text reminders, valet or mobile service, and photo or video communication related to recommended or necessary repairs. 

One of the most positive takeaways for Ford and new-car dealers, in general, is that the people still have faith. The average rating for the statement “I trust the dealership to perform complex repairs on my vehicle” is a stunning 6.16 out of 7 points. That means that Ford dealers can focus on the factors they can control, and better the overall customer experience for their new-car drivers. 

It’ll be interesting to see how J.D. Power Customer Service rankings change next year, with more dealers embracing online and app-based communication, remote services, and the unique challenges of servicing electric vehicles.

Can Ford climb its way into the Top 10?

Closeup of a Ford logo nameplate on the front grille of an unidentified vehicle
Ford nameplate on a grille | Ford

First There’s a Shortage of New Cars, Now There’s a Shortage of Car Parts