Lexus will win Roy Morgan’s annual customer satisfaction award in the automotive market for the fifth time in six years, after achieving an almost-perfect 97 per cent rating in the most recently disclosed monthly survey.
Nevertheless, Lexus Australia’s CEO Scott Thompson has told us of some imminent plans to enhance the company's existing ‘Encore’ customer care program to make things as “hassle free” for owners as possible.
The market research firm’s annual satisfaction reports cover many product types, and claim to draw from face-to-face interviews with more than 50,000 Australians. The sample size in the car survey is nearer to 40,000 people annualised, which is still significant.
The Japanese premium brand achieved a 97 per cent satisfaction rate during August from those interviewed who owned its products, similar to the annualised 98 per cent it achieved between May 2018 and 2019. Lexus’s August win was its seventh straight monthly award this year.
These results speak highly of the brand's petrol-electric hybrid push, with about a third of its sales electrified at the moment, held back only by supply levels.
Who’s buying Lexus? The profile of a typical buyer shows a male-skew, an average buyer age bracket of 35-49 – though the company’s small UX and NX SUVs are luring more younger female buyers, the company claims – with “traditional views” of home, work and society.
“Lexus’s customer satisfaction rating is 3 per cent higher than next placed Kia on 94 per cent,” said Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine.
“While this lead may appear minor, it isn’t. The satisfaction ratings of the following nine leading car manufacturers are separated by only 1 per cent, which shows how significant Lexus’s lead currently is.
“Compared with a year ago, both Lexus and Volvo have enjoyed the largest increase in satisfaction ratings with a 3 per cent lift. Isuzu Ute - the 2018 Car Manufacturer of the Year - experienced the biggest decline of 3 per cent. All other leading manufacturers remained relatively steady.”
We spoke to Lexus Australia’s CEO Scott Thompson last week, querying whether he would improve any aspects of Lexus’ after sales program, controlled by the company and offered through its dealers. It includes a four-year warranty, a loan car or car pickup at service time, and access to brand-sponsored events.
"The answer is yes in terms of an enhanced Encore conversation. We have updates we are planning to talk about probably in the first quarter of next year,” he said.
“Our job now is to enhance our experience to make sure it’s completely hassle-free, and that’s what the enhancements I'm referring to will deliver,” he claims.
The win comes at the same time as the government's consumer watchdog, the ACCC, cracks down hard on what it sees as unsatisfactory conduct from OEMs.
Yesterday it announced that Mazda Australia would be taken to Federal Court for allegedly engaging in “unconscionable conduct” and making “false or misleading representations in its dealings with consumers” who bought new cars between 2013 and 2017.