Audi, MINI top JD Power customer service study; FCA worst

Customer satisfaction dropped overall this year, following a record number of recalls.

Audi and MINI have received top honors in JD Power's latest customer-service index.

Audi received an award for highest customer satisfaction with dealer service in the luxury segment, while MINI led the mainstream brands.

"This is a milestone for the Audi brand in the U.S. and one that we've been actively striving for," said Audi of America's VP of after sales, Peter Donnellan.

The German brand ranked highest among all automotive brands, with a score of 874. Lexus and Cadillac held the second and third positions, receiving respective scores of 869 and 863. MINI landed 858 points, ahead of Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln and Jaguar.

The study found an overall drop in satisfaction, following a record number of recalls last year. Higher scores were associated with wait times of an hour or less, and brands that greet customers within two minutes of their arrival.

JD Power suggests automakers should strive to engage younger customers via text messaging or e-mail. "Even 22 percent of Boomer customers prefer text or email communication," the study found, though such methods are only used for two percent of current communications.

"There is a need for consistency in the service experience, regardless of the reason for the visit," says JD Power VP of automotive retail practice Chris Sutton. "A lack of consistency, particularly for recall work, can damage customers' perceptions of the brand and negatively impact their likelihood to recommend and repurchase the brand."

The study marks another bruise for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' reputation, as the bottom five positions were held by Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram. Acura was ranked at the bottom of the luxury rankings, behind Land Rover, Volvo, BMW and Porsche.

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