ST. LOUIS – A new study by Maritz Automotive Research finds that auto buyers who complain about their vehicle quality or dealership experience and are happy with the way their complaints are handled by the dealership are more than 1.5 times as likely to be loyal to the dealership than non-complainers when they purchase their next vehicle. The five-year tracking study, “Customer Complaints: An Opportunity to Increase or Decrease Customer Loyalty,” conducted by Maritz Automotive Research Group, a sector of Maritz Research, is an analysis of 3,104 new vehicle buyers and lessees who responded to the company’s 1998 New Vehicle Customer Survey and who were again surveyed in 2003. The study found that the majority of people who complained to their dealership about their vehicle or dealership experience were not satisfied with the way their complaint was resolved. But when customers felt their complaint was resolved well, 60% returned to the dealership when they replaced their vehicle. That compares to about 38% of non-complainers and only 30% of people who complained and were dissatisfied with the way the complaint was resolved, returning to the dealership to purchase or lease a replacement vehicle.

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