J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Providing Both Adequate Communication and Timely Response Is Critical to Satisfaction With Roadside Assistance Services in the UK

By J.d. Power And Associates, PRNE
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

RAC Ranks Highest in Satisfying Roadside Assistance Customers in the UK for a Fourth Consecutive Year

LONDON, December 17 - One in four emergency roadside assistance customers in the UK reports
feeling "vulnerable" while waiting for help to arrive, which may be
attributable to long wait times and lack of communication, according to the
J.D. Power and Associates 2009 UK Roadside Assistance Study(SM) released

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The study, now in its 12th year, measures customer satisfaction with
roadside assistance services by examining three factors: timing (time taken
for help to arrive and time taken at the scene); mechanic/vehicle driver
(which includes items such as appearance, courtesy, and knowledge and
expertise); and operator/call centre (which includes items such as
friendliness, reassurance and time taken to answer the phone).

For a fourth consecutive year, RAC ranks highest in satisfying emergency
roadside assistance customers in the UK. RAC achieves a score of 787 on a
1,000-point scale and performs particularly well in the operator/call centre
and mechanic/vehicle driver factors.

The study finds that 24 percent of customers say they feel vulnerable
while waiting for assistance to arrive and, on average, these customers tend
to wait longer for help to arrive than those who do not report feeling
vulnerable (68 minutes vs. 53 minutes, respectively). Among customers who
report feeling vulnerable, overall satisfaction averages 707 on a 1,000-point
scale - 87 points lower than satisfaction among customers who do not report
feeling vulnerable.

"While providing prompt response to calls for assistance is critical to
satisfying customers in need, managing perceptions of wait times is also
essential," said Ian Giles, senior manager at J.D. Power and Associates.
"Although roadside assistance dispatch operators typically assign higher
priority to those customers who are more vulnerable - for example, parents
with small children or customers in dangerous situations - there is clearly
room for improvement. Giving the most vulnerable customers frequent progress
updates and ample reassurance that their request for assistance is in process
may help increase satisfaction."

The study also finds that following up with customers after service is
performed has a strong positive effect on overall satisfaction. Among
customers who are contacted to find out if the assistance provided was to
their satisfaction, overall satisfaction averages 799, compared with an
average of 757 among customers who are not contacted. In addition, customers
who receive follow-up contact are much more likely to recommend their
provider to others.

The study finds that high levels of customer satisfaction with roadside
assistance services have a particularly strong impact on both customer
advocacy and repurchase intentions. Among those customers with particularly
high levels of satisfaction (averaging 871 or higher), 79 percent say they
"definitely will" recommend their roadside service company to others and 62
percent say they "definitely will" renew service with the company. In
contrast, among customers with particularly low levels of satisfaction
(averaging 550 or lower) only 5 percent say they "definitely will" recommend
their company and 5 percent say they "definitely will" renew.

The study results also include the following key findings:

    - Approximately one in four customers in 2009 was offered an
      appointment, for assistance and more than 40 percent of these customers
      think the appointment time they were given was imposed upon them to
      suit their assistance provider's needs. Overall, 15 percent of
      customers made an appointment with their assistance provider.
    - Among customers who obtained their roadside assistance coverage
      through means other than their vehicle manufacturer's warranty, the
      most-frequently cited reasons for choosing the assistance provider are
      competitive price (54%); previous experience with the company (40%);
      reputation for good service (31%); and being a well-known brand (26%).

The 2009 UK Roadside Assistance Study is based on responses from 2,783
customers regarding their experience with a roadside assistance provider. The
study was fielded in October and November 2009.

    Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking

    (Based on a 1,000-point scale)

    Roadside Service Company         Index Score
    ------------------------         -----------
    RAC                                  787
    Industry Average                     774
    AA                                   773
    Green Flag                           769
    Direct Line                          731

NOTE: Included in the study, but not ranked due to small sample size are:
Britannia Rescue and Mondial.

Source: J.D. Power and Associates 2009 UK Roadside Assistance Study(SM)

About J.D. Power and Associates

The European headquarters of J.D. Power and Associates is located in
Guildford, UK. With world headquarters in Westlake Village, California,
U.S.A., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services
company operating in key business sectors including market research,
forecasting, performance improvement, training and customer satisfaction. The
company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from
millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit
of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading
global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial
services, education and business information markets through leading brands
such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, Capital IQ, J.D.
Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The
Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were
US$6.4 billion. Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.

J.D. Power and Associates Media Relations Contacts:

Ian Giles, Guildford, Surrey; England; +44-1483-207613;

John Tews; Troy, Mich.; USA; +1-248-312-4119; media.relations@jdpa.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in
this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and
Associates. www.jdpower.com

Ian Giles, Guildford, Surrey, England, +44-1483-207613, ian.giles at jdpa.com, or John Tews, Troy, Mich., USA, +1-248-312-4119, media.relations at jdpa.com, both of J.D. Power and Associates

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