Times of India: Next-gen tractor buyers demand ‘car like’ service: Study

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Chennai: Tractor buyers are demanding 'car-like' service treatment from their dealerships as rural India gets more urban oriented and a new generation of smart-phone savvy tractor buyers drive into the market.

According to a just-released study by JD Power, increasing penetration of personal vehicles — both cars/utility vehicles as well as two-wheelers — in rural India is changing the brand experience expectation among tractor buyers as well.

That's why although customer satisfaction with tractor after sales service has improved year-on-year — hitting 784/1000 this year compared to 751 in 2016 —tolerance of shoddy products and services is also coming down drastically. "A lot of tractor owners, particularly in the affluent northern markets, also own a car or a bike and they are exposed to automobile servicing standards and the huge gap in satisfaction between the two service experiences. So they are demanding and expecting that gap should reduce or disappear and tractor marketers need to realign their strategies to cater to this new kind of rural customer," said Yukti Arora, manager, JD Power. A good 31-32% of this new age customer is also the young next-gen tractor buyer who behaves very differently than the generation before him. JD Power's survey shows tractor owners less than 30 years old report a much lower satisfaction (with both product and service) and much higher problem counts with their tractor, highlighting that they are much harder to please compared to their older counterparts (more than 45 years old). "These younger buyers are looking for more enhanced product experiences. They are more open to sourcing information on the net, from village fairs or tractor dealers rather than go with pre-decided brand behaviour (where the whole village opts for a particular brand because of word of mouth recommendations) as is the case with older tractor buyers," added Arora.

The JD Power survey also found over the last three years that brand stickiness and advocacy as well as, dealer loyalty and recommendation is much lower among those who are less than 30 years old, compared to their older counterparts.

Also a higher percentage of tractor owners less than 30 years old rented their tractor (28%) compared to their older counterparts (18%). New Holland topped the tractor service satisfaction survey this year followed by John Deere and Mahindra & Mahindra.