Contrary to popular belief, women are not as tough a customer as they are made out to be in a male dominated world. According to a study carried out by TNS, called Scooter Total Customer Satisfaction 2006, women had consistently given higher satisfaction scores to the scooter models they used barring a few exceptions.
Representing the responses of new scooter buyers towards the performance of 18 models in the key areas of sales satisfaction, product quality, scooter performance and design, after-sales service, brand image, and cost-of-ownership, the Scooter Total Customer Satisfaction (STCS) 2006 study conducted by TNS Automotive is the largest syndicated scooter study ever done in India.
It comes close on the heels of the Motorcycle Total Customer Satisfaction 2006 (MTCS) study released by TNS Automotive a few days ago. “TNS has been conducting MTCS for the last five years in India, which covers only male customers. For the first time a syndicated study has been conducted to measure and highlight the expectations and satisfaction of women riders vis-à-vis men for the scooter category,” said Pradeep Saxena, Senior Vice-President, TNS Automotive.
Comparing the companies that make motorcycles as well as scooters, ironically Bajaj Auto, the erstwhile scooter king, is the only company whose scooter customers are less satisfied than its motorcycle customers. In contrast, Hero Honda, which has entered the scooter market recently, has been able to delight those who bought its maiden offering Pleasure. As a company it led the satisfaction scores among motorcycle owners as well as scooter owners. Even Kinetic, whose motorcycles are much lower than the competition, had a higher satisfaction than Bajaj when it came to scooters. The trend is very similar for TVS and Honda Motorcycle and Scooters (HMSI).
But all is not lost for Bajaj. When it comes to geared scooters, even Honda finds it difficult to beat ‘Hamara Bajaj’. In this segment Chetak 4S shares the top honours with Honda Eterno. Though Eterno scores far higher on quality, Chetak 4S makes up with a much higher score on sales satisfaction.
Among the ungeared scooters, Hero Honda Pleasure tops the rankings followed by Honda Activa. “Interestingly, though both products share the same broad platform Pleasure scores higher on performance and design as well as quality. In addition, it rides on the strong brand image of Hero Honda,” said Saxena. However, Pleasure is not ‘just for her’, its male buyers are a tad more satisfied than its female owners.
In the scooterette segment TVS Scooty Pep Plus is the leader. This indigenously developed product takes on the high mighty and is the top scoring model in the entire scooter industry. It is the only model achieving a three-digit score on performance and design in 2006 among all two wheelers.
However, Chris Bonsi, Regional Director, TNS Automotive, adds a word of caution here for the scooterette manufacturers. “As per the study, the satisfaction with scooterettes drops much faster with their age (ownership period) compared to scooters, geared or ungeared. Manufacturers must pay attention to this as this steep fall happens in the case of quality and cost of ownership an area very close to the heart of Indian consumers.”
The study also shatters a popular myth that north India is enamoured with geared scooters. In fact, it is South India that provides the highest satisfaction scores to this category. On the converse, North Indians are more satisfied with ungeared scooters. However, true to form they would just not go in for that little scooterette.