Aftermarket and independent car repair shops are better at satisfying Canadian customers than dealership garages, though dealers’ service departments are catching up, reports a new J.D. Power study.

Chains like NAPA AUTOPRO, Jiffy Lube, and the Great Canadian Oil Change came out ahead of dealerships in almost every category in this year’s Canadian Customer Service Index Long-Term (CSI-LT) Study, though in the study’s Overall Customer Satisfaction Index Score rankings, fourth-place NAPA was beaten out by Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.

In fact, Lexus took home highest overall customer satisfaction for the third year in a row, with a score of 808.5 out of 1,000. Benz dealerships nabbed an 800.5, Audi a 793.4, and NAPA a 790.4. Though they couldn’t be ranked, independent non-chain garages averaged 797 out of 1,000; the overall average for aftermarket shops was 767, and for dealers 761.

Those aftermarket garages, chains or not, were better at service initiation, service quality, and vehicle pickup, as well as in an area the study highlighted as perhaps the most important, the service advisor’s behaviour, whose performance perhaps best predicts whether a customer will return.

“If auto service providers want to improve their business performance, they should pay closer attention to the front desk,” said J.D. Ney, senior manager of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power. “Service advisors play a critical role in driving a positive customer experience as they have the most interaction and visibility to the customer.

At the bottom of the overall satisfaction rankings were Wal-Mart, Costco, Canadian Tire, and Mr. Lube garages, all with scores below 735.

The study also found while telephone is still the most popular method of booking a service appointment, there were many more customers that wanted to book online than shops that could do so. Younger customers were looking for more updates on their car’s service via text message, something very few garages do, and while the use of tablets by garages is on the rise and improves overall customer satisfaction, there’s still a lot of room for growth, J.D. Power noted.

The 2017 J.D. Power Customer Service Index Long-Term (CSI-LT) Study used responses from 11,430 owners of 4- to 12-year-old vehicles to measure satisfaction and intended loyalty.