Dave Power, 83, is the godfather of the deeply analytical approach to customer satisfaction that has become the industry standard.
Starting as a consultant in 1968, Power began surveying new-car customers about the quality of their vehicles. He compiled and assessed the data at his kitchen table. Within a few years, the rankings he calculated would be of incalculable importance to carmakers.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1959, Power joined Ford as a financial analyst. Restless in the job, he joined a consultancy that did customer research for various General Motors brands. Brimming with ideas of his own, Power moved through industry and consultant positions before forming his own firm in 1968 in Los Angeles.
J.D. Power and Associates soon won a contract to advise Toyota, which was relaunching in the United States after flopping in this market in the 1950s. Toyota executives asked Dave Power to suggest ways to impress American customers. He came up with two ideas: better braking and improved rust protection. Toyota listened.
Years later, when Power began publishing his customer-satisfaction ratings, Toyota excelled. Consumers noticed and Toyota was on its way.
Source: Automotive News