In South Africa’s automotive industry where product features are very similar among vehicles, where there is huge competition between the vehicle brands, whether they are imported or locally produced, what is the leverage one can use to gain a competitive advantage? What will be the means of differentiation? The answer and the ultimate business advantage may very well be customer service excellence. In an effort to measure service excellence, South African customer satisfaction questionnaires, have historically via the questions that they ask and the weightings they give to these questions emphasised the transactional component of customer satisfaction. South African automotive retailers however need to understand the relationship component of the satisfaction of customers. This research shows that the current definition of Customer satisfaction does not measure this relation component as defined by emotional intelligence of the service advisors. Suggestions are given at the end of the report as to how this situation can be changed and the advantages that can be taken for automotive retailers.