The digital automotive marketplace and solutions provider has hit a milestone, achieving 10 million customer reviews for local dealers on their platform. For the month of March 2021 alone, almost 140,000 reviews were posted by consumers as the digital retailing model continues to be popular, a full year after COVID-19 restrictions all but forced dealers to transition to a more prominent online position.

According to a DealerRater survey conducted in April, COVID-19 has increased the rate at which consumers read reviews prior to making a purchase by 38%, and a large buy like a vehicle is certainly garnering more views of reviews.

Brooke Skinner Ricketts is the chief experience officer at She says, “Cars are a large, considered purchase, and consumers can spend months researching about what and where to buy. Reviews have been and will continue to be critical to the research phase as shoppers trust unbiased advice from others like them.

“Reviews on have become even more important over the last year as consumers pay closer attention to the buying experience offered by local businesses as consumers seek the best overall experience for their needs.”

Key trends regarding reviews find that 68% of shoppers won’t buy from a business with three stars or less. Almost the same number of shoppers won’t buy from a business with “poor or negative reviews about pandemic health and safety measures.”

Perhaps a little surprising, nearly 80% report that online reviews have contributed to referrals to an individual, of which the close rate is 90%.

The milestone is one to take note of, and it should lead to action in developing intentional dealership review strategies.

Provide exemplary service in all departments

Asking for reviews could actually be harmful if your dealership isn’t providing the quality customer service that customers want. It’s a whole-store mission, from sales to service, parts, and collision repairs. Establishing a review campaign should be implemented once your store is running well, even if imperfectly, and maintaining that service level should be audited by management openly and often.

Ask for reviews while the sale is still fresh

For both sales and service, a visit from customers should trigger a request for a review shortly after. A request for customers to leave an online review within 24 hours of their visit can result in high response rates, especially if the service was excellent. As the sheen fades from memory, it can be harder to bring in reviews scoring a perfect five stars as pragmatic “always something to improve” thinking takes over the emotional response.

Focus on the experience over product

For car salespeople who mention that a customer will be receiving a survey, asking for a DealerRater or Google review at the same time would fit right in. It also allows the salesperson to guide the review toward aspects of the transaction they can control. If the car buyer wasn’t able to get exactly the right trim level or they aren’t completely sure they love the car, that can reflect poorly on a review that hasn’t been guided. Inspire the customer to review how they were treated by the dealership, the salesperson specifically, and other experiential aspects rather than the product.

Aftersales reviews are also important

Much of the focus is on the sales department and the effect on sales reviews can have. However, service customers are just as influenced by reviews for where they should take their cars – perhaps even more so if they didn’t buy the car from the dealership. Ensure your reviews are saturated with service, parts, and collision repair customers who can describe the positive experience others can expect when they visit.

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