Each year, DealerRater awards Dealer of the Year status to the top-ranked dealership by brand at the national and state/province level in the U.S. and Canada, as well as offering a new award to the top-ranked dealership in 8 geographic regions in the U.S, regardless of brand. If your dealership didn't receive an award, that's OK! There can only be one award recipient for each category, and there are tens of thousands of dealerships out there. The good news is that it's never too early in the year to start putting a strategy in place to increase your online reviews and take full advantage of your online reputation.
Award Criteria: To be eligible for a Dealer of the Year award, a dealership must meet the following criteria:
Minimum of 25 reviews on DealerRater for the previous calendar year.
Minimum of 1 review in each calendar quarter of the previous calendar year.
Average rating greater than 4.0 (out of a maximum of 5.0) for reviews received during the previous calendar year.
Must not have been blacklisted during the previous calendar year.
For all dealerships that meet the minimum criteria, we calculate a PowerScore™ based on the dealer's performance over the previous calendar year. The PowerScore uses a Bayesian algorithm to weight all eligible dealerships against each other to determine the highest-rated dealerships. The following factors contribute to this rating:
Number of reviews received during the previous calendar year.
Average score for the dealership over the previous calendar year.
Consistency of positive reviews during the previous calendar year.
To rank dealerships and determine the Dealers of the Year, a PowerScore™ is calculated for each dealership that meets the criteria listed above. The dealership with the highest PowerScore for each award category will receive a Dealer of the Year award. A dealer’s PowerScore is based on its average star rating and the number of reviews. We use a Bayesian algorithm to determine an eligible dealer’s PowerScore. This score is then weighted against DealerRater site averages. Effectively, this means that the winning dealership must score highly on both review volume and average rating. Simply having the most reviews, or conversely having the highest average rating on a small number of reviews, is not enough to guarantee that a dealership has the highest PowerScore.
If your dealership did not receive an award, it means that either your dealership did not meet the minimum criteria, or that another dealership within that category had a higher PowerScore for the previous calendar year. Put simply, another dealership had more reviews and/or a higher average score for the year. Because of the factors involved in calculating a PowerScore, it is very difficult to tell in advance which dealership will win a Dealer of the Year award. The total review counts or average rating on the website, or a dealership’s ranking on DealerRater directories does not necessarily mean a higher PowerScore for a given calendar year.
The calculations for Dealer of the Year are often incredibly close, down to thousandths of a decimal point. A single star-rating difference on a single review might be the difference. Making an attempt to resolve any negative reviews could be the deciding factor between first and second place.
That's up to you. You obviously care about your dealership's reputation if you're reading this, so the best thing to do is to start putting a strategy in place to maximize your review collection and online reputation efforts going forward. Based on common results that we’ve seen from Dealer of the Year winners, we suggest the following best practices:
Winning dealers do more than just secure reviews, they also respond to customer feedback. In fact, Dealer of the Year winners respond to over 5.5X more reviews than the average non-winning dealership. According to a BrightLocal survey from 2020, 96% of shoppers read businesses’ responses to reviews, so it is critical that dealerships take the time to respond to the feedback they receive. A personalized response is a good indication to potential customers that you’ll follow up and stay engaged with them even after the sale.
Building an award-winning reputation for your business can’t be done by one Marketing Manager or a QR code on your desks. It’s a team sport that comes from the 1:1 interactions between your individual employees and their customers. Dealers whose employees have their own staff pages earned 10X more reviews compared to other dealers.
Even award-winning dealers receive negative reviews from time to time. Dealer of the Year winners generally share a common trait when it comes to negative reviews: they consider that feedback a gift. While you want positive reviews to dominate your feed, negative reviews present a valuable opportunity to gather customer insight. Our winners have told us that negative reviews help them quickly identify trouble spots in their operations and quickly fix them before they negatively impact their business. Moreover, negative reviews offer an opportunity to showcase your customer service brand to potential customers. When shoppers see you’ve responded to negative feedback quickly and professionally, they see how you’ll handle any potential problems down the line and build trust that you’ll respond to their needs as well. A well-managed response also has the power to convert a customer who had a bad experience into a lifelong brand advocate.
Beyond these best practices, our Client Services Team and Dealer Experience Advisors are happy to work with you to develop a customized strategy for your dealership, work with your sales and/or service staff to help get them engaged in collecting DealerRater reviews, or look for ways to take your existing practices to the next level.