Record-Breaking Reviews: 1 Million-Plus Car Shoppers Make the Customer Service Case for DealerRater's Dealer of the Year Awards Recipients - AutoSuccessOnline

Record-Breaking Reviews: 1 Million-Plus Car Shoppers Make the Customer Service Case for DealerRater’s Dealer of the Year Awards Recipients

Unprecedented review numbers speak clearly to the dominance of digital, the staying power of personal connection, and the emerging value of adaptability in creating a best-in-class customer experience.

DealerRater, today announced that 979 local dealerships will be honored in DealerRater’s annual Dealer of the Year Awards (DOTY). Winning dealerships from across the U.S. and Canada are selected based on more than 1.1 million online reviews and ratings submitted by car shoppers across a record 18,600 dealerships in 2021.

“DealerRater gave voice to a record-breaking 1.1 million car shoppers last year and affirmed loud and clear that despite everything that’s changed about the way cars are bought and sold, the expectations remain high for a flawless experience,” said Jamie Oldershaw, general manager of DealerRater. “Exceptional customer service is still what customers want and what dealerships must deliver whether online or on the lot. This year more than ever, the Dealer of the Year Awards highlight dealerships that are adapting quickly and seamlessly to a new car-shopping landscape and earning the appreciation of their customers.”

In a new category this year, the Dealer of the Year Awards also recognized eight regional winners for standout evaluations for customer service, quality of work, friendliness, pricing and overall experience.

How the Digital, Online and Virtual Car-Shopping Generation Defines Customer Satisfaction

Top-reviewed dealers engage in digital-first services. The Dealer of the Year Awards demonstrate the value car shoppers place on dealers’ adaptability to provide the very best service even when the industry is challenged by inventory shortages and increased car prices.

Home delivery and virtual appointments were powerful drivers of positive reviews. Winning dealers that offered these services scored on average a 97% positive review rate, nearly 5 percentage points higher than dealers without.

Employees’ digital engagement at dealerships proved especially critical this past year as car shoppers conducted the bulk of their research and vehicle purchases online; about 91% of winners provide their staff with employee profile pages on DealerRater, which allows car shoppers to ask questions and connect with individual salespeople at a dealership before ever stepping on the lot. More than 92,000 dealership employees received a combined 12.6 million individual ratings on DealerRater last year, underscoring the platform’s importance in providing transparency not just around dealership quality, but also staff performance.

Dealers utilizing online tools like LotShot and ReviewBuilder to earn and respond to consumer reviews received over 20% more positive reviews than dealers that did not take advantage of these products and features.

Record-Breaking Levels of Dealer Engagement, Consumer Feedback Create Powerful Flywheel Effect

DealerRater’s Dealer of the Year Awards consistently prove that initiating and participating in active conversations with customers creates a feedback loop that lifts performance and scores and correlates to referrals and repeat business. Winning dealers recognize that review volume matters and make review-gathering a team sport for employees. 

Additionally, award-winning dealers on average responded to customer reviews over five times more frequently than non-winning dealers. Dealers that go above and beyond traditionally respond within 24 hours.

The DealerRater Dealer of the Year Awards are presented annually to the top U.S. and Canadian car dealers with 25 or more reviews based on categories such as customer service, quality of work, friendliness, pricing and overall experience, key drivers of repeat and referral business. The scoring algorithm considers the dealership’s average DealerRater star rating as well as the total number of reviews written about the dealership during the 2021 calendar year.

Consumer Satisfaction Awards are given to the top 10% of U.S. new-car dealers as well as independent and Canadian dealerships that earn at least 25 reviews and maintain a minimum average review rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 during the 2021 calendar year.

Visit for a full list of winners U.S. and Canada.

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