Published on March 24, 2014

J.D. Power to get crack at online car dealer reviews

(Bloomberg News Service photo)

By David Barkholz, Crain News Service

DETROIT (March 24, 2014) — J.D. Power and Associates has agreed to work with DealerRater, an online auto dealership rating service, to help auto makers and car dealers collect dealership reviews from consumers.

Westlake Village, Calif.-based J.D. Power will ask some recipients of its proprietary customer satisfaction and other surveys if they also wish to write a review of the auto dealership where they did business, said Jonathan Miller, chief technology officer for J.D. Power.

The review would go to DealerRater.com, a dealership review site operated by DR Media Holdings L.L.C., and be posted publicly on the site. Then it will be shared with auto makers and car dealers as part of the information about the consumer experience culled from the larger J.D. Power survey, Mr. Miller said.

The agreement could eventually give auto makers, dealers and the public immediate feedback from the thousands of consumers responding to questionnaires that feed Power’s Customer Service Index and Sales Satisfaction Index surveys. Typically, those studies are published annually and are based on questionnaires mailed months before the results are released.

The program initially would be limited to the proprietary studies that J.D. Power contracts to perform for individual auto makers. Those surveys of auto buyers, which are used for diagnostic purposes to improve customer satisfaction, can contain up to 200 questions.

So far, no auto maker has signed up to include the DealerRater survey as part of the larger proprietary survey. Consumers also would be asked to rate their respective auto dealership experiences.

Later, J.D. Power could open the program to consumers responding to its syndicated Customer Service Index and Sales Satisfaction Index surveys, said Mike Battaglia, J.D. Power’s senior director of automotive retail.

The comments give auto dealers immediate information about how they are doing with their customers, said Jamie Oldershaw, DealerRater’s senior vice president of operations and planning, adding that the other advantage is that consumers are influenced by dealership reviews and star ratings when they look for a store.

DealerRater has about 1.4 million reviews on its site. About 5,000 car dealers pay DealerRater to help them collect reviews and thousands more have been reviewed by consumers on the DealerRater site.

This report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.

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