A view of the word heat maps generated by the buyer’s comments is revealing.
When buyers rate dealers 5-star, they most often refer to the dealership, indicating that the entire process, from initial online contact through final in-store delivery was satisfying. They use words like great, responsive, honest, recommend and professional. They refer to the overall experience. These are words that never even come up in reference to 1-star and 3-star dealers.
An analysis of 5-star dealers behavior supports these heat maps. Reviewing the behavior of these dealers as they went through the transaction shows that, far more than 1-star of 3-star dealers:
- Responded to questions quickly and accurately (usually in less than 20 minutes)
- Made competitive offers quickly and honored those offers throughout the transaction
- When making comments, they ensured that the comments were grammatically correct, understandable, polite and professional
The heat map for 1-star dealers shows that price is more important than for 5-star dealers, but by a small amount. Buyers felt the need to use words like: never, questions, dealer, time, respond, and response. These comments by buyers also correspond to actual behavior. In earning the 1-star rating, dealers:
- Were slow to respond to questions, often not responding at all
- Wrote comments that were unclear, inaccurate and sometimes offensive
- Made offers that they then would not honor
The 3-star dealers heat map shows that price is far more important than for either 1-star or 5-star dealers. The 3-star rating appears to reflect overall ambivalence of the buyer. Interestingly, buyers for 3-star rated dealers were the only ones to consistently refer to MSRP. There is no mention of the dealership and little mention of the dealer.
The take-away for dealers and for buyers is that the reviews are surprisingly accurate. The actual behaviors demonstrated by dealers are accurately perceived and reported by buyers in most cases. It is also important to note that making the entire experience good for the buyer lowers the pressure on price and ensures higher ratings.