You always have access to loads of information and reviews from multiple sources about the next car you might be planning to buy. But there is hardly any review and rating available about the car dealerships and their performance in sales and service. The dealer review and rating collected by manufacturers is only for their internal use and is not made public.
CarDealerRater, a platform meant for reviewing and rating the sales and service experience of buyers, is looking to fill this gap. The two-year-old start up gives you a list of ten top car dealers and bottom ten car dealers, decided on the basis of a certain number of reviews using an algorithm. “This list is dynamic and keeps changing with the performance of a dealer,” said Shikher Dubey, an automobile industry professional who founded this venture after spending sixteen years with companies like Hyundai, Honda and Nissan.
The platform gives you reviews from individuals on their experience in new car purchase, used car purchase and servicing of cars. Dubey said the web site gets 2,000-2,500 reviews on an average every month and till date close to 20,000 reviews have been posted. An individual can only post his review after sharing details his contact details and car registration number. This is to filter fake reviews. Dubey said his web site gets almost a million hits every month.
A dealer can only respond to a review if the dealership is a subscriber of CarDealerRater. The fee for dealers is Rs 5000 a month and in return dealer also gets a dashboard where he can see all the reviews and ratings, etc. If a customer makes a price enquiry on a dealer page, the dealer will only come to know of it if he is a subscriber. Dealers also get to know the new and developments of automobile industry. Besides this, the bootstrapped venture also makes money from advertisements posted by car makers.
The subscribed dealers cannot influence or remove negative listing, claims Dubey. “Once we had a case where a dealer from NCR came up with a request to remove a negative listing. But we suggested that the dealer should personally touch base with the unhappy customer and resolve the issue. That worked and the customer revised his review”. Dubey said the issues raised by customers at dealerships get usually handled at the level of managers and the grievances are not allowed to reach the owner of the dealership. This platform allows a dealer to know such issues directly. The web site lists about 4,000 car dealers across the country. India has a total of over 5,000 car dealers across brands.
Puneet Anand, senior general manager and group head (marketing) at Hyundai Motor India said his company has advertised with CarDealerRater and looks to engage again in future. “It is an independent platform that people can use to express their delight or unhappiness with a dealer of any brand. This is a good step towards empowering the customers since the reviews can help others to take informed decision before making a new purchase or using a service station at dealerships”, said Anand. He added that the platform needs to use lot of analytics and processes to grow and have a meaningful impact.