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Dealership Vendor

Buyer's Guide

Spring 2017 • Twice Yearly

The Essential Resource for Selecting Dealership Solutions

Dealer satisfaction ratings and product recommendations are compiled from over 30,000 Vendor Ratings collected from verified dealership customers actually using the vendor products as found on DrivingSales.com.

Why Vendor Ratings?

The DrivingSales Vendor Rating site is the first formal mechanism for dealers to rate and review their vendors in a comprehensive, realtime vendor directory. We have over 35,000 reviews, recommendations and insights on the products dealerships use to run their operations. It empowers dealers by allowing them to learn about all the solutions available, view actual customer feedback, both good and bad, and see how each solution actually performs.

The fundamental concept of Vendor Ratings is helping dealers identify the best solutions that drive innovations. Before Vendor Ratings, these conversations occurred, but they were either one-to-one between dealers or during 20 group meetings. These conversations were not benefiting the industry or helping the product vendors improve their solutions through customer feedback.

The Vendor Ratings platform allows real-world experiences to be shared with other dealers as well as solution providers. This helps dealership decision-makers identify and select products that help them achieve their specific goals. In addition, the platform helps vendors interface with dealers directly to uncover product improvements and new opportunities for innovation. Today, Vendor Ratings is the source for dealers to evaluate solutions for their dealerships.

The information the platform provides is a vital catalyst to purchase decisions. Over 38% of dealers visiting the site are actively in the buying process. And 56% of them said they consider new products and solutions because of the information on the platform.

Vendor Ratings is built on a foundation of peer-to-peer recommendations by dealership employees. When both vendors and dealers participate on Vendor Ratings, the platform achieves its stated goal of driving innovation in the automotive industry. We appreciate both our vendor participants and the dealer reviewers for their contributions and commitment to improving performance in dealer operations.

Rules

In order to maintain the credibility of reviews posted on Vendor Ratings, DrivingSales has adopted the following rules:

  • Only dealership employees can post ratings and reviews. Reviewers are verified to ensure they are valid and eligible to leave reviews.
  • Dealership employees can only rate and review the products they have experience using. These ratings are a chance to hear from actual customers with live experience using the solutions in their stores.
  • Each reviewer must answer three questions to complete their rating
    1. How many stars does the solution deserve?
    2. Would you recommend the product or solution to colleague?
    3. Why would or wouldn't you recommend the solutions? What are the pros and cons?

After the review is confirmed, all three components of the review, along with the job title of the reviewer, are posted live on DrivingSales for all to reference when selecting new vendors. Vendors are encouraged to track and respond to ratings of the products.

Safeguards

DrivingSales protects the anonymity of each dealer employee who leaves a rating and review. This is done to ensure the dealers can provide candid, honest feedback. However, DrivingSales requires a valid name and contact information for each reviewer so that each review can be verified.

The title of the reviewer is posted on the site to provide necessary context to the review. This is critical for dealership decision-makers to understand how the reviewer would use and value the product they reviewed. Although the title is displayed here, there is no tie to the reviewer's information to protect anonymity.

Each review is passed through a variety of technological checkpoints to ensure vendors are not incorrectly influencing or “gaming” the system. Furthermore, DrivingSales staff calls and verifies each review.

37,546
Reviews in Vendor Ratings

Vendor Ranking

In each product category the vendor solutions are ranked in real-time as each new dealer rating is submitted. The vendor products are ranked based on a weighted Bayesian Algorithm. This is a standard mathematical calculation that looks at the number of stars the reviewer gave as well as the statically valid sample size needed, relative to the competitive set, to create a ranking based on the statistical accuracy of the results.

The equation takes into account the frequency, volume, timeliness and star rating of every review. This produces a more reliable ranking to allow dealers to see if a products is receive better ratings based on timeliness as opposed to older reviews that don't represent current features of the current product.

The fact that the algorithm focuses on these additional factors also incentives vendors to ensure that the customers are actively reviewing their current products and their features. Vendors are encouraged to refer their customers to Vendor Rating to submit reviews. Vendors may also use their ratings on their sites, with written permission.

Because of the algorithm rules, vendors with 3 stars may rate above a company with 4 stars if mathematically the first company has a higher probability of success based on the submitted reviews.

Vendors can choose to enhance their listing and provide additional information for dealers. These are premium listings. Vendors with premium listings are ranked according to the algorithm. Standard products are ranked the same way.

We encourage all dealers to rate and review their vendors by visiting drivingsales.com/vendorratings#ratevendor.

Dealer Satisfaction Awards

The DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Awards recognize those solutions with the highest vendor ratings. For the top eight categories with the most reviews within the Vendor Ratings, there are three award winners. DrivingSales recognizes the “Highest Rated' vendor and two “Top Rated” vendors. These awards reflect products and providers with a proven record of success and excellence in serving their dealer clients. The Dealer Satisfaction Award trophies are presented annually. Learn more at DealerSatisfactionAwards.com.

The Vendor Ratings Dealer Satisfaction Awards are based solely on the aggregate of dealer ratings submitted from January 1 to December 19, 2016. See this year's award winners.

Rankings

Only dealership employees are allowed to rate their vendors on DrivingSales.com and all submitted ratings are verified. The vendors are then scored and raked using a weighted Bayesian Algorithm. Sometimes a company with 3 stars will rate above a company with 4 stars if the first company has a higher probability of success based on the submitted reviews.

Category Guide

Changing vendors is expensive. In addition to the cost of the product and any implantation charges, you have a learning curve with your people, and this means time and money. If you are going to disrupt your culture with change, it had better stick.

There are many resources you can use to determine a feature set, create use cases, and identify vendor options:

20 Groups can be extremely valuable in determining vendor changes. Your peers can provide you with valuable feedback on who they utilize, and you can get composite data to validate that feedback.

Vendor marketing such as white papers or webinars can give you an idea on how different companies view opportunities and their processes on addressing them.

You can demo products at a conference such as NADA and talk to vendors face to face, getting answers to questions and seeing how they really are.

Vendor Ratings on DrivingSales can give you an idea of the products dealer employees' value as they go about their daily operations. These are individuals that have already vetted a solution and gone through the install process. They are telling it like it is.

The DrivingSales Buyer's guide is meant to be one more resource you can use when researching vendors. As we've compiled this reference guide, we've written some category guides to use. These aren't meant to be deep soup to nuts evaluations. Rather, they are designed to assist you in your research and provide you with some considerations to think on as you go through the vendor selection process. A solution that works well for a 15-store group might not be the best option for a singlepoint store.

This issue presents these six category guides on solutions used in most dealerships:

Further issues will have additional guides.

There are some great vendor solutions out there. The industry is really pushing the envelope on customer experience and digital marketing, and vendors are innovating to address these new opportunities.

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