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Reputation management is competitive for dealers in Chicago. The top 10 dealerships in this area all have a high lifetime volume of reviews. To stand out, dealers in this area need an excellent average star rating, timely review responses and superior customer service.
The inaugural Index, based on an extensive analysis of Google reviews, ranks car dealership reputation based on average star rating, level of review activity and superior review engagement
BURLINGTON, VT (Nov. 8, 2023) – Widewail, the leading customer review and reputation management solution, announced today that Marino Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram has earned the top spot for dealer reputation among all car dealerships in the Chicago market. The rankings were released as part of the inaugural Widewail Automotive Reputation Index and are determined by an extensive analysis of Google reviews. Rankings are calculated based on frequent and sustained review activity, average star ratings, and level of review response engagement with the majority of customers who leave reviews.
With an overall score of 93 out of a possible total of 100, Marino Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram ranked above Volkswagen of Downtown Chicago, which earned a score of 90. The remainder of the top 10 includes North City Honda (87), Honda of Downtown Chicago (85), McGrath City Hyundai (83), Berman Nissan of Chicago (82), McGrath City Honda (78), Berman Subaru of Chicago (73), City Volkswagen of Chicago (73), and McGrath Lexus of Chicago (70).
“Given the role that customer experience plays today in local search rankings, online reputation has never been more vital to the success and growth of the dealership,” said Matt Murray, CEO of Widewail. “Online reviews are a critical decision-making tool for service customers and buyers engaged in the shopping process. The Widewail Automotive Reputation Index brings reviews to the center of the discussion; it exists to provide car dealers with deeper insights into how they perform based on Google reviews displayed alongside competitors.”
In addition to overall dealership rankings in the market, Widewail published separate rankings of the top 5 luxury dealer reputation leaders, recalculating scores based only on the luxury subset in Chicago. McGrath Lexus of Chicago earned a top ranking, with a score of 97, followed by McGrath Acura Downtown Chicago (96), Perillo BMW (90), Berman Infiniti Chicago (70), and Fletcher Jones Audi (66).
“All the dealerships earning top rankings in the Widewail Automotive Reputation Index should be celebrated for delivering an exceptional customer experience to their sales and service customers,” added Murray. “Every part of the online reputation management process is important to their business and their future success.”
More about the Widewail Automotive Reputation Index
The reputation health score is a measure of how the dealership is doing in reputation management and customer engagement activities, relative to its local competitors. Dealer scores will vary depending on the set of dealers it is ranked against (top 10 overall vs luxury vs non-luxury).
To rank these dealerships fairly, Widewail takes several aspects of a dealership’s online reputation into consideration when calculating a reputation health score: monthly and lifetime review volume, adjusted average star rating and review response rate. Each of these factors impacts a dealership’s overall ranking differently, which is explained in detail below.
Customer Engagement & Response
When calculating rankings, Widewail considers the percentage of reviews that a dealership has responded to, as Widewail strongly believes that review response is indicative of a healthy reputation strategy.
Review Quality & Rating
Our method takes into account the fact that dealerships on our list receive a wide range of monthly review volume, in part due to varying levels of transactions. For example, luxury brands generally won’t sell as many cars as non-luxury brands since the price point limits a luxury dealership’s addressable market.
To compare two dealerships with very different review volumes directly wouldn’t be fair. A dealer with two 5-star reviews doesn’t necessarily deserve to be ranked higher than a dealer with 200 reviews and a 4.5-star rating. With few reviews, the former doesn’t offer enough data for us to use to understand its performance. However, just ignoring locations with very few reviews would introduce bias into the rankings.
The mathematical approach Widewail used is a form of what’s called “additive smoothing.” This process allows for an unbiased way to compare two otherwise unequal dealerships. At its core, additive smoothing levels the playing field. It does so by artificially increasing the number of reviews each dealership has and adding the same number of reviews of each star rating to every dealership.
Here is an example. Below, Widewail compares two dealerships, both of which have similar average ratings but vastly different review volumes. Since Dealer 1 has a large volume of reviews, it’s more likely that its rating truly reflects the experience customers have. On the other hand, Dealer 2 has a much lower review volume. Although its reviews are overwhelmingly positive, given the limited sample size, there is more uncertainty around whether the average rating reflects the experience customers have, which is reflected in the adjusted average rating.
The plot below displays this model visually. Note how the width of the curve for Dealer 1 is fairly tight, reflecting confidence in its average rating. There is less confidence in Dealer 2’s adjusted average rating, which is reflected in the wider bell curve.
Activity & Review Volume
The final factor influencing Widewail’s ranking method has to do with how many reviews a dealership receives. This can be broken down into two parts: lifetime volume and average monthly volume.
Lifetime volume tells us how established a company is. It’s one of the first numbers that a potential customer will see when they start browsing a business’s Google Business Profile. Average monthly review volume represents current popularity, showing how active the dealership has been recently.
There can be a lot of variability in monthly review volume and lifetime review volume within a given city/region. Widewail wanted to ensure that the rankings were able to capture the variability in review volume so the ranking calculation scaled volume metrics–a strategy explained below.
Instead of using the raw volume for monthly review volume and lifetime review volume, Widewail used a scaled value so there is a more meaningful comparison. Specifically, Widewail used a mathematical technique referred to as min-max scaling. This process starts with grouping dealerships by their city and finding the dealerships with the highest and lowest review volume. Then, each dealership’s volume is adjusted so that dealerships can be meaningfully compared on a smaller scale (0-1).
The min-max scaling formula is:
x' = x - min(x)max(x) - min(x)
The advantage of this approach is that all the volume metrics can be mapped to a value between 0 and 1 and the relative difference between dealership volumes can still be preserved.
To illustrate this, imagine there are 9 dealerships with differing lifetime review volumes. Dealer A has the greatest volume (4,619-lifetime reviews,) and Dealer B has the least number of reviews (22). So, the minimum value is 22 and the maximum value is 4,619. To start calculating, subtract the minimum value of 22 from each dealer’s lifetime volume (LV- min). Then divide the resulting value by the difference between the maximum and minimum values (4,619 - 22 = 4597). The final column is the new scaled value.
The Ranking Formula
(adjusted rating / 5) * 0.3 + (response rate) * 0.3 + (lifetime volume) * 0.15 + (avg monthly volume) * 0.25
Weight selection is based on Widewail’s depth of expertise in the industry and is chosen based on what Widewail believes is a fair representation of what should be considered a healthy online reputation.
The weights are broken down into these categories:
Customer Engagement & Response (30%)
Engaging with customers by responding to reviews is a key component of a healthy reputation.
Review Quality & Rating (30%)
Rating is a key identifier of business health and has a substantial impact on whether a business shows up in local search to be entered into a prospect’s consideration set.
Activity & Review Volume (40%)
The amount of review activity is the most important indicator of reputation health for a business, and it is a leading driver of local search rankings. This category has two components: lifetime volume (15%) and frequency (25%).
A dealership has an adjusted rating of 4.2 and it responds to 10% of its reviews. It is ranked in the 90th percentile for lifetime volume in its city and the 87th percentile for average monthly review volume. Using the ranking formula, this dealership’s overall score is calculated as follows, taking into account the four categories integral to a healthy reputation and its respective weighting:
Note: Since response rate accounts for 30% of the overall ranking, if a dealer doesn’t respond to any reviews that automatically caps the max value they can receive to 70.
Widewail is deeply integrated into the automotive industry, supporting more than 5,000 dealership clients. Widewail’s suite of solutions powers the modern shopping experience by leveraging automation to drive and directly manage customer and prospect conversations in consumer reviews, video and social media. Our Trust Marketing Platform helps businesses capture, distribute and shape the narrative of their business through the words of their customers with great reviews and video testimonial content, building trust between businesses and the communities they serve. The result: our solutions improve search rankings, and help companies understand how their actions affect their customer satisfaction and their overall reputation. For more information visit: https://www.widewail.com/.
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