Five Star Dealer Awards
Photo: Liberty GMC in Peoria, Arizona.

On Tuesday, Edmunds announced the ninth annual Five Star Dealer Award recipients. Dealers who received this year’s award are being recognized for their extremely high standard of customer service as seen in the eyes of the customer. 

Edmunds hands out the awards annually to dealerships who participate in their Dealer Partner program and have received overwhelmingly positive reviews. In total, 106 dealerships earned the Five Star Dealer award while 13 were recognized with the Five Star Premier Dealer designation, a prestige given to those with the highest-performing customer service. 

The awards are based on customer sales reviews on the Edmunds Dealer Partner platform. To receive the Five Star Dealer award, dealers must have received at least a 4.5-star rating across a minimum of 30 reviews for 2020. The Five Star Premier Dealer award is given to dealers with 150 or more reviews that average at least 4.5 stars. Only 3% of participating dealers earn the Five Star status annually.

Edmunds CEO Avi Steinlauf said in the press release, “Earning a spot on the Five Star Dealer list is an accomplishment in any year, but given the unprecedented challenges that were thrown at dealerships across the country last year, this is truly a testament to the incredible effort made by dealers to go above and beyond for their customers

We’re honored to recognize the dedication and resilience of dealerships across the nation who work so hard to make shoppers feel safe, confident and heard — even in the most difficult of times. 

The benefits of recognition 

The award is based on Edmunds’ own program and data, but it’s valuable in the consumers’ eyes. Reviews are widely seen as a verification method for quality service, whether that’s in automotive, retail, or any service industry. Branded awards including those from Edmunds, J.D. Power, KBB, DealerRater, or any other publication demonstrate a history of exceptional service that they can expect as a patron themselves. 

Fake customer reviews on Amazon have recently purchased in bulk on Amazon and other online retailers, damaging the luster that companies have earn with actual top-notch customer service. As a result, the number of reviews is weighted to provide validation for the consumer. Although 30 positive reviews are noteworthy, 150 glowing reviews of a dealer on Edmunds is seen as authoritative.  

Seeking visible reviews a rewarding effort 

With so many potential options for receiving reviews online, the question isn’t if soliciting reviews is a good idea, but where. Partnerships with publications and services like Edmunds and J.D. Power are popular and add an extra layer of recognition with awards. Research shows that of the 92% of shoppers that read reviews prior to choosing their retailer, 37% rely on review sites like these to make a decision, and 90% of shoppers “want to read between 5-10 product reviews before gaining trust about a brand.”

The study also shows that 63% of shoppers will find reviews through a search engine, like Google Reviews. Though not supported by a major publication, these reviews tend to have more convincing power so long as the most recent reviews are positive.

Stale reviews or campaigns with on-and-off batches of reviews could actually do harm rather than help. Making the effort to continuously generate reviews is a good plan, and implementing the request as part of the vehicle delivery process is extremely beneficial for consistency.

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