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Lauren Cummins

Lauren Cummins Automotive Product Marketing Manager

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How to Train Your In-Store BDC Team to Properly Handle Phone Calls

Choosing to have an in-store BDC has long been a challenge for dealers. BDCs are often plagued with problems including a lack of overall staff motivation and training processes. This, paired with low wages, makes for a high turnover rate in employee staffing. At that point, a BDC ends up costing more than it brings in.

As a BDC manager or GM, it’s important to get ahead of this for 3 reasons: customer satisfaction with your dealership, employee retention and your bottom line. When BDC employees are under-trained, it reflects poorly in the phone calls they have with potential customers. It also reflects poorly on your bottom line, as BDCs provide a great opportunity for an extra boost.

A customer’s first experience with your dealership could be with a BDC staff member, given that they are often responsible for handling incoming promotional, sales, leasing and internet lead calls, as well as make outgoing follow up calls to missed business opportunities-- to name a few.

Give your BDC department a makeover with these simple tips that will transform the phone calls they have with your prospects.

Start by listening to your staff’s calls

Take a few hours to listen to 5 incoming calls and 5 outgoing calls your staff members handled this week. What you’ll experience is some seriously cringe-worthy phone skills. Take notes on what went wrong and what went right, and come up with a plan of action to fix these problems for your next team meeting.

Take one bad and one good call to your next team meeting

Based on the calls you listened to, pick out two that stood out as the best and the worst phone call. Play the calls out loud at your meeting, and have your staff members identify what went wrong. This creates the sort of feedback loop that really holds your staff accountable. This isn’t a tool meant to embarrass your employees in front of their peers. It’s to help them realize that if they are embarrassed about their performance in front of their peers, they should be willing to change it for the sake of their customer experience.

Set expectations for what a “successful call” means to your dealership

Now that you’ve pointed out the problems happening on the phones, it’s time to help your staff understand what it means to have a “successful” call. First off, if you ask your staff to make 100 calls this week, more than half of those won’t be productive because they are trying to make a quota. Let them know that the main qualities of a successful call include connecting with a customer that was a real opportunity for business, getting an appointment set for a specific date and time and providing directions to the dealership.

Provide a call outline with a proper greeting

Consistency is important in maintaining a brand. Provide your BDC team with a standardized dealership slogan or mission statement that they must state during every call. After that, don’t make them memorize anything other than a call outline. Call scripts are unproductive because if the conversation goes off topic, your BDC staff member may get flustered. Train them to hit certain points in the conversation including qualifying the customer and handling objections, in addition to the suggestions in the above section.

Give the team incentives to improve

Create a little friendly competition amongst your staff. At the end of each month, offer some kind of reward to the top performing individual. Enrolling in staff performance reports with your call tracking provider will help you, as the manager, keep track of how each person is doing. It will also allow your staff members see how their peers are doing on the phone, adding to that competition aspect.


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