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Aimi Gundersen

Aimi Gundersen Project Manager

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Starting a Service BDC? Do these two thing right now.

In my previous blog “If you ain’t first, you’re last,” I discussed the importance of Service BDCs and why you must start with the end in mind. If you don’t know the destination, you won’t know where to go. This blog will finish the conversation and discuss two things to implement immediately.

Two additional components of a great service BDC are education and evaluation. Without these, a Service BDC is bound to fail. No one goes into a new endeavor with the mindset of failure. It is never purposeful. But it occurs if the right strategies are not implemented in the correct way. Remember, a BDC culture does not just happen--it is cultivated, modeled, and created through planning, education, and constant evaluation.

Educaton and Training:

Education and training may look similar, but they have different functions. Education is the imparting of knowledge. Training is the practice and implementation of that knowledge.

You cannot expect what you do not model, and you cannot model what you do not know. Knowing what you want out of your BDC is important, but being able to convey those important aspects and train the skills are paramount.

I find it ridiculous when we are told we need to implement X,Y, and Z with little to no direction, instruction, or hands on training. We are just supposed to just do it.

While that worked for Nike, for most it is a recipe for failure. You must have clear expectations and then train and model those expected behaviors until they become second nature. It may not be a normal occurrence for your customers to be greeted as they are exiting their vehicle, but it should be. How does it become a habit? It must be taught, modeled, and repeated.  

Education and training is not for everyone. I remember one of the smartest kids in school trying desperately to teach me a math concept. While it was simple for him, it made no sense to me and he could not figure out why. He was brilliant, but definitely not a teacher. And he definitely did not help me understand calculus. I think I may have walked away a little dumber that before.

Not all are equipped to help others truly understand a concept. Matthew Belk, CEO and Chief of Ideas at BetterCarPeople, always says to play to your strengths. If this is not your strength, let others train your staff to ensure a quality outcome. There are some great face to face and online trainings available.

Evaluate You Process. Adapt and Adjust.

When you run a race, you know you have completed it when you hit the finish line. There is an ending point, and you strive towards that. With a BDC, you need to have a definite goal, and then specific metrics to measure it. There are many ways to evaluate the effectiveness of your service BDC.

  • Have appointments increased?
  • Are retention numbers up?
  • Is your R/O higher than before?
  • Has CSI increased?

These are basic benchmarks to gauge if you have an effective BDC. These elements are how you will know if you have improved, stayed stagnant, or gotten worse. There are many technologies that also help with this, can aggregate the data, and help you find your strengths and weaknesses.

The most important thing is to realize that BDCs are not a fleeting idea. They are a necessity, and many manufacturers are expecting a Service BDC in their dealerships.

But what if you cannot justify a Service BDC?  Some dealerships do not have the volume to necessitate hiring a full time person (or two...or three) to respond to leads, contact customers, and help drive engagement and retention. Here are a few helpful tips to help you become your own Service BDC while not losing your sanity or too many hours in the day.

Create a BDC Culture

You know your staff-- who has interpersonal skills, and who should never have a conversation with a customer. Play to your strengths, and place the best people in the best positions. If they do not have time in their day to take on additional obligations, hiring an additional person may be your only option.

Use the Resources and Technologies Available

It seems like there are many programs and technologies that you are supposed to use on a daily basis, and that can be frustrating. The best suggestion is to focus on one at a time. If ServiceSmart is your focus, learn everything you can about ServiceSmart. After you are comfortable with one, move on to the next. 

Also, there are reputable 3rd party vendors who can help with some aspects of the BDC which would relieve some of the pressure and be more cost effective than hiring a full time person (or people).


To continue to be competitive in this marketplace, you need a Service BDC or BDC culture. One that focused on the customer experience from start to finish. People expect it, want it, and will find it.

If you are not offering it, they will go somewhere else.


Aimi Gundersen is an Automotive Lead Specialists, Blogger, Speaker, Educator, and a Project Manager for BetterCarPeople. Aimi has her masters in communications and her doctorate in Higher Education and Adult Learning. Her life is dedicated to making people smarter, stronger, and more efficient in any capacity of work. Contact her at or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Wanda Wegman
Car buyers are greatly influenced by their dealership service experience. A study by J.D. Power and Associates found that almost half of those customers who had a positive experience with a dealership service advisor (10 out of 10 rating), and who had their vehicle fixed correctly on the first service visit, will definitely "purchase or lease from the dealership that serviced their vehicle, compared with only 8% among those rating their advisor eight or lower." Dealers need to identify service opportunity and monitor how they are performing in maintenance sales and retention of service customers. Remember a BDC performance goes beyond the number of calls answered, calls made and missed contacts. The BDC is most importantly a source to generate revenue. Your Service BDC needs to identify sales counts, dollars and gross profit generated by each BDC rep as well as the follow up revenue generated from BDC contacts passed to your Service Advisors and Technicians.
Jeff Collins
Great article Aimi. Any suggestions on platforms/CRM?
Aimi Gundersen
@Wanda--great minds think alike! Thanks for your insight. @Jeff--glad we could connect and discuss the different platforms. There are so many, and each could bring different validity to a specific dealership. It really depends on how much integration, function, and transparency you desire. Cost can also be a factor:)
Carl Bowen
Aimi, You hit on a very important point. "Evaluate your process / Adapt and adjust" When contemplating a CRM product for your service department, evaluating the DMS integration and reporting capabilities are a must. The person that is managing the BDC needs information on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to Evaluate, Adapt, and Adjust the effectiveness of their call center people. Are they really creating additional revenue or is the credit just being shifted from the service desk to the BDC? Are they filling the gaps where business is inherently light? Is your percentage of customer pay work increasing? A good call center will create a significant amount of additional revenue in addition to taking some of the load off of the advisers by booking appointments and fielding phone calls. As a manager you need to have the tools in hand to measure the results. Your call center should be able to financially stand on its own two feet just like every other department in your store. Being able to measure their performance down to the last detail is an absolute must.
Jeff Collins
@Aimi thank you for reaching out to me. I'm looking forward to a more detailed conversation

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