To BDC or Not to BDC?

Chip King
The Call Center/BDC focus in automotive seems to move in cycles...most recently a bit on the up swing. Data shows that Call Centers are almost twice as likely to set appointments in sales and in service, than Sales Reps and Service Advisors. Add the value of the call going directly to the appropriate department, avoiding the dreaded Auto Attendant and Voice Mail black hole, and it would seem, that no matter the size of the store, to be an easy decision. Yet the majority of dealerships elect not to engage in this process--and those that do in Sales, often choose not to do so in Fixed Ops. My curiosity lies in the making of the decision not to create a culture of phone specialists for the profit centers in the dealership. What issues are at the base of the decision? Concerns around cost and lack of R.O.I.? Previous bad experience? I am not in the BDC business, and have no stake here, but I would like to be well versed from both sides to allow me to fairly make educated recommendations when asked... and from what I think I know, there is no good alternative to Phone Specialist. Eager to gain some perspective!
Bryan Armstrong
I went back to the Dealership I started this crazy business in more years ago than I care to recall, and one of the first pririties I addressed was a Customer Care Center. They handle all communication between the Dealership and our clientele, have instant access through text and IM to anyone in or out of the Store and I know that their follow-up is guaranteed. The result? Last Month we were able schedule approx. 29 outbound Service appts per week for open campaigns on customers vehicles, the CSI is up and CIT is down (yes they even do sold follow-up and get stips on deals if needed). The benefits have been to numerous to name but the consistency provided and the professionalism of these niche players has been invaluable to our success this year. I would never go back.
Bryan Armstrong
pririties= priorities. :)
Lizelle Landino
Hi, I am new to this site but on Dealerelite, facebook, linked etc. I think you are right on - like everything in the car business, the ups and downs and loops will happen. Depending on the size of the dealer, their volume, staffing etc - BDC is absolutely a MUST. There are different ways of setting those up to make sure that it works for the dealer. I think the trick to getting it right and functioning at a GREAT PROSPEROUS level has a few very important ingredients. Most importantly EFFECTIVE PHONE OBJECTION SKILL training, the phone is our communication to life. How can you train your sales or internet people to start gaining that customers trust in a matter of a few seconds? The BDC department is there for many great reasons but I fear to say that the most important function of the staff should be relationship selling and building. Everyone else in the dealership has no time for this, there has to be a department that focuses on "LISTENING to the customer" "Gain the trust and relationship" "Sell your CARE fact". Having a staff and the right staff implemented that can do this for your store, whether the BDC is very large or very small - guarantees those appointments. ANYONE can pick up a phone, ANYONE can have a script, If you cant make that connection, trust and listen to your customer - Then any BDC will be at a huge disadvantage. People are on the website because they do not want to be pressured right? They might submit a lead online because they are afraid of that pressure call. Those few things alone tells you so much about that person already. Find affective ways and staff that are fully trained and can be not your BDC department but Communication Excellence department. In my eyes any BDC will rock the sales. I think that we often forget about the aspect of caring and listening, and push that sale or appointment so hard that the only reason it does not succeed is because our lack of willingness to listen, understand and the time it takes to build excellent client relationships. Would you rather make a quick sale and get the most out of that customer but never see them again? Would you be a little more fair and take your time with each customer and have their business and friends business for LIFE? Who knows maybe this is just my take on things, but a BDC is such a wonderful asset to any store - Question is...HOW ARE WE USING IT? Thanks for letting me respond :-)
Arnold Tijerina
Welcome, Lizelle! Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I hope you stick around for awhile! :)
Lizelle Landino
Arnold, thank you! I am not going anywhere - things just started :-)

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