What is an Internet Dept?

Amanda Gordon

IN 2002 when I started in this industry, our internet dept consisted of one guy setting Costco apts and giving anyone who called in off of our website a $500 discount. In today's times with 95% + of customers doing their research online isn't EVERYONE an Internet customer? How does your store separate the leads?

Scott Larrabee

Not as well as they should, but I am sure this is a challenge for most BDC or "Internet" departments! ...and YES, EVERYONE is an internet customer it seems nowadays! 

Amanda Gordon

Scott do you believe that there is still a need for an "internet" dept, or should all sales associates be equipped with the tools to handle direct internet leads? 

Rachael DuVall

Amanda,  I am a BDC Manager/Internet Manager. We differentiate is by where the lead came from. So say someone inquires about a vehicle through your website, puts their info in that is an "Internet Lead" outsourced websites as well cars.com, cargurus, autotrader etc. My BDC handles ALL leads like that we make the appointment and hand them off to a sales person. 

In my experience, no amount of training and tools turns a sales person into a call rep. They want to try to sell the car over the phone instead of really gathering what the customer wants. 

In my dealership sales people are only allowed to handle customers face to face. My BDC even handles showroom ups that didnt buy. 

Derrick Woolfson

I will offer that I am confused w/ those dealers that have an "internet department" as more than 95%+ of the consumers have been on the internet. Whether they completed a lead form or called into the store. That said, if the consultants are treating the consumer as if they've never been on the website then I worry about the results. But as for having a separate department, I would rather see a BDC handle all of the incoming opportunities, and create more traffic. For example, this past Saturday (we have 12 sales consultants) we had 30+ people in the showroom as a result of appointments and showroom traffic. If the sales consultants had to focus their attention (or the internet department) on generating *more traffic* I think you lose out on what is in front of you - the customer that is there to buy. And in an age where consumers are more demanding than ever requiring* your *full* attention, it can cause an poor experience. I think - really - the focus for dealers should shift. Focusing on a *department* that can continue to deliver new traffic. Having the sales consultants do what is most important - *sell* the unit! It is a win - win situation. 

Amanda Gordon

Thanks Rachel and Derrick. What I am gathering then is that the "internet dept" is the new BDC/call center whose main focus is setting apts and getting clients in the door where in turn the sales staff does what they do best, close the deal.  With leads being inextricably time sensitive it is imperative to have a dept dedicated to such. Derrick I could not agree with you more that EVERY BODY is an Internet lead and that is where my concern comes from as far as how should the new wave of tech savvy customers be handled. 

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