In the first part of this article, we talked about the concept of an all encompassing BDC to handle all of the Departments in your dealership.
The real question is…does your BDC actually DEVELOP BUSINESS??
Does your BDC assist and compliment each of your departments in the store?
Does your BDC help capture videos of happy customers either taking delivery of their New or Pre-Owned vehicle or having a fantastic Service Department experience?
Now, let’s see how the BDC would be responsible for handling each department. These points are just thought starters. There are MANY more areas of the dealership that your BDC can help you retain and develop business!
Sales Department incoming leads – Have the BDC handle ALL incoming Sales phone calls and incoming internet leads. The majority of your customers are already going to Truecar.com, Edmunds.com, and KellyBlueBook.com for their pricing information. Embrace the customer by reaffirming that your pricing is within those guidelines. Have the BDC concentrate more on setting the appointment rather than selling the vehicle. When the customer is contacting you they are looking for a reason to either BUY from you or cross you off their list. Give them a solid reason to buy from you!
Sales follow-up – The BDC should be making both the “non-sold” follow-up and the “sold” follow-up phone calls to make sure that the customer has had a pleasant experience. The “non-sold” call should be made by the BDC to see if the customer had a good experience with both the Sales representative and the Manager that were involved in the deal. If either the Sales representative or the Manager has handled the customer incorrectly, you have the chance to overcome the bad experience and make it a positive one.
A customer is more likely to tell a “Customer Service Representative” calling or texting from the store about their experience. The customer is also more likely to tell a “Customer Service Representative” What the “real” objection was to the sale,…. i.e.: price, payment, trade, selection, experience……etc…. Use the information to inspect, improve and council your team on the positives and negatives.
The “Sold” follow-up phone call again reaffirms a customer’s experience. It gives the Dealership another chance to say “thank you” for the business. The “Sold” phone call can also set the stage for additional calls and e-mails or texts in regards to any Service and Sales specials, discounts and incentives the Dealership wants to market.
Sales CSI – A customer is more likely to inform the “Customer Service Representative” about a potential bad experience. Make sure you are proactive in addressing any concerns a customer may have. Their displeasure can become viral in a matter of minutes on Google, DealerRater, Yelp or any of the other on-line sites. Protect your on-line reputation!
Service Department – The Service Department handled by the BDC is an absolute must in order to retain your customer! The majority of phone calls that come into your Service Department are to set an appointment for servicing of the customers vehicle. If your Service Advisor is doing the correct job of communicating with the customer that already has a vehicle in the shop, there shouldn’t be any phone calls that come into the BDC, by the customer, to ask if their vehicle is ready for pickup. The BDC simply needs to be trained a little about “shop loading” and standard services pricing. Your Service Departments standard pricing of services such as; oil changes, tire rotations, alignments…etc…are easy for the BDC to give. STOP the phones from ringing in your Service Drive! Have your Service Advisors pay attention to the customers they have in front of them!
Service Follow-up/CSI – How do we know if the customer is satisfied with the service(s) that were just performed on their vehicle? If you track “come backs”, hopefully, the customer WILL come back. Sometimes you only get one shot at servicing a customer’s vehicle. But what if the problem was NOT resolved? What if the Technician left the car dirty inside? What if the Technician moved the seat, didn’t return the seat to the customer’s position, and changed the radio station to a channel that upset the customer? If you are the Dealer, General Manager or Service Manager, how can you correct these things if you don’t “inspect what you expect?” If you don’t have a process in place to make sure you retain your customers in Service, you will lose them to your competition.
Parts Department – Have you ever listened to a Parts Counter person answer a phone call from a customer? Most Parts Counter people are used to dealing with either the technicians in the shop or a wholesale account. Sadly, most have never been trained on how to deal with the customer that calls into the store. Your BDC should be handling the calls that come in from the customers wanting to talk with the Parts Department. Wholesale account phone calls should be transferred directly into the Parts Department. Customers usually want an OEM accessories price or simple parts pricing on items such as headlights or brake pads. Your BDC can be trained in how to look up these parts prices and then do something your Parts counter people don’t! Your BDC can quote them on the complete job with labor performed by your Factory Certified trained technicians and set an appointment to do the service! How many times have you listened to your Parts Department quote a price to your customer and never ask for the business? The customer usually takes the price and just shops it around. Shouldn’t you quote them the price for the part, and then quote them what it would cost to install the part and then try to set an appointment for the job?? Your customers are NOT backyard mechanics. They are not about to tackle anything more than simple items. Shouldn’t you be advising them that anything beyond a simple item needs to be professionally handled by your Factory Trained Technicians?
Marketing and Data-mining – Your BDC needs to develop a comprehensive process to continually market and data-mine your customer database! Your BDC needs to make sure that every time they have a customer interaction, they receive permission from the customer to send further Sales and Service specials or incentives. Marketing via social networks, direct mail, phone calling or texting needs to be a constant in order to keep your store on the top of your customer’s minds. Make sure you know and document the customer’s “preferred method of contact”!!! If they ONLY want an e-mail….don‘t call them! If they prefer a text message….send them the information via text! Make sure your BDC is CONSTANTLY updating the customer’s profile. Reaffirming phone numbers, e-mail addresses, home addresses and any other pertinent information you need. Make sure that you make marketing to your customers something that the customer has “opted-in” for!
Constant data-mining must be performed by your BDC also. There are several data-mining pieces of software that are awesome! If you don’t have a vendor that provides you with a good piece of software to perform this task, you will not be successful with data-mining. Calling ALL customers that have a certain year, make and model of car to see if they want to trade it in is NOT data-mining! It will frustrate both your BDC and customers alike. Go get a good data-mining tool! It is well worth the investment!
In summary, the words “customer service” seems to be an oxymoron these days.
A well trained BDC will be your “first impression” when a customer contacts your dealership. And we all know you get one chance at a first impression! Be the store that all your customers will tell all their friends and family about. Be the store that stands out in a crowd of mediocre competitors! If you’re NOT retaining the customers you fought so hard to get….it will be much MORE expensive getting new customers!
About the Author: With 30 years in the retail Automotive Industry, from a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.
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