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This is the 4th article in the series Managing Your BDC Like a Call Center:
Ok your BDC is receiving calls from a vast array of sources, for new vehicles, used vehicles, marketing campaigns, voice mail returns (call backs) how can you organize them to go to the right person at the right time? Before I answer that you must first understand what 1 call resolution truly means. It means stop transferring calls, stop paging, stop making people wait! The person who answers the initial phone call must be the best available person to handle anything that may surface on the call. This core value requires a combination of training and technology. Customer expectations are at an all time high, that requires that you separate yourselves from the pack by making your customer service look effortless. All things being equal, an organization where customers are routed to the right person faster will convert higher than one where the customers have to wait (calls are paged, transferred, on hold etc). This should be common sense. So how much does this impact the customer experience?
I will pose the answer in the form of a very recent personal example:
While building a website for a client, I had to contact their domain registrar to setup additional web hosting. I couldn't complete the full transaction online so I was forced to call. I called their sales line and the person that answered was awesome, they helped with all of my questions, gave me a concise recap in an email and directed me to all of my next steps. Unfortunately, I needed a very specific piece of information from my client to complete the transaction.
When I called back the next day after going through 5 prompts (sales had 0 by the way) the person that answered had no clue what I was talking about. They transferred my to another department and the previous agent didn't tell them a single iota of the 7 minutes I had explained previously. After taking them through what I need (in cliff notes now) they were able to determine I needed to become an approved user on my clients account before I could call support. According to this person I would have to have my client call them and give my information. Keep in mind I already have my own account as an admin on my clients profile on the site. I explained this and was told of their protocols etc. At this point I am furious.
The package we are purchasing is expensive and they are not letting us buy from them unless we jump through 10 hoops backwards and on fire. I ask to speak to the sales agent I originally spoke to and the caller tells me that's impossible because I am not approved! The next day my client calls and they tell them we didn't need to take that step as I was listed as an admin, my client tell them to call me to complete the transaction. The original sales agent calls me and we finish in less 2 minutes.
Think of the last time you called a call center and had a bad experience, everyone has one if not tons. A common theme was the time it took to get you the information you needed to get you to whatever the next step was.
We can break these down into the following root cause categories:
Your customers journey from inquiry to sale requires that you plan to avoid these pitfalls and here is how. Below are 3 situations with two accompanying flow charts.
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Basic call routing: Call is answered by the operator. They attempt to transfer to the BDC rep the customer asked for. If they are not available she will most likely blind transfer to the BDC phone tree. From here it rings all phones until the quickest BDC rep answers. If the intended BDC rep is available they transfer, otherwise they make the customer repeat their request and attempt to handle the call.
Advanced Call Routing: Call automatically routes to the BDC rep. This is done a couple ways. The phone system identifies the CRM assignment and automatically routes the call based on the assignment. Customer calls a specific routing number assigned to the BDC rep. Before the call is routed the phone system evaluates if the agent is available. If they are not the call routes to a designated person or team. On their computer screen it shows them the call is for the original agent (who is either on the phone or gone). They quickly inform the customer they work directly with the other agent and immediately pull up the customers record all while following the appropriate script for this situation.
Basic call routing: Call is sent to the BDC phone tree ringing every phone in the department. The quickest BDC rep answers the phone call. The agent is unaware of the callers information, the source or location the call is for so they must handle this by asking the customer questions. If they handle multiple departments or locations they have to answer generically, "Thank you for calling ABC Auto Group, this is Steve how can I help you?" This 'first impression' puts the prospect on defense and lengthens the total call time. Sourcing is based on if the BDC rep asks and if the customer gives it (they may not even know). Contact information collection is also based on if the BDC reps ask and if the customer gives it. The logging of the call is up to the rep and the managers ability to cross check multiple reports.
Advanced Call Routing: Call routes to the BDC rep based on logic. The system evaluates the source and location then determines who has the highest skill level to handle that type of call that is in an available status. By segmenting the calls the highest performers receive the most important calls / more calls etc. Since we are using skill-based routing, as an example the rep can be certified to handle the manufacture for that location and trained on handling specific new or used car questions. Since agents will receive the same type of calls every day they become increasingly better at their focus. Your BDC performs like dozens of mini assembly lines where agents are specialized to perform their jobs. BDC reps know the advertising source, location and caller id information before they answer. They give a specific response, "Thank you for calling the pre-owned department at ABC Motors, this is Steve how can I help you? The BDC rep doesn't need to ask the source and when they ask for contact information they already have the name and number from caller ID. Data entry for inbound calls can now automated via http post integration with your CRM. All the rep adds is the additional information, appointment and notes. Call logging goes to near 100%
Basic call routing: The BDC uses either their number or a generic number that goes to the BDC phone tree. When the customer phones the number the call is answered by the quickest rep. They ask the customer for their information. Keep in mind customer forgets the name of the person that called them nearly half the time. This requires the BDC rep to search in the CRM to find who most recently called the customer and what they were calling about. The customer tries to explain what they may need and the BDC rep either transfers to correct rep or handles on their own. If the BDC rep left their personal number and the customer called after they left the call goes to voice mail where hopefully the rep contacts them back the next business day.
Advanced Call Routing: The customer calls back an individual number assigned to the specific BDC rep. This number is in all of their emails, voice mails and customers caller ID (on their phone). When the call hits the phone system it determines if the agent is available, if they are the agent gets the call. Before they answer they know the customer's information and that the call is call back from a voice mail. The agent answers the phone, "Good afternoon, Stacey, this is Steve thank you for calling me back..." If the BDC rep is not available it routes to a designated roll-over team. "Good afternoon Stacey, this is Sara, Steve informed me you would be calling and we work on the same team..." Calls do not go to voice mails in this system, everything is handled live by agents that are trained.
Thank you for reading my 4 part series on Managing your BDC like a Call Center. With 10 years of experience in call center operations both outside the auto industry and within, these tips I have learned the hard way. Effective communication is at the foundation of progressive companies.
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