The Holiday Season is fast upon us, as is evident by the commercials already airing and the holiday decorations taking over stores. Every year the holidays seem to come sooner, and this year is even more challenging. Shoppers are still looking for vehicles, cars are still difficult to find, and staffing is a bigger issue than it has been in the past. And with the continued trajectory of online shopping (and buying), your digital presence is more important than ever.
2021 can still end strong, and dealerships can hit both their volume and gross numbers, but there are three elements that must be a focus to ensure you set yourself up for success-- and they revolve around leads and your BDC.
If you find yourself struggling with staffing, Better Car People has three ways to help ensure you are covered for the influx of leads as well as challenging human capital issues.
Ensure Your Team Is Staffed Adequately
To be truly set up for success, you need to have the right people in the right positions. The BDC department was one of the hardest hit in 2020, and is still struggling to return to adequate numbers. The BDC is generally one of the first touchpoints a customer has with your dealership. They are the first hello, the first call, the first text--the first engagement point that can either win customers over or give them a bad taste in their mouth.
It goes without saying that this is where the journey begins, and this department needs to have the right balance to be effective.
72% of franchised auto dealers surveyed say that finding and hiring the right employees is currently a challenge. (Cox Automotive)
Angela Drake, senior industry intelligence manager, Cox Automotive stated “While the outlook for dealerships has never been better, dealers state that finding employees is a challenge due to people not returning to their positions or the workforce post-pandemic.”
Many dealerships are still working with a skeleton BDC crew, and we know an average BDC agent can effectively handle around 130 leads (both fresh ups and residual 90-day leads). To ensure everyone is set up for success, you should evaluate your lead volume and staff appropriately, and then make sure your team is big enough and strong enough to handle your volume.
Finally, your rock-star employees are your best resource for the best new hires. Look to them for references, and consider adding a spiff if a referred employee stays for 3 months.
If you are not prepared for the monetary investment of hiring, training, and maintaining a full BDC, there are great, U.S.-based solutions that can either fill the gaps or be the fully functioning BDC you need.
Provide The Best Experience for Your Digital Customers
Once you have your staff/ solutions in place, they need to be trained to ensure your customers have the best experience possible. Inventory is down, therefore overall leads on specific vehicles are down as well. Each lead that comes in is now more important than ever before, and no dealership can afford to lose one.
Know how to respond
- Respond to each lead within 15 minutes.
- Respond with original, quality responses
- Address questions and provide information the customer requested
Know how to pivot
- Agents need to have the ability to pivot when the customer pivots
- Agents should find information quickly and be able to send to the customer
- Agents should have the ability to represent the dealership in a knowledgeable and professional manner.
Know how to listen to the customer
- Ask the right discovery questions to assist the customer
- Listen to the answers, and do not rely only on the first vehicle on interest
- Provide information based on the discussions
The Journey Starts and Ends with Google - Respond Accordingly
The team is in place, your leads are being responded to-- now how do you keep customers coming back for service and sales? Because as much as you want to finish 2021 well, you also want to set yourself up for success in 2022. The journey starts and ends with Google. Specifically Google My Business.
The first thing to review is that all of your GMB accounts are up to date. I say all, because by now you should have separated your sales and service accounts so that they have two different Google My Business knowledge panels. If you have yet to do this, here is how.
Other elements to ensure are enhanced for customers:
- NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
- Updated offers
- Videos that highlight your community involvement, products, or culture.
This is the final tip to make sure you are in the best position possible for current and future sales and service customers. Following these tips will increase your overall review numbers, help your relevancy with Google, and showcase your incredible customer-first mentality to potential buyers.
- Ensure that you are sending customers a link to your Google My Business review page shortly after the purchase
- If you have separated your sales and service pages, remind service to use the correct GMB page. If you separate the pages, but do not send reviews to the appropriate page, you will not gain the review volume and relevance that Google needs to showcase your GMB listing.
- Respond to all reviews if possible, but at least 50% of the positive and 100% of the negative reviews. If you need ideas on the best ways to respond, check out these helpful hints.
Responding to texts, calls, and reviews on Google My Business is a high-level priority for your BDC. As referenced above, ensure the training is there to ensure excellence on all levels.
Better Car People offers premium omnichannel engagement solutions to fit every dealership size and budget. We can assist with a staffing shortage at a % of the cost of an agent, or we can be your Virtual BDC. After engaging with well over 1 Million Leads, we know a thing or two about talking to automotive customers.