There is no doubt that fixed ops is one of the most integral parts of a lucrative dealership. With around 44% of the dealership’s gross profit, it is vital to grow, nurture and develop the customer experience in service. A robust and well-developed Service BDC will help you grow your business, maintain service loyalty, and increase the service-to-sale conversions.
What is a Service BDC?
The main function of a Service BDC is to assist the dealership by engaging with customers, loading the shop with appointments, and developing the business. The most powerful function of a Service BDC, though, is time.
Service Advisors (and sometimes managers) should have their focus on the customer in front of them. Whether it is to assist, explain, provide additional needed services–customer service and experience should be the key. If they are sidetracked with phone calls, texts, and reaching out to customer lists, their focus and time is split, and the customer experience is diluted.
A Service BDC is an efficient solution that will not only build your service customer base, but also give your Advisors the time they need to spend with the customers in front of them.
Why is a Service BDC Important?
Historically, dealerships have focused their BDC and engagement efforts on the sales side. The drive to bring in new customers, create activity, and sell units is the primary purpose of a dealership. But if you are looking solely at profitability, service is the main driver.
According to an Edmunds study of NADA data:
With Service as the main driver of gross profit, it stands to reason that a Service BDC should be an important part of the dealership ecosystem. Engagement with customers regarding service retention, service loyalty, and customer satisfaction is key to continued growth; that should all be executed by a well functioning, well trained, and well-executed Service BDC.
Remember, a Service BDC can increase customer traffic, loyalty, and retention. But it will only work as well as the agents who are trained and prepared.
Building a Service BDC
Service BDCs, while similar to Sales BDCs, have different needs and areas of focus. It is important to set up your Service BDC specific to the needs of the customers as well as your service team.
Here are a few areas that should be addressed:
- Choose a manager who not only has been trained on managing a BDC, but one who also has knowledge of how your service team functions and communicated with the customers
- Adequately staff based on service engagement. Service customers have a much different schedule of engagement than sales, so you will need to evaluate the time and volume of service calls and then hire BDC agents appropriately
- Training is key. Train your management and agents on customer service and best practices for working with service customers. 76% of customers state it is easier than ever to take their business elsewhere if they are dissatisfied (Salesforce). Ensure your customer’s stay loyal by providing excellent service and engagement.
- Have staff available 24/7 to ensure every customer is attended to in a timely manner. If you cannot or do not have the staff to do so, consider an outsourced Service BDC for afterhours, or use an outsourced BDC in place of staffing and training agents
It is critical to start off with a plan in place if you want to see success.
How To Evaluate Your Service BDC
Once you have a Service BDC, you will want to evaluate the ROI. Staffing, training, and benefits are expensive, and you need to measure productivity and return to ensure you are getting the value from the investment.
You cannot manage what you don’t measure.
Here are a few key elements to measure from your Service BDC.
Appointment Show Rates
Industry standard is that 75% of service appointments will show, with many dealerships closer to 85%. Are your dealerships seeing similar results? Your BDC should be calling and confirm appointments, sending text messages as reminders (if the customer has opted in), and provide the customer with necessary information to ensure the experience is seamless.
Implementing these small efforts will help with overall appointment rates as well as customer satisfaction.
It takes on average 3-4 calls to connect with a customer. Without a dedicated BDC, most Advisors make 1-2 calls. Ensure your BDC is attempting engagement with the customer at least 3 times. Engagement rates will increase, service loyalty should jump, and appointment show rates will benefit as well.
Starting a Service BDC is not a simple task, and takes time, resources, and training to ensure it is done effectively. But it is worth the investment when CSI increases, appointments are set, and your shop is fully booked with customers.
If you are looking for an outsourced Service BDC solution because time, resources, staffing, and funds are top of mind, check out Better Car People’s Service BDC Platform™. We are service engagement experts and work 24/7 to make sure every single customer is contacted. And with over 2 million service appointments set, we know a thing or two about service customers!