The BDC as an entity has been a discussion point of dealers for a few decades now, and it is definitely not going away in 2021. In fact, the focus and importance of the BDC has taken on new meaning, and dealerships are realizing the need to manage and measure what their agents are doing, KPIs that count, and the overall objectives of the team.
BDC agents have had to adopt new methods of engaging with customers, communicating, building relationships, and making the car buying process as frictionless as possible. Creative communication with customers is more important than ever. It is up to the dealership to train these team members well and focus on the major end outcomes. If you have a BDC and are interested in either evaluating their effectiveness or enhancing their value, below are three elements you cannot ignore.
If you don’t have a BDC because of cost or previous lack of effectiveness, reach out to us and we can help!
Three Elements All BDCs Must Focus On
Ease of the shopping experience
One thing that we have learned in the past year is the sheer importance of convenience and ease of use when buying anything. I never purchased groceries online to be delivered to my home, but now--within just a few months--this is my new normal. Amazon has created an almost unattainable “ease of use” process, and it is one that we all need to strive for in automotive.
We are not at the “Buy Now” button stage of the game, but we should make every aspect of the shopping and buying experience as seamless as possible for your customers. Here are some ways the BDC can facilitate this:
- Ensure all the information is entered into the CRM in detail after a phone conversation or texting conversation. This is incredibly important because the customer has taken time to talk to the agent, answer questions, and give information. If the customer has to do this all over again with their sales consultant or someone else at the dealership, it will not only frustrate them, but completely negate what you are trying to accomplish with your BDC--an easy and expedited experience for the customer.
- Answer the lead/question/query as quickly as possible. The odds that you are the only dealership they have inquired to are slim, and you want to be the first to respond with the best response. You don’t win if you are the first. You win if you are the first and the best. That means your team has to know the process, read the lead fully, and then know how to answer the lead and provide the best information possible that will engage the customer.
Everyone wants to win the customer and be the first to respond, but leads don’t just come in from 8-5. You need to ensure you have a process in place for those after-hour leads, which lead us to our next point.
Round the Clock Representatives
Shopper's habits have changed over time, and these changes have accelerated in the past few years. The 24 hour shopping clock has become a norm in all areas of commerce, including automotive. Some dealerships have gone to 24 hour service bays (the customer drops off the vehicle at night, it gets serviced while they sleep, and then the vehicle is either delivered to their door or they can go pick it up before work the next day), and others have staff on hand around the clock to respond to customers when they inquire. And while this may seem extreme, these are dealerships who are leading the way and meeting customer needs before their competition.
If you do not have the staff, but are looking for a 24 hour solution, there are many Virtual BDCs that can assist, but you want to vet them with specific area s of focus in mind:
- Are they a US based virtual BDC?
- Are they staffed with agents who have been in or are experts in the automotive industry?
- Do they answer customer questions (within your guidelines) and know the keys to setting an appointment?
These are solid guidelines when looking for after-hours support or a fully functioning BCD for your store. If you need more information or help finding the best solutions, we can help you out!
Knowledge of the Brand/Product/Service
So, this is the tough part, right? Nothing good is easy, and a good BDC takes time, training, and management to be successful. If your agents are just there to “set the appointment,” but are not trained on product, process, or where to find information, they are only going to frustrate the potential customer and turn them off of your dealership. Remember, they are the front-line for your dealership. The first voice, the first communication. You need to make sure that it is as buttoned up as possible.
Make sure ALL Agents are trained in these areas:
- Basic communication skills
- Handling objections (to setting appointments, to further communications
- Setting appointments and appointment confirmations
- YOUR ONLINE PURCHASING PROCESS (This needs to be a priority)
- Your product line (as long as they know the basics and know where to find information quickly)
This is a great place to start, but remember--people will only do what is expected and inspected. So managing this, incentivizing this, and following up with each agent is of the utmost importance. If they are the face of the dealership, you need it to be the best face ever!