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Evolving Your BDC With a Digital Assistant

Evolving Your BDC With a Digital Assistant
November 9, 2022

Evolving Your BDC With a Digital Assistant

The automotive industry continues to see difficulties with personnel hiring and employee retention. Some reports, such as this one released by Cox Automotive, back this up with solid data showing that 72% of franchised dealers feel it is difficult to identify and hire the proper workers.

This report also shows that the BDC Specialist function is one of the top roles dealers plan to increase. More specifically, approximately 41% of dealers that lean heavily on technology, those that outsource three or more aspects of their digital retailing, intend to expand this BDC function.

Based on data such as this, it seems obvious that adding BDC agents, especially to handle incoming service calls, is a wise use of funds. After all, up to 30% of inbound calls to service at a typical dealership currently go unanswered. 

After all, up to 30% of inbound calls to service at a typical dealership currently go unanswered.  According to statistics, 68% of those missed calls result in lost opportunities, which is obviously unacceptable for business growth.  When considering the lower pay of entry level jobs, such as those responsible for answering phones, it makes finding and keeping agents much more challenging.

Customer speaks with Digital Voice Assistant on the phone

A Digital Voice Assistant (DVA) can help with that. DVAs of the present day behave and speak just like real humans. Considering the millions of consumers who have grown accustomed to using Alexa or Google Home in everyday life, a DVA will feel much more comfortable and familiar than in days past. This allows for the use of this same voice technology when it comes to service calls and scheduling appointments.

A DVA overcomes the challenge of missed calls without the complexities of sick days, PTO, and other human needs. A digital voice assistant consistently and efficiently returns every call, collects contact information, and ensures requests for appointments are made on every call. The superior performance of a DVA therefore allows for drastic improvements in how your BDC handles customer calls.

A Digital Voice Assistant for Dealerships

An AI digital assistant offers so much that human employees cannot. This is not to say that your employees are not valuable to your business. Quite the contrary, in fact. Your human employees are capable of handling important tasks that require a living person with emotions and intellect. This is the exact reason why these employees need to be free for the more pressing matters of day-to-day operations.

AI digital assistants allow for that focused effort to continue while also ensuring other tasks are accomplished efficiently and effectively.

Among the tasks that AI helpers are capable of performing, some of the most valuable are those that free up employees to focus on the matters at hand. All incoming calls for Service can be handled by the conversational AI-enabled voice assistant, ensuring that customers are immediately connected to the appropriate person or department during business hours. An efficient digital voice assistant can also provide customers with a professional experience 24 hours a day, seven days a week at a lower cost than employees or outsourced BDC operations. 

AI digital assistants can respond to frequently asked questions, schedule appointments, and capture messages. Many dealerships have found that a digital voice assistant's capacity to handle many service calls at once is advantageous to their human workforce, allowing staff to look after in-dealership clients while the BDC concentrates on outbound calls.

Through standardized procedures, a digital voice assistant improves the customer experience and frees up the managers' time that would otherwise be spent on recruiting, supervising, and training BDC workers. With each call that is handled, the AI learns, allowing this technology to become more refined and advanced every day. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) digital voice assistants use real-world communication tactics that feel human, with questions and answers leading to the intended results, rather than requiring a caller to dial a specific number to reach their chosen department. This lifelike experience is more engaging and appealing than the robotic experience we have all unfortunately grown accustomed to.

How a Digital Assistant Makes a Difference

Auto dealers lose money as a result of missed opportunities due to unanswered calls. Using a voice assistant for dealerships, you can achieve a response rate of 100%. Regardless of when a call comes in—late at night, at lunch, or after business hours—a digital voice assistant will answer that call and take care of the caller professionally and consistently.

The conversational AI-enabled voice assistant can manage all incoming calls for Service, making sure that customers are connected to the right department or individual right away.

Automotive Digital Voice Assistant that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI)

One of the most frequent reasons customers call a dealership is to seek an answer to their questions, which can easily be answered by an AI voice assistant. Consumers can get a professional experience with an AI voice assistant seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, for less money than they would spend on staff or an outside BDC company. An AI voice assistant has added receptionist skills, with quick assimilation and curation of information, when it comes to managing customer sales demands. 

The software, which is simple to set up and easily communicates with current VoIP networks, controls the entire phone system. An auto dealer digital voice assistant enhances customer service while saving managers time on recruiting, managing, and training BDC staff through the use of standard procedures. That equates to saving money and fewer lost customers.

Keys to the Evolution of your BDC

When it comes time to move your dealership forward and evolve your BDC, even when preparing to implement a digital assistant, there are some key things to consider. Here are five of the top points to consider for evolving your BDC in general that you should be mindful of before investing time and effort into this journey.

Empower BDRs to handle escalations and service recovery

You need to be prepared to empower your BDC agents. A manager shouldn’t have to handle every call, however, when your agents don’t feel enabled to deal with emotionally elevated situations themselves it leads to more escalations. Train your agents to get out of a reactionary mindset, and train them instead to proactively seek out solutions and then deliver those solutions to the customer. 

A great way to gauge your progress in this effort is when you can measurably see reduced phone calls ringing through to the service drive. BDC agents should not be in the mindset of being a switchboard or order taker, but rather, they should feel capable of dealing with most any situation themselves.

Build sales skills and the ability to overcome objections 

You hire your BDRs for their people skills and their ability to deliver results. Help them to use those skills more effectively. Training your BDRs to do this more effectively is the key to growing your dealership. Teach agents to proactively look for customer needs and then plant seeds in the customer’s minds about what to expect on this and future interactions. 

Digital Voice Assistant helps free up employees to get more training

Remember, consistency is key. It does no good to run a competition once, and then forget about those skills the next month. Train your team in sales and positioning skills. Help them recognize opportunities for positioning the customer with a mindset for upcoming service needs. This ongoing training will further help your team know how to take ownership of the call and be true representatives of your dealership.

Identify and fill capacity gaps

Service BDC managers should be well aware of what goals need to be hit, how cancellations are impacting workflow, and how upcoming schedules will further create opportunities and challenges. This is about communication, and it takes practice. BDC managers need to know how to pivot when there are gaps, utilizing BDRs to reach out to customers and rescue cancellations. Leveraging a DVA tool can simplify and improve this effort.

Master reducing scheduling horizons

Does your BDC know how to backfill scheduling? Can you book an appointment on the same day, and if not, how far out will the appointment have to be? Master your scheduling tool with daily communication between the service manager and the BDM. Reach out to customers and try to pull them forward when opportunities present themselves. Understanding the schedule and how it will impact each day, week, and month will not only allow you to more effectively run your dealership, but will also allow you to maximize your resources and use them more successfully.

Become comfortable with status updates

BDCs are often left holding the bag when there is uncertainty about the status of a customer's vehicle. Being proactive and using tools such as text messaging allows for clear communication with customers while also maintaining order. Scheduling tools can also help by offering accurate information, but it requires someone to move a vehicle through the stages correctly and on time. Being mindful of this will help to prevent advisors from spending their time on this type of work. 

Getting Your Dealership Started

Using a digital voice assistant for automotive dealers turns you into an AI-powered dealership. During business hours, this system manages and answers all incoming calls automatically. After hours, the system can handle all customer needs the same as a human would, without costly overtime or excessive staffing requirements.

There are beginning to be more options on the market for this advance in your auto dealer efficiency, but the original and leading solution is Brooke.ai, created by the long-trusted automotive consulting experts at Proactive Dealer Solutions.

Get started today with a free consultation call to our team or Book a Demo to see this digital assistant in action. 

To hear more about this topic check out our episode of PDS On The Rocks: Tully Williams Goes All in on Brooke.ai

 Presidentof Proactive Dealer Solutions
Jason Beckett is the COO and President of Proactive Dealer Solutions, a leading provider of training and software solutions for the automotive industry. With a background in product development at Blackberry and infotainments systems and a Master of Business Administration, Jason joined Proactive Dealer Solutions in 2014, bringing his expertise in strategic planning, product development, and project management.