Enlisting a Digital Voice Assistant (DVA) to handle routine inbound service questions and appointment requests is a no-brainer for BDC managers and service advisors. Who doesn’t want 100 percent connectivity, a better customer experience, and the opportunity to re-allocate staff to revenue-generating activities like calling customers who previously declined services?
The harder sell is to your BDC agents. Understandably, many will worry a DVA may jeopardize their jobs. I’m not going to sugar-coat it: it may. Depending on your business goals, a DVA can replace a few agents if you’re looking to cut labor costs. But if your agents are stellar and your goal is to free them up to actively manage customers back into the drive, a DVA can be their best friend.
Here’s why: Up to 30 percent of the calls agents take are not appointable. I’m talking about routine FAQ calls, such as customers asking about your service hours, wanting to know your location, etc. Agents get bogged down with these types of calls that offer no opportunity to earn bonuses. A DVA eliminates these calls so agents get a higher volume of appointable calls and the opportunity to earn a lot more money on outbound calls.
The way to really get agents on board is to adjust your call appointment show bonuses. Take routine calls off an agent’s plate, and making more money is the carrot to rev up outbound calling. I suggest the following bonus schedule:
- $1 for every inbound appointment that shows.
- $3-5 for every outbound appointment that shows.
- $5 for every previously declined service appointment that shows.
As a manager, I’m going to be excited to allow my team to focus on managing customers back into the drive, helping them make more money, and eliminating reactionary work. A DVA gives agents the bandwidth they haven’t had before to reach out to more customers and make more money.
It’s crucial to share the strategy behind bringing on a DVA with your BDC team. Explain how they can make more money. Talk about how 100 percent connectivity leads to a better customer experience and a busier service department. Share scripts and tips for making successful outbound calls.
I think it’s also worthwhile to discuss with your team how a DVA works in the dealership. A DVA integrates with your DMS and scheduling tool to quickly and efficiently make customer appointments. It recognizes returning customers, pulls vehicle make and model for a personalized call, and schedules a service in as few as three minutes. It easily answers routine questions, and quickly transfers customers to the appropriate department if they need more help.
Interestingly, a DVA can even unveil problems with a scheduling tool that are negatively affecting business. For example, I had a dealer call me to say his DVA was not scheduling appointments on Wednesdays. It thought his shop was closed, when it was very much open. We looked at his scheduling tool and sure enough, it was set for the shop to be closed on Wednesdays. Wednesdays also appeared to be unavailable for customers attempting to schedule a service through his website. Without the DVA tied into his tool, it may have taken weeks for his team to realize the problem.
A DVA can help your service business in numerous ways. Get your BDC agents on board by explaining the benefits and adjusting your bonus schedule so they can make more money and deliver a better customer experience. It’s a win-win any way you look at it.
Tiffany Peeler is the VP of Sales & Operations for Proactive Dealer Solutions. Tiffany joined the Account Management team in 2014 and quickly became recognized for driving growth and retention with her expertise in developing and delivering effective coaching solutions. Today, Tiffany leads the sales and fulfillment teams with a laser focus on delivering industry-leading solutions to improve upon the customer experience and radically improving dealership profitability for over 1,200 North American dealerships.