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Is Your Service BDC Department Evolving?

Is Your Service BDC Department Evolving?
June 1, 2022

IS YOUR SERVICE BDC DEPARTMENT EVOLVING?

Service BDCs were born years ago to simply get the phones answered. Instead of profit centers, they often became glorified switchboards. Today, every dealer can access a range of tools from chatbots to digital voice assistants (DVAs) to handle routine tasks and answer ringing phones. A dealership that evolves past the switchboard model and leverages these tools can develop a BDC that proactively develops business and generates revenue – instead of simply reacting to inbound calls. How can your service BDC get started? Here are five ways to evolve in 2022.

FIVE WAYS YOUR SERVICE BDC CAN EVOLVE

1. Equip agents to handle customer escalations and service recovery. Too often agents feel helpless when a customer is angry or they can’t answer service questions. The immediate reaction is to fall back on the switchboard model and send those calls to the service drive. Instead, train and empower agents to handle more difficult or involved conversations. This frees up service advisor time and allows agents to be true customer service representatives, not simply order-takers. Worried about inbound calls ringing unanswered? Leverage a DVA to handle routine inbound calls. Integrate the DVA with your online scheduling tool and agents never have to touch simple, routine appointment requests. 

2. Train agents on sales skills and overcoming objections. Agents are supposed to be there to develop business, but do they have the necessary training? Often they cannot take ownership of calls because they don’t have the skills. Train agents to plant the seed of upcoming maintenance, or alert the customer to a vehicle recall. They don’t have to sell the service, but a recommendation will likely linger in the mind of a customer. The customer is more likely to approve the service in the drive when the advisor mentions it again. 

3. Ensure the BDC Manager knows how to identify and fill capacity gaps. Service scheduling is about selling time. Gaps in the schedule are a direct hit to your bottom line. Your BDC Manager must know how much time you have to sell in a day, must pay attention to no-shows and cancellations, and must be able to pivot and use agents to rescue canceled appointment slots. It's massively important to keep the schedule full, especially when many shops are running two to three weeks out. A DVA to answer inbound calls is a proven way to ensure agents have time to call customers and fill those gaps. 

4. Prioritize reducing scheduling horizons. With shops across the country running at capacity it’s becoming common for appointments to be booked out for weeks, even months, in the future. A customer who calls expecting to get in right away will be frustrated and may turn to another shop or a Jiffy Lube down the street. Agents can shorten that horizon and save appointments by proactively calling customers before the service is due. For example, if your shop is booking out two months in advance, agents can pull a list of customers due in a month and get them on the schedule now. This saves CSI issues and balances the workload of the BDC and the drive. 

5. Consider handing some advisor tasks to BDC agents. Yes, this is a controversial suggestion. But, hear me out. As people hold onto their cars longer, advisors are more overwhelmed than ever with traffic in the drive, paperwork, and the necessary follow-up to get customers in and out of the shop. Agents can help advisors with status checks and upsells during the visit, as well as updates to get vehicles out of the drive faster. The catch is off-loading necessary BDC work so agents can take on new responsibilities. Again, using a DVA for inbound calls is a proven way to free-up agent time so they can help advisors deliver a better customer experience. 

DON'T JUST SURVIVE… THRIVE

A service BDC can be a powerful profit center. Leverage technology to handle routine tasks and free-up agents to make revenue-producing calls and actually develop business. Those service centers able to evolve and change will survive. 

This Article was Originally Featured in Fixed Ops Magazine

To hear more about this topic check out our episode of PDS On The Rocks: 5 Ways Your Service BDC Should Evolve in 2022

About the Author:
Tiffany Peeler is the VP of Sales & Operations for Proactive Dealer Solutions. Joining the Proactive team nearly a decade ago, Tiffany 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 in delivering industry-leading solutions to improve upon the customer experience and dealership profitability for over 1,200 North American dealerships. Tiffany was invited to speak at Nissan’s 2022 Dealer Digital Summits for the Mid-Atlantic Region and the Southeast Region. Tiffany was a 2018 Women in Automotive Conference speaker.