Many dealers feel they need both a sales and a service BDC based on advice from numerous industry trainers. The thought process is that the sales BDC’s job is to set appointments for sales customers and the service BDC sets appointments for service customers. But what if you combined the two to create a single service BDC? Service is the largest percentage of dealership revenue. It makes sense to have a service BDC. But not many dealers want to dissolve their sales BDC.
In a recent article in Automotive News, a dealership in Michigan moved its entire BDC to the service department and simply installed an Internet Manager for sales-related issues. It is certainly important to acquire inventory right now but, in addition, dealerships want to bolster service revenue as well.
This dealership’s decision to move the BDC to the service lane solved a myriad of issues. First, it saved money by no longer having two separate BDCs. Second, the dealership was able to train its BDC agents in how to schedule service and also identify vehicles that need additional service outside of any issue the customer originally called about. A system has also been set up so an Internet Manager can jump in should a customer be interested in potentially trading and/or selling their current vehicle for a new one.
According to the article, “The new approach has led to about 330 BDC-scheduled appointments per month, about 100 more than it got previously, and Internet sales close rates have doubled to nearly 20 percent.” Those are pretty impressive results from simply using their existing BDC differently. In addition, the dealership “has sold eight to 10 vehicles from the service lane and buys about 20 vehicles from service customers each month.”
These are similar to the numbers we see with clients at Recall Masters. By combining staff resources, utilizing systems more efficiently, designing new ones that further remove waste, sharing best practices and consolidating a stellar customer service experience, the strategy is paying off.
The dealership spends the same amount of money in employee expense, gets the inventory they desire in this hyper-competitive market, and the customer gets a new (or new-to-them) vehicle. And, just like dealerships have always done, they are offering incentives for customers that trade-in their used cars. Because of the lack of new vehicle inventory, the dealership gives the customer the option to get out of their existing vehicle and have a guaranteed “bonus” in the future.
This is a great idea because not only does the dealership gain inventory they can repair any warranty or recall repairs on, but they can also build brand loyalty from those customers who did not think they could trade in their vehicle at that time.
A service call center is relatively easy – and inexpensive – to implement. By combining the sales and service BDC into one entity, the dealer captured more service business, gained more inventory without fighting other dealers at auction, and, as a result, saw more service and sales. If this dealer can do it and see those results, there is no reason why any dealer – from the smallest to the largest – can’t deploy the same strategy and boost their bottom line.