A lot of dealerships prefer using an internal sales and service BDC to maintain control of leads and processes. Yet, many struggle to measure what’s working and what’s not when it comes to maximizing the efficiency and productivity of every BDC agent. Are you among them?
The BDC is the glue that holds it all together when it comes to bringing traffic into your store. Managed properly, your BDC can help increase appointments, shows, sales, and closing percentages.
But how do you know if your BDC is performing well for your market, region, and target customer? Sure, we’ve all heard the benchmarks. For example, the industry standard is that for every 100 leads, 40 percent should set an appointment. Out of those 40 people, 20 people (50 percent) should show up. Out of those 20 people, 10 people should buy.
Another “industry standard” is that BDC agents should make seven calls and send five emails per lead over a 30-day period to achieve the numbers above. Is that true for your dealership?
There’s a reason many dealerships struggle to assess the effectiveness of an internal BDC: Every dealership is different. The benchmarks that work for one may be ridiculous for another. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
What you’re asking of your BDC may be completely different than the dealer down the street. I’ve been in stores where service BDC are tasked with up-selling the customer on the phone. If parts are needed, the same agent fulfills that order once the call is complete. These agents are likely making fewer calls, and the calls are lasting longer, then a service BDC tasked with simply setting an appointment. In this case, the number of dials each day is a poor metric of performance.
After more than 20 years in the auto call center business, including creating call centers for over a dozen of the industry’s biggest players, I have earned my reputation for helping dealers maximize BDC productivity and results according to their own specific business rules and metrics that matter.
I know there are four areas where you must identify and measure strengths and weaknesses in your current process to maximize BDC ROI.
Your agents are dialing, but are they connecting? Are they connecting with the right person? The number of outbound dials per day is far less important than your contact rate. Review call reports to determine when your phone calls work the best. Use this information to adjust call times and staffing so you have the most activity and proper coverage when you have the best connection rate and want to make the most outbound dials.
Your agents are connecting, but are those calls effective? Did they set the appointment? Or complete the CSI survey? Why or why not? Record calls so you can pinpoint problems. Agents may need better scripts, or more training. I often counsel dealers to identify their rock stars and then create mentoring programs so under-performers can learn from the best. You may want to offer a bonus or incentive to get your rock stars on board with helping other team members.
How much time are your agents spending working versus not working? Are they taking long breaks? Checking their personal phones before clicking to the next customer call? You have to be able to track and manage your agents’ time to maximize their productivity. Granted, this is difficult to do without the right software. Effective BDC software should require agents to log in and set their status as ready for a call. When away from their desks, they must change their status to unavailable and record why: lunch, break, training, etc. This holds them accountable for how they are spending their time, and alerts you when productivity drops so you can address the problem.
Are you reviewing call reports daily? Are you recording calls? These are your most important measurement tools. Every week, you or your BDC manager should hold one-on-one meetings with every agent. Review a recorded call with the agent and discuss what he or she is doing great, and what can be better.
Don’t be a slave to BDC industry benchmarks. Every dealership is unique. There is no magic BDC metric that every dealership needs to hit to grow business. What matters is that you know and measure your specific numbers and set your specific parameters. Once you know what works for you, you can spend time developing your people to maximize BDC ROI.