The future looks bright for service departments. According to research firm HIS Markit, the average age of a vehicle on the road today is a geriatric (for cars) 11.9 years. People are holding onto their cars longer, which can generate new business opportunities for your service department.
However, you can’t just expect a flood of service work. Someone needs to be picking up ringing phones, answering service questions, and calling overdue service customers before Google sends them to a shop down the street. How’s your phone coverage?
If it’s less than stellar right now, you’re not alone. Many dealerships are running super lean to keep the doors open. As a result, employees are wearing multiple hats and scrambling to get the work done.
There’s a lack of proper phone coverage – especially in service departments. Let me give you a real-world example. I got an email the other day that drove me bonkers. One of my BDC teams was trying to warm transfer calls back to a dealership because the customer had recall questions that only the dealership could address.
Every time they transferred the call, someone at the dealership picked up the phone and immediately hung it up! This department was losing business, inconveniencing the customer, and the GM didn’t even know it. What a colossal waste of time and money.
However, because the virtual BDC reported the problem, the GM knew about it, and fixed it, before the store lost more business. Without reporting, the problem could have gone on in perpetuity. Which brings me to my first reason why a virtual BDC is essential for your service department today:
Do you really know what’s happening when a call comes into your service department? Is your staff hanging up because they’re overwhelmed? Would you know? A virtual BDC monitors, records, and makes notes on every call. That information is pushed into compatible CRM’s so management can track calls and opportunities. There are no exceptions. If a BDC employee doesn’t follow the process, they cannot stay employed.
The issue of accountability came up recently with a store that cancelled its virtual BDC service. When I got the GM on the phone he insisted the virtual BDC was taking credit for appointments set by an employee he had hired and who was working from home. I showed him the automatic call trail which proved his employee was receiving appointments we had set, changing them into her name, and passing it off as her success. He was paying her to sit at home and every once in a while, she would log on and take credit for work the BDC had done. You can imagine he was furious. He fired her that day and rescinded his service cancellation. It goes to show a store can put processes in place, but without checks and balances there’s no accountability or proper ROI.
A virtual BDC provider employs agents, trains them, manages them, and handles any and all day-to-day issues. You are completely exempt from human resources headaches. They overstaff on purpose – using software to pinpoint exactly how much coverage you need every day – so it doesn’t affect your business if someone quits or calls in sick. Unlike with salaried employees, you also don’t have to pay benefits or grant sick leave.
It happens all the time: a service advisor is speaking with a customer in the store, the phone rings, and that advisor turns away from the customer in the store to answer the phone. That’s terrible customer service! A virtual BDC handles all the incoming calls so service advisors can do the work that makes you money – getting in the lanes, conducting MPIs, up-selling services, and getting more business.
A professional automotive virtual BDC knows the processes that work, the scripts that get results, and how to measure performance efficiency. A makeshift BDC does not have the structure, vision, or guidance, that a professional team can offer.
Your service department can generate new business as people keep their cars longer. But, you must have proper phone coverage to reach maximum potential. If you’re running lean and worried about phone ups slipping through the cracks, now’s the time to take a hard look at a virtual BDC. It’s your best bet to score inbound and outbound service business while keeping operating costs down.