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Should your Dealership Invest in a Service BDC?

January 24, 2022

The need for Service BDCs has been discussed as much as the need for digital retailing or an online buying process. Automotive continues to revisit these topics, recognize their impact, but not everyone has jumped on board. 

Now may be the time to move forward with a Service BDC. New car volume is down (yet sales are highly profitable) and consumers are holding onto their vehicles longer than ever. Between the inventory shortage, chip shortage, and supply chain issues, the cost of vehicles has gone up, inventory is difficult to obtain, and there are more used vehicles on the road than before. And while this is not the overall best scenario for new vehicle sales, service needs to take advantage of the overwhelming opportunity right now. UIOs have increased and it is up to the dealership to try to obtain their unfair share of the market.

Service BDCs are the best way to engage with customers, set appointments, follow up on services, and ensure overall customer satisfaction. All of this while freeing up time for the service advisors and managers to focus on the customers in the lane.

If you have thought about implementing a Service BDC and have yet to do so, here are three reasons this should be a focus for 2022. 

Answer service leads/inquiries quickly

Having a Service BDC in place will help ensure that customer inquiries and requests are handled quickly and efficiently. Service Advisors are not engagement specialists and pulling them away from the customers in front of them to have them handle phone calls, online, text, email requests are costing you money and making them less efficient. 

Historical research that still proves true today is that leads answered within 30 minutes versus 5 minutes drops 100X. This is true for both sales and service. If there is an inquiry about a specific service needed or a part they would like to purchase, and the customer is not answered in a timely manner, they will look elsewhere. And it is easier than ever to find what you are looking for online if you are not satisfied with the customer service at your dealership.

Service BDCs help bridge the gap between customers and your service lane.

Create a team or partner with an outsourced solution to ensure every lead, appointment inquiry, and maintenance notification is handled within minutes, not hours, or even days. 

If you choose to build your Service BDC in-house, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you will want to hire a manager who will oversee your BDC agents (generally 2 to 3 agents, but those numbers depends specifically on size and volume of your service department), and ensure they are trained well on all forms of engagement as well as asking for and setting the appointment if necessary. These elements are key to success and vital to the growth of your department.

Have a process in place for maintenance notification leads

Depending on the OEM you work with, maintenance notifications can be a large priority for the manufacturer, the bulk of your service leads, and also a great opportunity to maintain loyal customers. As these leads come in (and continue to grow in volume), you will need a process that will assist in reaching out to customers quickly–setting appointments, or gathering valuable information you need to clean up your database. 

Regardless of how you train and develop your team to respond to these maintenance notifications, you want to ensure that every lead is responded to. And if the customer does not engage on the first attempt, having a follow-up plan will increase your engagement rates and set more appointments.

Have a strong Outbound Engagement Process

One of the largest areas of opportunity for any service department is calling their outbound lists. Whether the customer has defected, declined service, or is in an equity position, these lists are a low priority for most Service Manager’s daily tasks, but high value to the dealership. Those customers are critical for both increased revenue and retention. 

A Service BDC is trained in conversational tactics and ready to call customers who may have not engaged with prior communications. Service Advisors and Managers are too busy during the day to reach out and engage customers, but for a Service BDC, that is one of their only priorities. 

There are a slew of customers sitting in your database that have been ignored because of time constraints, focus, and staffing. A Service BDC ensures that these customers are reengaged, not forgotten.

Follow up with customers to ensure quality and increase positive reviews

Finally, post-visit follow-ups are key to maintaining positive CSI and gaining review volume. 88% of consumers say online reviews play a part in deciding which local business to work with. Building review volume is critical–especially if you have recently separated your Google Business Profile to both Sales and Service. Your service reviews need to be built back up again, and having your Service BDC call after an appointment is one way to do this.

  • Service BDC Agents can call the day after the appointment to briefly survey the customer
  • If the customer was happy, the agent can send a link to the customer that will take them directly to your Google Business Profile where they can leave a review
  • If the customer was dissatisfied, then the agent can connect the customer to the Service Manager directly before the customer can leave negative reviews online. 

What Now?

If you have a Service BDC, inspect the process and make sure they are meeting three basic criteria of engaging with customers, setting additional appointments, and reaching out for post-service reviews.

If you do not have a Service BDC, it may be time to look into building one in-house, or looking at outsourced options. If you are looking for a virtual Service BDC, Better Car People can help!

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