Outsourcing your BDC is a big decision. It takes an immense amount of trust to allow a third party to handle your customers and make calls on your behalf, and sometimes the logistics and onboarding can be a daunting project. Whether you’re considering an outsourced service as a supplement to your BDC or handle all of your BDC processes, there are a few standard practices to make sure the BDC has in place. Here are our top ten MUST HAVE features for a standard virtual BDC.
1. Automotive Only
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The automotive Industry is a large and complex market, and outsiders struggle to keep up with the competitive and fast paced nature in dealerships. Working with an automotive-specific BDC, you have experienced experts representing your brand. You avoid any confusion about the little things that you may take for granted, such as an understanding of vehicle features, familiarity with CRMs, and insight into automotive-specific customer objections.
2. Project your Value Proposition
Your dealership’s culture and values are very important to you, and they should also be important to any partner you have a working relationship with. Your BDC should work directly with your sales team, whether they’re 10 feet away, or 10,000 miles away. Anyone representing you should be an extension of your team, remain consistent with your message, and project your core values.
Your CRM is the foundation of your operations, past, present, and future. It is necessary that the CRM be utilized and updated with any correspondence between agent and customer. If you neglect your CRM, you’re neglecting your pipeline. Your BDC should be able to provide regular reports on call tracking, results, and progress. This data should line up with CRM reporting, ensuring your BDC is operating consistently and effectively.
4. Dedicated & Experienced Agents
As previously mentioned, anyone who has not worked in the automotive industry will require extensive training before they will be able to work leads or answer customer questions. Make sure any prospective BDC service has agents who have automotive experience and are familiar with life in the dealership. This way, you avoid training costs, personnel costs, overhead costs, and employee turnover.
5. Dedicated BDC Manager
A BDC manager is typically responsible for daily operations within the BDC. Aside from confirming appointments and reviewing employee performance, it is also management’s duty to provide a positive work environment and offer coaching to constantly move agents in the right direction. In an outsourcing scenario, it is essential that your dealership has a dedicated BDC manager as their point of contact, so that your team has a resource for all BDC operations. Also, it is beneficial to look into the culture management has cultivated. Happy agents make happy calls and deliver you happy customers.
6. After-Hours Services
These days, coverage is important. Your customers are in transaction mode, and often the full customer experience is lost on the late-night browsers. 24-hour coverage is nearly impossible to duplicate in the dealership, but if you’re already outsourcing, it’s smart to expand your potential. After-hours capabilities allow you to be competitive and give your customers concierge-level service any time.
7. Quality Assurance Program
In a working relationship, trust is essential to success on both sides. When handing over the reins to an outsourced BDC, you must be sure your customers are being handled the way you want them handled. Call recording, call scoring, and time management should be standard practices, and detailed notes should be left on any interaction. An internal certification and training program heeds excellent results, especially when employee pay is dependent on performance and completion.
8. Real-Time Communication
An in-house BDC agent is capable of face-to-face interaction within minutes, able to ask questions or relay information instantly. The best way to replicate this in an outsourced model is to designate a chat channel that includes all agents on the account, the BDC manager, sales managers, and the “BDC Champion,” the BDC’s point of contact at the dealership. This channel should be used to communicate any special circumstances, customer concerns, hot leads, and most importantly, appointments. In addition to the team chat, live email alerts should be sent to sales managers to allow them to prepare for showroom traffic and preparation.
9. BDC Champion
You will need an on-site bridge between your BDC and your sales team to help facilitate changes, receive regular reports, and correspond with your remote BDC manager. This person is typically a sales manager, but could also be a BDC manager, sales rep, general manager, or anyone else you deem appropriate. The remote BDC manager and the BDC Champion will have a close working relationship and should be able to contact one another effortlessly.
10. Written Process
In order to ensure your BDC is operating transparently, you should inspect all processes before going live. If your BDC is unable to adhere to your pre-written processes, or unable to provide you with a written workflow of their standard processes, there is no accountability or order of operations.
In the age of COVID, interest in outsourcing has grown. During the bulk of the pandemic, many dealers heavily relied on outsourced BDC services to cover absences and facilitate the transition from in-person to virtual car shopping. Now that some sense of normalcy has returned to the world, dealers are expecting a return to the “just get them in” mindset, but customers have grown fond of the convenience that COVID protocols allowed. With the rising need for supplemental BDC staff, dealers need to understand that not all BDC services are created equal, and there’s no shame in being picky! Whether you choose to outsource with AllCall or not, these ten must-haves should be the standard of service in any BDC.