Discussions with Proactive Dealer Solutions’ (PDS) customers and prospects almost always gets around to whether the dealer and senior leadership want to implement an in-house Business Development Initiative or outsource the program, in part or in its entirety.
PDS has been a leader in BDC setup, training, innovation, and recruiting for the better part of three decades, and we’re known as “The BDC Experts,” having worked with thousands of dealerships across North America. There are literally dozens of reasons to implement an in-house business development initiative. The partial list includes: having well-trained staff; consistency in processes; enhanced communication; specialized service; improved internal and external communications; utilizing the latest technology; and building and then taking advantage of a strong digital presence.
These are strong reasons and should be carefully considered, but there are challenges in implementation, and depending on the dealership’s culture, size, access to capital, and other issues, an in-house BDC may not be the best strategy. But make no mistake, having a strategy to handle inbound and outbound leads is vital, and an out-sourced virtual BDC may be the way to go, especially for service. Over time, however, we’ve learned the objections to setting up an in-house BDC and understand there are times when outsourcing this must-have service makes good business sense.
If a consumer calls your dealership for service, there is every likelihood they are calling to set up an appointment for scheduled maintenance or a repair. If the call is lost, dropped or abandoned, or handled improperly, the consumer just Googles and clicks the next name on the list. With service advisors and managers strapped for time, it’s often impractical for them to make outbound calls to maximize service capacity or boost customer retention with calls regarding first maintenance, open recalls, seasonal service specials, and promotions. That’s where a proactive Virtual BDC for Service makes perfect sense.
It’s the most obvious reason for an outsourced BDC. Training takes time. Finding the right people, training and equipping them properly takes at least 6 months and costs the dealership about $10,000. Obviously, if you’ve outsourced this service, the vendor incurs the costs of hiring and training. At Proactive Dealer Solutions, we have the benefit of years of data gathering and fine-tuning our training processes and systems. In fact, we train more than a thousand sales, service, and BDC associates every year. We’ve also created a cloud-based training platform. Rest assured, our Virtual BDC for Service personnel have gone through this training and are required to continually improve. By outsourcing your service BDC with us, training becomes a non-issue.
2. STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM
Regardless if you use an in-house BDC or outsource it, it will require an interface with your DMS and CRM, as well as sophisticated call monitoring technology. We continually improve our systems and processes as the result of requests from our clients and new technology as it is unveiled and rolled out. Our proprietary systems utilize speech-to-text analytics, voice recognition, artificial intelligence, and other tech ingredients, that our virtual BDC associates are trained on and become experts at utilizing. This gives you an edge in the marketplace.
3. LOWERED RISKS
Setting up an in-house BDC requires buy-in from leaders and selling it to key managers. It requires equipment purchases, contracts, data collection, analysis, a commitment of time, personnel, space, and more. There is a significant capital investment that can be minimized, and when done well have a very strong ROI. There are, however, risks. Leadership can change, systems fail, poor managers, and other factors that can lead to failure. With an outsourced BDC, you only pay as you go. Good services require no long-term contracts, so the dealer’s risks are minimized.
4. INCREASED AVAILABILITY
Dealers on our Virtual BDC for Service platform continually let us know their greatest enjoyment comes from arriving at work in the morning to find new appointments set overnight. While the dealership’s employees were home with their families, appointments were being made and verified by our team. Dealers with an outsourced BDC department can set the hours they would like calls and online inquiries to be fielded.
5. RELATIVE LOW COST
The reason most dealers opt for a virtual BDC is scalability. By starting out small, they can increase gross profit and grow the size and scale of their Virtual BDC for Service to fit their needs. With no long-term contracts, they can opt to go big, remain at a smaller level, or discontinue the service all together. Outsourcing a BDC can be very cost-effective.
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