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Traver Connect | bdc staffing
Traver Connect | bdc staffing
Traver Connect provides Service BDC Solutions, designed for nearly every OEM brand to support and help Dealers by #CatchTheCall, #LoadTheShop, and #RemedyTheRecall
Traver Connect, service BDC, Service BDC Solution, Catch the Call, Load the Shop, Backstop Assist Service BDC, Resque Service BDC, Answer All Service Calls, Free up service advisors, increase ROs service, OEM Branded Emails & Appointment Setting for Service Visits. Recalls. CSI. SOP, Outbound Calls & Emails Program. Robust Retention Process. Automated Tracking, BDC Support for Peak Hours & Missed Calls to Reduce Hold Times & FreeUp Advisors, Make Outbound Calls & Send OEM Branded Emails, Follow up on Service Visits, BDC Support for Peak Hours, missed calls to reduce hold times and free up service advisors
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Lack of Service Management and Advisor Buy-in.

Often top level leadership will make a decision to hire an outside Service BDC or create an internal one, because the assumption here is that advisors will be better off building a one on one relationship with customers and should not be bothered by a constant barrage of incoming call rings. This is absolutely the correct assumption and the right mindset. However, often this high level mindset is not properly communicated downstream to the service management or the entire service drive team. The result is a lack of a buy-in from the most critical group of people who are affected by this decision. When phones stop ringing for new business, advisors often feel like they are at the mercy of a third party for their earnings. A few examples here include, the ability to control their work load is taken away, some advisors will also not like the fact that they cannot cherry pick their customers (thankfully those advisors are usually in a small minority). Additionally some service managers will dislike the idea of giving a third party control of their shop loading operations, especially the ones who have clear and strong ideas on how to run their shops tightly. These are legitimate concerns which can turn into inter-departmental conflicts which then can have real effects on your bottom line. However, there is good news. These potential conflicts can be nipped in the bud before they fully blossom into full-blown crisis. Here is how: Involve your entire Service Management team and at least one lead advisor early on during the Service BDC discovery process. You will not only get their buy-in, but will also identify early detractors and potential problem creators. Bottom line is engaging your Service drive team early on will help to create a sense of ownership and allow them to have some skin-in-the-game.

 

Not the right Scheduler

On many occasions scheduling an appointment requires more complexity than a set of features available inside a typical web-based scheduler. It is important to truly assess your needs in relations to your customer base type and your profit goals. Selecting schedulers which do not fulfill your operational objectives, whether clearly spelled out or otherwise expressed via your day to day actions, may create a substantial gap between your revenue objectives and actual results. Also asking your service BDC agents to go beyond what can be achieved inside your chosen scheduler, may, from time to time, cause mistakes to happen which ultimately results in friction between your service drive and your service BDC.  This is not good and counter-productive. Get the scheduler which works well for both units with a good understanding of its capabilities and restrains. This will create alignment of business goals.

 

Not the right Business Development Manager (BDM).

One of the reasons why a service BDC may fail is a person who is not qualified is given responsibilities to launch and run it. One of the first requirements of managing a Service BDC should be good people skills which are inevitably tied to good communication skills. Service BDC operations are a contact sport all the way around. A BDM needs to be the conduit between your Service BDC agents and Service Drive team. Additionally, they must have the ability to logically and technically explain the “whys” behind your scheduling, loaners, rentals, recalls and pricing policies. The BDM needs to be a sufficient trainer, good coach, and needs to have the ability to hold his or her team accountable for results, himself/herself included. In addition, the BDM must be confident in every aspect of their job, which means they should spend sufficient time on the drive with advisors, and should be trained to personally take any inbound or outbound call duties as the business requires. As a side note, your Service BDC team will also benefit from the practice of new agents when hired, spending at least day or two with the Service Drive team to really taste the ‘dog food’.

 

Not clearly defining Service BDC Role & Expectations

Another reason why your Service BDC may fail is because different people within the same organization may hold different opinions as to why the Service BDC exists in the first place. For instance the Service Manager may assume the Service BDC works for his team’s convenience. Whereas, the General Manager may think the Service BDC exists because we were not capturing enough opportunities and putting too many restrictions on same-day appointments. One can see how a Service Manager who is more concerned with getting the ‘work-out’ would hold a completely different opinion on the true purpose of a Service BDC than the General Manager who is interested in getting more ‘work-in’. This does not happen at every dealership, however it is a common occurrence in the industry. Both are valid business positions coming from two different perspectives. This is why it is absolutely imperative that expectations are laid early on as to the reason why a dealership chooses to invest in a Service BDC and what exactly is the goal of that Service BDC. This must be agreed upon by all parties and documented for future use/education/re-education. Clearly defining the common objectives of the Service BDC is paramount, especially noting what it can do as well as what it cannot do. One thing worth mentioning here is that a Service BDC cannot fulfill the role of a dispatcher. An agent should not be encumbered with too many rules to account for just to book a simple service appointment. Get the customer in, train your service advisor to manage the expectations of the visit, and keep the machine moving. Leave yourself with enough room to maneuver and fulfill your OEM CSI obligations. It can be balanced, have confidence in your team to collaborate and deliver.

 

Lack of in-depth reporting and ROI.

The final piece to this puzzle sounds almost cliché based on how many times we all have heard it, but it’s worth repeating: “You cannot manage what you cannot measure”. If we were to mention one simple item to help dealers understand why reporting is so critical in identifying a true return on investment, it would be this: Take the total number of calls answered by your Service BDC in a month and divide by the total monthly cost of your Service BDC. If the number is higher than what a third-party is willing to take your calls for, then you better question the existence of your Service BDC and look for other options. Again its opportunity cost. Would you get more bang for your buck somewhere else? However, at the same time do not make a decision solely based on cost factors. Consider other intangibles which may bring unseen benefits to your Fixed Operations as well as your customers. Get granular with your Service BDC operational data. For instance: How well are your agents educating your customers on OEM recommended services? How efficient are your agents in taking calls per hour? What is the call count gap between the most productive agent and the least productive agent? What is your most productive agent doing different then your least productive agent? What can your organization learn from this gap? There are nuggets there, if you choose to look. So, be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions, because if you don’t you will fail. We don’t want you to fail. We want you to not only succeed by thrive.

By Karen Rust, Accounts Director Traver Connect

Staffing your BDC requires a strategic plan to be successful.  When you begin to recruit, you should know how many staff are required, potential call volume and the hours that will need to be covered.  This is essential information to get started.  However, there are daily challenges you must consider.  A few of them are addressed below:

  • Training – Ensure your training curriculum and trainer is prepared before you begin the hiring process. This is the first step in a successful BDC setup.  Ongoing training and development will be a must to keep your staff up to date on manufacturers’ products, services and recalls.
  • Day to Day Managing – When managing the day to day activities, you will need to make yourself available throughout the day to address concerns and answer questions. This may affect other duties that have been assigned to you.  Consider having a backup for when you are not in the building such as bad weather, vacation, illness, power outages, etc.
  • Quality Monitoring – This is one of the most important items you will address on a regular basis. You must have a plan in place to monitor the staffs calls and overall performance as your customers are the heartbeat of the business.  Performing quality checks can be time consuming and mundane but it is a critical part of your BDC’s success.
  • Quantity of Calls – Ensuring your staff handles calls in a timely fashion to best serve your customer and the dealership is essential. You will need to monitor the time your staff is available to handle calls to ensure their daily productivity.
  • Staff TurnoverBeing prepared for staff turnover is vital to running a smooth BDC environment. Your customers will be expecting prompt service and calls handled. Your staffing issues should not be their problem.  Consider having a funnel of qualified applicants that you can interview, hire and train quickly to be prepared as your call volume warrants.

As your business grows, running a successful BDC is crucial in continuing to provide the excellent service that your customer has come to expect from your dealership.

 

Let us start with this famous Thomas Edison quote: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. Same holds true today as it did way back then. If you are an OEM franchised auto dealership and tired of missing tons of customer inbound calls and have finally come to the realization that something must be done, you are no doubt thinking about the term ‘Service BDC’.

Although the definition and the purview of a Service Business Development Center (BDC) has evolved over a period of time, it is now safe to say that it is essentially your Fixed Operations customer experience center and perhaps even beyond. This is where the epic battle of customer retention for both Sales and Service plays out and it all starts with a “Hello”.

Whether you are thinking about hiring an outside company or engaging in a Do It Yourself (DIY) model, there is no lessening of the fact that this is a very critical customer experience function.

Traver Connect has an immense experience in this field. We are one of the pioneers in this space and have lived through the growing pains and the front line experiences like no other. We like to think we have somewhat turned this into a near science and are delighted to share some of the best practices with the industry.

Here are Five ways that will help you not only get your Service BDC off the ground but help maintain it and ensure its ongoing success.

1. Hiring the Right Agents: This is where it starts and no doubt that not everyone is qualified for this position. A Dealership must look for two strong traits to fill this position:

  • Attitude: The right attitude will overcome all obstacles trust me there will be many for this type of position to overcome. Service customers are not the easiest to handle. No one looks forward to getting their car fixed of course no one looks forward to having car troubles in the first place. So right off the bat this is a tense situation. Agent attitude will determine the tone on the phone and the smiling voice will go a long way soothing any customer pain points.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness is described by Dictionary.com as the “quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”. This may be a relatively newer concept to be considered for BDC agents but being present in the moment and having the right listening skills go hand in hand. If you’re agents are not listening to the customers wholeheartedly and showing empathy there is no way they can provide an equitable solution to their problems. This is a must have skill set in every Service BDC agent. But this can be developed as well.

2. Keep the Inbound call short and sweet: An incoming call to book an appointment is not the place to be dispatching a repair order. What do I mean by that? I will explain, but first let me start with Service CRMs. Today, where a web-based scheduling CRM has brought many advances in internal service reporting and ease for customers to book an online appointment, these advances are not without their collateral damage. Shorter call times it seems has been the main casualty here. One of the unintended consequences that has emerged from these modern tools, is that the dealerships which employ these Schedulers are increasingly dealing with longer call times and more complex business rules which must be executed by the BDC agents during the call. We have seen a correlation between the increased dealer usage of Service CRM features and longer call times. Let’s remember that Service BDCs are there primarily to catch the call and book an appointment, not necessarily to dispatch the repair order to the correct shop or the drive. We do understand that some of these policies may not be in direct control of the dealership themselves and may have been mandated by the OEMs, but keeping things extraordinarily simple will work wonders for not only your CSI rankings but will keep your Service BDC humming just at the right rate. Catch the call, book the appointment and move onto the next one!

3. Relentless Training: Launching a Service BDC is just half the battle. This is not a one and done enterprise. To achieve continued success, it will be incumbent upon management to be relentless and consistent with both their training message and methods. The key here is in addition to product knowledge, one must also laser focus in on call handling skills as well. For instance specific training in areas of how to properly greet customers on the phone and speak with proper tone and voice expressions is a must. First impression is the lasting one and nowhere else it rings truer than on answering a service call. Training on how to overcome customer objections on recommended maintenance packages and how to subdue an irate customer with empathetic words and phrases is mission critical. In addition to the areas mentioned above, it will be contingent upon dealer management to keep agents motivated throughout. Equipping Service BDC agents with the right training and tools will foster self-confidence and a firm buy-in in the process and the entire purpose.

4. Planting the ‘Maintenance’ Seeds: Although there are many services and repairs that require a proper technician multi-point inspection, nevertheless there remain a set of preventive maintenances which can easily be mentioned during an appointment call. For example with a second instance of an oil & filter change it may be advisable to rotate the tires based on vehicle history. Why not quickly offer that on the call? Or why not offer balance and rotate tires with the first brake pads replacement? Wheel alignment checks could also be included to this list. Again all we are doing is educating the customer on the call and setting them up for a more fruitful discussion on the drive with their service advisor. However first and foremost thing to keep in mind here is that it is always a soft-sell approach not a hard one. Let’s even take it a step further and call it a quick customer education opportunity. Planting the seed for what the vehicle may need in addition to just an oil change when reinforced by the service advisor on the drive will validate the need and increase your service penetration rates.

5. Measuring Both the Good & the Bad: With onsite dealership-based Service BDCs, dealers must understand that they have now added a whole separate department which requires active management. From making sure to hire right, to right training and then on to executing an effective appointment booking strategy, all these efforts will require that every instance of call event is properly tracked and analyzed for departmental fine tuning and agent performance. There will also be times when customers may need to escalate an issue to upper management, so it will be imperative that the underlined communication system utilized must allow for call metrics measurement and call recordings. Total calls to total talk time must be tracked. Average call time and peak call times must also be analyzed for proper resource optimization. A robust auditing of calls when required will go a long way towards resolving conflicts and provide management with coaching opportunities. Be diligent and fair with your measurement strategy but most importantly be thorough. There is no need to hide the flaws and inefficiencies in the system for any reason, because these flaws will help you design a better Service BDC for both the near and long run. Weekly reporting in call metrics must be shared across the organization and a proper ROI report must be generated to validate the expenses of the Service BDC to make it feasible. The Service BDC typically must be responsible for a healthy majority of your booked appointments and those appointments must be tied to resulting repair orders. An accurate insight into exactly the revenue your Service BDC generates for the dealership will help towards allocating additional funding for growth purposes. This powerful axiom: What you cannot measure, you cannot improve will be spot on with your Service BDC initiative.

In the end remember the call volume of Service BDCs versus Sales BDCs is like day and night, so the assumptions that, if we can run a Sales BDC we can run a Service BDC also, will not necessarily always hold true. With Service you are asking customers to spend money they rather not so the bar on the type of customer experience is completely different. The strategies which may work on the Sales side may not work at all on the Service side. Keep an open mind and get ready to roll up your sleeves and put on some overalls and off you go. Good Luck!

Without a doubt, the modern Dealership needs to adapt to the tech-savvy customer who is digitally connected. These same customers rely on word- of-mouth and seek the experiences shared by others by reading reviews or viewing images.

The power of communication

means that Dealerships can engage their customers quicker and easier using SMS text or email. Dealerships can confirm new appointments, services, or even send surveys directly to the customer’s device.

Mobile pay

allows Dealerships to get paid quicker, meeting the demands of the modern day customer. Offering a variety of methods to satisfy the customer will place your Dealership ahead of the rest.

Data and analytics

will drive your future Service BDC. Dealerships need to be analyzing a customer’s profile, such as their last oil change, number of miles until next service is due, brake change, tire rotation, etc. Most Dealerships don’t have the tools to understand their own data.

Speak to the Traver connect team to learn more GURA Text and Pay™ and GURA Desktop™, both of which will modernize your way to communicate, receive payments, and analyze data.