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In the automotive industry, customer service is king. If a customer has a poor experience, they simply move on to the next dealer. With today’s uncertain market conditions, you can’t afford to be passed over. Your Business Development Center (BDC) is one point of contact that should always be working for you, especially in today’s multichannel world‚ that’s the primary reason it’s there!

by Tasha Willingham

But what should you do if your BDC is not working for you and is consistently falling short of your expectations? In that event, you make sure your BDC knows your expectations and understand what to do to meet them.

Here are six tips for aligning your BDC with your expectations.

  1. Develop a list of best practices that align with your dealership’s culture.

Keeping your BDC synced with your expectations begins with culture. If your dealership takes a strong approach to community support and outreach, that should be reflected in how your BDC communicates. Your BDC should use community-focused language to help guide conversations with customers. This is very similar to branding where you use your guiding principles to drive your communication plan.

  1. Train your BDC staff according to your best practices and expectations.

Your staff members aren’t mind readers. Ultimately, if you want your BDC to undertake certain practices, you need to provide ongoing training. A common mistake with automotive BDCs is to train once and assume that all knowledge and skills are absorbed and applied, which is rarely the case. To truly ensure that your BDC is on board with your expectations, you need to train repeatedly, monitor for effectiveness, coach for improvements, and train again. Make sure to review customer calls and base feedback on actual conversations instead of speculation. Remember, it’s an ongoing process, not a one and done.

  1. Use performance management and tie it to outcomes.

Nothing speaks louder than incentives. Develop clear performance metrics and reward goals when met. Make sure to identify your period of measurement and help BDC staff understand how you will calculate success. Some common performance metrics for automotive BDCs include

  • Contact rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Appointments set
  • Customer satisfaction
  1. Appoint superstars to oversee your automotive BDC’s operations.

You need a knowledgeable person to keep an eye on the daily operations at your BDC. This person should exhibit skillful handling of difficult callers, think well on their feet, keep updated knowledge of inventory and other offerings, and display a good alignment with your dealership’s culture. Your superstars should be on hand during operational hours to assist and should work closely with BDC staff at all times.

  1. Provide quick-reference resources for different situations.

The more documentation you can provide your BDC, the more prepared they will be! Presence is proactive. Solid training programs are absolutely essential, but to keep alignment across your BDC on an ongoing basis, it’s good to give your BDC resources to keep on hand. Develop easy reference sheets and pass out copies to every employee. Position your documentation as a go-to resource for problematic calls and encourage all BDC staff to keep it close for when issues arise.

  1. Make sure you are all using the same tools.

One key element automotive BDCs need to get you through an inventory shortage is access to information. BDCs reps need to be able to see what you have available on your lot and also what service options are available. Make sure BDCs have access to this intel and it’s updated on a consistent basis keep aligned consistently.

Remember, your automotive BDC is an extension of your team so it’s important that they feel like a part of your organization. Take the necessary steps to keep your BDC informed and trained and you will see the payoff in revenue.

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