[Posted May 12th, 2014 by Keith Shetterly]
The Business Development Center, usually abbreviated as “BDC,” typically refers to a call center of customer service representatives. Automotive BDC support staff use computer system software designed to assist the dealership with virtually every aspect of car buying and servicing. Although the BDC concept is used in several different industries, it is most commonly associated with the automotive industry.
These days the Internet is an essential part of the automotive business. In fact, most experts estimate that over 90 percent of vehicle buyers start their search online. However, the average dealer does not take full advantage of the Internet, only closing about 10 percent of the total number of online inquiries. To this end, the automotive BDC contacts every Internet lead that comes in, usually via a contact form on the dealership’s website.
Auto response templates and call phone scripts are tailored to the potential buyer’s interests, and the customer service representatives strive to set up appointments with the sales consultants. Thus the BDC connects Internet leads with the sales floor, ensuring that they focus on long-term follow-up, which in turn can convert more leads into sales.
Equity and Trade
The BDC also attracts more clients through equity and trade incentives. The BDC can do that through an effective and comprehensive equity-and-trade marketing solution. With its database of potential and one-time buyers, BDC departments can send monthly email messages that include the latest lease and payment offerings. One-time customers in a positive equity position can be turned into lifetime clients if they can reduce car payments or get an affordable model upgrade.
This form of marketing also targets people up for lease renewals or with finance contracts that are about to expire. With people attracted to the showroom due to incentives, the BDC can significant increase sales.
Dedicated to Customer Service
Assisting the sales floor is not the only way the BDC can increase dealership revenue. Virtually every dealership has a service department, where customers can take their car for maintenance or repairs. The BDC drives the number of service sales by sending out reminders on essential maintenance duties, such as oil changes; however, there’s another dimension to service: conversion. Through a vehicle exchange program—which involves showing the advantages of trading a car for a new or certified pre-owned (CPO) one— the BDC can assist sales associates in converting a service-only customer into a first-time buyer.
Advantages of a vehicle exchange can include more advanced features, such as, cost of ownership savings, and warranty upgrades. This program is also great for getting repeat sales out of loyal customers. Thus a servicing department can serve as a second sales department within the dealership.
The BDC is a significant factor in boosting the dealership’s customer satisfaction index (CSI) and service satisfaction index (SSI). The typical BDC system has the ability to escalate any customer issues to the appropriate department. Also, the system comes with customized call phone scripts for guiding customer service representatives in addressing customers based on their purchasing or service needs.
Other customer service-boosting features include email templates for missed appointments and thank-you notifications for purchases and car servicing. Customer surveys have always been the backbone of dealerships. The more satisfied the customer is with the level of service received, the more likely he or she will give positive feedback and return.