Proactive Dealer Solutions, the BDC Experts, has launched a Virtual Service BDC that is resulting in dramatic improvements in scheduled appointment visits and dramatic returns on investment for retailers across North America.
Proactive’s Virtual BDC for Service is a relatively new service that utilizes a team of professional, in-house BDC representatives to make outbound calls to set appoints for first service visits, notifications from connected vehicle platforms, open recalls, seasonal service specials, and to re-engage customers who haven’t visited the dealership’s service center recently.
There are a variety of reasons dealers would want to utilize a virtual BDC rather than take on the expense and risks associated with creating their own BDC, according to Jason Beckett, Proactive’s Chief Operating Officer.
“There is a lot of cost associated with setting up a BDC that might not make sense for retailers who aren’t large enough to warrant a full-blown business development initiative,” Beckett said. “It may not make sense from a capital perspective or as the result of personnel preferences and the dealership’s business culture. What we know is that for some retailers this is the right move, and the numbers bear it out.”
Beckett points to General Motors Parts and Service Excellence (PASE) Program that sets up specific goals for the dealership to drive more repair orders (ROs), improve customer retention, and enhance customer satisfaction. There are monetary incentives for dealers to hit PASE benchmarks and penalties for those that do not.
“There’s real incentive from the manufacturer here for the dealer to hit these goals, and Virtual BDC for Service has been instrumental in helping dealers achieve them,” Beckett said.
A large Indianapolis dealership was not achieving benchmarks, and within just 30 days, Proactive’s Virtual BDC for Service was able to exceed PASE benchmark and is now on track to maintain pass-through dollars from the manufacturer to the dealership.
“Our team was able to quickly recognize some communication issues within the dealership, and infrastructure problems that made it difficult for customers to come in for service,” Beckett said. “These were a known concern, but our team, working closely with the dealership, was able to find work-arounds resulting in significant, cost-effective solutions that resulted in a measurable ROI.”
Dealerships that ask service advisors to make outbound calls to promote customer retention do a disservice to the advisor and the dealership. If a service advisor is forced to spend less time with a customer in the service lane, in the advisor area, or on the phone with an inbound caller and is instead asked to make outbound calls, there is far greater likelihood the customer will feel slighted or not get the customer service they expect.
“This becomes the perfect example of how Virtual BDC for Service can work for the dealership, even if the dealer has an existing program or in-house BDC to handle incoming and outbound calls,” Beckett said.
“Maximizing the capacity of the service department is the desired goal,” Beckett noted. ”Adding ROs from customers who typically aren’t showing up at the dealership is where significant profitability improvements and gap-filling service capacity can be made."
Proactive, of course, has been carefully monitoring and analyzing the appointment data as it is collected. For instance, one dealership the company has worked with since March has seen 228 appointment shows, resulting in about $41,400 in increased revenue — all from customers who normally would not have arrived at the dealership on their own. The resulting ROI is more than 800 percent!
Another dealership saw 127 unique RO appointments, resulting in $27,770 in new revenue. The ROI here is a staggering 993 percent!
“Results like these are not outliers, but are rather the norm,” said Beckett of the data Proactive has compiled to date. “There’s a bell curve, but as our team gathers more experience, and our technology gets more sophisticated, we’ve only seen improvements.”
Most dealerships have a BDC whether it is a formalized all-encompassing business development initiative, or outlined policies and procedures for service advisors for handling incoming and outgoing calls. Beckett noted that whatever the needs of the dealer are, a virtual BDC can add value almost immediately, at low cost with no long-term contracts, and at a price point that delivers extraordinary ROIs.
“Numbers are what drive this business,” Beckett said. “We started working with a dealership in April of this year and to date, we added $9,200 in new business the first month — more than they paid for that and the ensuing 5 months.”
In six months, the dealership has generated $86,000 in new revenue, with an ROI of 850 percent.