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How to Be a Specialized BDC Car Dealership

Written By Carol Marshall

While your sales and service teams may do a fantastic job greeting customers and creating that initial relationship in the dealership, the follow-up after may be lacking. 

Also, those shoppers that have not yet made the decision to visit you require timely, tailored attention. Digital natives, like Gen Z, are more comfortable navigating online. This is where a quality BDC in your car dealership can play a critical role in bridging those gaps.

What is a BDC in a Car Dealership?

A BDC (business development center) is a team of customer service representatives who field both outbound and inbound phone calls for your service department and/or sales department.

This is a separate department that aids your sales and service team for increased success.

Why is a BDC Important?

A car dealership BDC is important because priming customers for the sale is a customer service function. Your best closers are not always your best openers. They are also not always available to assist the customer from the start of their journey to the end.

With this in mind, having a separate team to warm your customers can be effective for pre-sale, during, and post-sale and customer retention moving forward.

5 Elements to Build an Effective BDC for Your Car Dealership

1) Scheduling and volume.

What days of the week and hours do you need to be covered? Take a look at your current personnel and see where any holes in coverage might be. Try to think about your customers that don't have typical schedules - the ones that might be trying to contact you outside of your business hours. Those customers need attention, too. And their strange schedules could be accommodated by an always-on chat.

What does your volume look like? You'll want to know what you can reasonably expect your dealership BDC team to be able to handle, and you'll want to know the minimum amount of BDC agents to help field your inbound opportunities, whether that's for car sales or your service appointments needing to be set. This brings us to our next point!

2) Size of the team and their work location.

Once you think about the size of your BDC team, you can think about where your automotive BDC will be based. You could have them on-site, sure. In recent times, however, the options for customer service positions being remote or hybrid have opened up.

There are multiple benefits to these work options.

One, you can save space inside your automotive dealership. There is less to think about where your BDC agents will be stationed, so you can use that space for whatever else you see fit.

Two, you can increase your candidate pool greatly. With good internet and the ability to use computers and phones from anywhere, a remote position will widen the talent pool considerably.

Three, you can more reasonably stagger your team schedule-wise, since they will not have to worry about commuting to work and can better handle a mid or later shift.

3) Roles within your automotive BDC.

Now, it's time to think about the focus of your BDC and the specific roles of the BDC agent. Specialize your BDC by segmenting responsibility in the roles. Will you be a focused service BDC, or will you focus on sales? Will you be both?

For inbound calls and outbound calls: will those be the same people? Or will you specialize roles for agents who are great at warming incoming customers rather than a fresh and cold lead?

One thing to remember: your agents are NOT salespeople. This is a customer service role, not a sales team on the phones. Look for people with deep customer service backgrounds that know how to have quality conversations. This is a separate department from salespeople and service writers/advisors.

The BDC is a customer service business.

4) Consider Post-Sale and Post-Service Reputation Maintenance.

The key to healthy, consistent long-term revenue is retaining your repeat customers. Think about training your cream of the crop agents to also do post-sale and post-service outreach to keep your dealership top of mind into the future. These are not your potential customers; these are previous customers who will have their customer loyalty rewarded with special attention.

Your service customers - and all customers really - are busy people. Getting reminded of appointments, being presented with current offers, and feeling like they are genuinely thought of outside of the services provided are all major factors in repeat business and dealership loyalty.

5) BDC Equipment.

Last but not least! Think about the equipment you will use that can make the BDC as effective as possible. If you're using BDC software, you'll want one that plays nicely with your CRM for the most fluid lead management possible. Your service department will love the fluidity of being able to see any newly set service appointments, and your sales team will greatly appreciate being routed sales appointments.

And just for good measure, make sure you equip your BDC with nice, functional phones, semi-recent computers and a great internet connection. Business depends on the internet these days!

How Do You Measure Your BDC Success?

Well, that's up to you! Are you looking to clock higher appointments, overall sales, CSI scores? All of the above? The best thing about a good BDC is that it fosters growth in all of those areas.

Decide what is important to you, set your timeline, and make adjustments as you go for continued success!

ActivEngage Can Be Your Business Development Center

When it comes to having customer conversations, no other automotive live chat provider does it better than ActivEngage

We use 100% live customer engagement experts, no bots and/or AI, and are an effective BDC-style implement that helps support your sales and service teams. We bolster your digital dealership, and you'll never miss another opportunity with ActivEngage on your dealership website. 

Start having better conversations today and meet your shoppers wherever they are in their customer journey with our messaging solutions. Choose from:


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?