Browsing Tag: service department call agent

    howhighisyourbar
    BDC Operations, BDC Process, BDC Profitability, BDC Staffing

    5 Parts of an Outsourced Service BDC Difficult to Replicate In-Dealership

    July 24, 2018

    Blog Article posted in DrivingSales. By Rob Canales, VP of Product Development, Traver Connect

    When it comes to the Customer Experience (CX) delivered by your Service BDC, most dealers feel pretty strongly that a traditional, small Service BDC can be done well in-house, get the job done, and for a decent price.  Right?  Let me ask you, how high is your bar?  Are you aware how much higher it could be?  How do you compare your small team to centralized, or outsourced Service BDCs?  Why are in-house BDCs so expensive relative to call centers?  What are all the factors?  How do you know what you don’t know?

    Here are a just few components from a first-class, centralized, Service BDC that make a difference, and that most dealers find difficult to replicate in-house:

    1. Commitment to Hiring and Training – All BDCs and call centers have staff turnover. No exceptions.  The difference here is that call centers are well prepared for inevitability of turnover.  They have established agent sourcing program designed to engage candidates as well as background checking and drug testing procedures in place to ensure a better candidate pool.  They are also more than “one person deep” when it comes to training new agents, on-boarding, delivering training materials consistently, and staying aware of changes to the industry.  As the saying goes, change is the only constant, embrace it and be prepared.
    2. Advanced Software and Big Data – Because call centers have a much larger call agent workforce than dealers, they often employ high-end technological solutions to ease their administrative burden and maximize operational efficiency.  One such software solution is commonly referred to “WFM” or Workforce Management.  By examining many different sets of data for calls, call agents, and scheduling (to name a few), a WFM application can assist you with maximizing productivity from your agent pool, and help you forecast accurately so that you don’t get caught off guard meeting demand.  When you combine WFM with advanced telephony software there are huge advantages/efficiencies to be gained.  Another feature/tool is the opportunity to listen live and whisper (coach up) agents in real time – huge advantage.
    3. Quality Management Program – When you hear that you’ve been shopped (by a manufacturer, partner, or competitor) do you cringe in anticipation of the result or do you relish the opportunity?  Call centers frequently measure their agent call quality, and I don’t mean two or three times a month per agent.  Try dozens of times per month.  Compare this to an in-house BDC agent that might be shopped only a handful of times.  The key difference is that call center agents expect it and know they are going to be scored often, so they deliver a more consistent message and tone because chances are pretty good big brother is scoring not to mention watching/listening, and all calls are usually recorded so that’s a factor that plays into quality as well.
    4. Business Continuity – How resilient is your Internet service?  If your primary Internet provider fails do you have a backup?  How many high-speed Internet connections do you have?  How about power outages, do you have a generator to keep your office up and running?  If so, for how long?  During inclement weather are you able/prepared to transfer your BDC calls to another location, or provide your agents with a “bad weather” option/solution so they can work from home even if they can’t get to the office because of poor conditions outside?
    5. Scale and Cost – How many calls do you get?  Sadly many dealers don’t really know.  What is your average speed to answer?  What is your average hold time?  What are your hours of coverage?  What happens to these metrics when one person doesn’t show for work?  What if two don’t make it to work the same day?  What is your cost per call?  After you pay wages and benefits (hint, if you don’t provide benefits you’re likely to have some serious churn), compare hours of coverage to a call center, factor in how expensive each missed call really is (likely a future closed RO, on average worth $250 approximately), and do all this math, you’ll find that it simply doesn’t pencil if you: want to secure your PMA, be the most profitable, maintain a decent CSI, and provide a first-class Customer Experience (CX) for your customers that you should want to retain for their next purchase.

    Bottom line, if you are committed to supporting and investing in an in-house BDC (no matter how big or small), get some help with your overflow – this is a must.  If you’re struggling to keep and effectively manage even a small team, then rip off the bandage and outsource your entire Service BDC process, you really don’t have a choice and you’ll be glad you did.

    Service calls are your livelihood.  You can’t afford to miss your calls.  Quit feeding your competitors and the independent shops with your missed calls.

    To quote Buford T. Justice, “That’s an attention getter!”  Millennials you’ll want to check out the reference 😉

    BDC Operations, BDC Process, BDC Staffing

    3 Service BDC Models – Part III

    June 26, 2018

    Hybrid Service BDC model

    This model is often referred to as backstop or overflow because the call center is there to back you up when you have your hands full and all your phone lines are all busy.  In this scenario the calls immediately roll over until your in-house agents are available once again.  This model allows you to keep a small contingent of internal BDC agents that you can oversee, and a scalable means to handle spikes in phone call traffic without having to increase your agent headcount.  In addition, usually the hours before and after your internal BDC agents work are covered, as well as for those times when either bad weather, vacation, illness, power outages, etc., is keeping your internal BDC staff from working.

    Pros:

    • Provides “call coverage insurance” for your BDC; service calls answered properly, professionally, and consistently.
    • Allows for immediate and scalable resolution to call volume spikes
    • Typically covers hours before and after your internal BDC operates
    • Provide your customers with a better overall experience
    • Minimizes hold times and average speed to answer during call spikes
    • Frees your service advisors, allows them to focus on their customers

    Cons:

    • Inconsistencies in messaging/experience may surface when comparing verbiage or scripts used by internal BDC agents with external BDC agents
    • Dealer is committed to paying for both internal BDC agents and external BDC agents; typically internal BDC agents are two, three, or more, times more expensive
    • Fees for the external BDC agents will vary from month to month, hard to predict what those costs will be

    There you have it – 3 ways to consider setting up your Service BDC.

    BDC Operations, BDC Process, BDC Staffing

    3 Service BDC Models – Part II

    June 14, 2018

    Centralized or Outsourced Model:

    In this model you simply route your service calls directly to a call center, and/or ask your receptionist to forward service calls to the call center if you don’t have an auto-attendant (call tree).  The obvious difference here from the on premise model is scale, pure and simple.  There are a team of folks answering your calls, if someone doesn’t show for work you won’t notice it, there is a scalable and repeatable training curriculum in place, and you are maximizing appointment opportunities ringing into your service phone line.  Your average speed to answer (ASA) and average hold time (AHT) should be much lower than prior to hiring the call center.  Note: Just because you hired a call center doesn’t mean you never have to experience lengthy hold times, sometimes it will happen.  Don’t make improper assumptions, call centers cannot always staff to perfection for all the peaks and valleys unless you are willing to pay a serious premium.

    Pros:

    • Many fewer calls will go unanswered, missed, or abandoned – scalability
    • Better/consistent and professional appointment booking experience for your customers
    • The service advisors are freed up to focus on the drive, conduct multi-point inspections, recommend additional services, and assist their customers
    • Service BDC partners should be able to provide reporting so you can inspect what you expect, and be able to see the ROI you’re getting
    • Fill more empty slots in the schedule with appointments
    • Improve CSI
    • Increase WP (warranty pay) and CP (customer pay) revenue
    • Extended hours of coverage that would be really difficult, or simply not feasible, to support in dealership
    • Appointment calls are scored for quality regularly to ensure higher standards are met
    • Easier to support additional languages
    • Your service drive business will grow

    Cons:

    • There will be cases when the call center must reach a service advisor for assistance or ask the advisor to follow up with a customer, so advisors need to readily answer calls/emails/texts from their call center partner.
    • You may occasionally hear a complaint about an accent or non-local sounding agent (as long as you have a US-based call center partner this will be very minimal)
    • There will be mistakes made by the call center.  It’s a numbers game and humans aren’t perfect, and since the call center is answering more calls than you ever could, there will be more mistakes made. For example, saying night drop is available when you don’t offer that service.
    • Phone calls add up and your bill might be bigger than you expected.  If you’ve never accurately measured, or even know how many calls you were missing before, this bill could be a real eye-opener.
    • Improper scheduler configuration will cause issues (left hand right hand problems – inaccurate advisor schedules, not restricting workload for certain op codes, etc.)
    • Part time employees or new employees may not know to forward calls to the call center partner properly, or forward the wrong types of calls to the call center.

    Next up, Hybrid Service BDC model

    BDC Operations, BDC Process, BDC Staffing

    3 Service BDC Models – Part I

    June 11, 2018

    Service BDC Models – Part 1

    So you’ve decided to “setup a Service BDC”.  Congratulations, good call!  The next inexorable dilemma is to decide which Service BDC model to employ.  Here are the various models to ponder, some pros and cons for each, and hopefully some wisdom to help guide you to the promised land of flowing service appointments and closed ROs.

    Let’s tackle the first model – here goes!

    On Premise Model:

    A dedicated space in your dealership, or corporate office, where a team of folks can be in close proximity and comfortably answer a daily barrage of phone calls.  Notice I said “a team”.  Just like a certain potato chip, one isn’t ever enough.  Here’s why.  The primary goal of your Service BDC, or anyone’s for that matter, is to begin handling all kinds of calls, and minimize or eliminate missing customer pay and warranty pay revenue opportunities, plain and simple.  If you only have one BDC agent you can only handle one call at a time.  Therefore, the number of BDC agents you have is inversely proportional to your average speed to answer (ASA) and average hold time (AHT), meaning the higher the number of BDC agents you have, the lower your ASA and AHT.  The lower the number of BDC agents you have, the higher your ASA and AHT.  Basic supply and demand, thank you Economics 101.

    Pros:

    • Low cost option, will pay for itself
    • Leadership can easily monitor BDC activity
    • Train immediately when necessary
    • Facilitate teamwork/collaboration between the BDC agents and the service advisors
    • Incrementally improve CSI
    • Miss fewer service revenue opportunities compared to sending calls to the service drive (see last “model”)
    • Can assist with status calls and non-appointment calls
    • Part-time positions may help you fill the gap minimally

    Cons:

    • Does not scale on a daily basis, if someone misses work you miss calls and your core objective.
    • Also called the revolving door. Your employee churn is going to keep you very busy/frustrated (unless you pay really, really well and have nice work environment).  Being prepared for staff turnover is critical.
    • Wages plus benefits for full time employees (FTEs) are not cheap
    • If your number of BDC agents is small, it is not a tremendously profitable department
    • You will need a fairly sizable talent pool to recruit/hire/train acceptably talented staff

    Next up, Centralized or Outsourced BDC model

    BDC Operations, BDC Staffing

    Service BDC Agent Staffing, Do it Right

    June 8, 2018

    Many a service BDC has taken a wrong turn by just putting a warm body in a seat.  Don’t make this mistake, your BDC agents touch more customers than anyone in your business.  Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when recruiting and staffing your BDC:

    1. First off they should be mentally prepared, with their head totally in the game when the phone rings – every time.  Additionally Service BDC agents must be good listeners and show empathy.  In order to truly be empathetic you must have the right attitude and align with the customer very quickly.  Let’s face it, no one likes to take their car into the shop, so having the ability to deliver a professional and sincere phone call to start this customer experience is key.  Catch the call.
    2. Practice makes perfect.  Training is huge, a formalized training curriculum is a must, and incumbent upon leadership to deliver time and again.  Consistency is your best friend, take training seriously, create a culture of excellence, ensure your expectations are clearly delivered, and encourage your  Service BDC agents continuously.
    3. Be professionally succinct.  The call should be as short as possible without seeming rushed.  Really listen to the customer and take hints about urgency and cadence from the words being spoken.  Try to book an appointment as quickly as possible. Load the shop.

    Take your time during the hiring process, and use a phone interview to get a gut feel for their abilities.  Do a little role playing during the interview and you’ll be well on your way to getting the right person in the chair.