In many cases the first contact customers have with your dealership, the BDC is an important part of your business. We’ve reviewed what our experts have written about BDCs this year and identified five critical trends your dealership should watch in the coming year.
1. Increased focus on internet BDCs and digital selling
With more than 90% of new vehicle shoppers investigating their options online, there’s no question that digital strategies will play a major role in BDCs in 2017.
If you haven’t already formulated a digital strategy for your dealership or are uncertain how to get started with internet sales, I recommend you check out the NCM Institute classes Mastering Digital Marketing and Internet/BDC Operations Management. Taught by experts from Kain Automotive, each focuses on specific strategies to get your dealership up to speed and gives your dealership the performance metrics it needs to gauge your success.
Already have a solid digital strategy in place? Then it’s time to refine your efforts. Take a look at Lee Michealson’s recommendations for how to properly merchandize online. Next, run your website through Paul Potratz’s “Drunk Person Shopping Test” to see how it performs.
2. Expansion of service BDCs
Whether or not to have a service BDC keeps coming up in NCM Institute classes and 20 Group meetings. And given the increasing importance of the service department in maintaining customer loyalty and identifying sales opportunities, it’s not surprising that so many NCM clients are interested in investing in one.
Here’s what NCM expert, Steve Hall, had to say about service BDCs in a recent #AskNCM video segment:
3. Even more collaboration between BDC and Sales
There are many BDC models you can choose for your dealership. But if your sales and BDC teams don’t work together well, customers will be confused and frustrated.
Alan Ram recommends that you consider sales/BDC as one unified team. Not only does it help your dealership deliver one consistent message to buyers, but it also improves your credibility as a business. Read the full article for more of Alan’s suggestions.
4. Hiring for a better customer experience
We all know that employee retention in our industry is terrible: In fact, dealerships have plummeted to a three-year low with a dismal 45% retention rate. (Most industries, excluding farm work, hover around 67 percent!) And just one-third of sale consultants manage to survive to their three-year anniversary. That’s why we’ve featured article from our content partner Hireology that focus on how you can recruit and retain the best employees.
One huge trend we’re seeing to correct the retention issue is the push to hire employees who are highly skilled—or at least temperamentally suited—for customer service jobs. As competition grows even fiercer, strong soft skills are what will keep clients coming back to your dealership. This approach is so necessary that Hireology even recommends that you consider customer service skills over technical ability when selecting service advisors!
5. Personalized BDC training
Another growing trend we’re seeing are NCM clients who choose to customize training sessions for their dealerships or 20 Group.
Recently, Group 20B5 worked with their moderator, Mark Shackleford, and our NCMi staff to customize a training course that specifically addressed their needs. Taught by Steve Hall, shown below, the class was a great success. Scott Stevens, General Manager at Gene Stevens Honda, had this to say about his experience: “If you are in need of training for a new or seasoned Service Manager, I would strongly encourage you to enroll in this class. Timely information, real-world scenarios, all presented by people that have lived it, and been very successful at it.”
The class, Scott explains, was exceptionally rigorous, “I am in an NCM 20 Group; when we meet, I take a lot of notes. I took twice as many notes in this ‘specific department’ training than I take at a normal 20 Group meeting!” And, he added, it was a good value, “I know that my money was well spent because of the lessons learned and the training material that we took home.”
Customized training can be held on-site or at NCM’s headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. (Might I recommend you come when the Chiefs or Royals are in town?) During the session, we can help you address BDC concerns or work with you for training in any department. Just contact the NCM Institute for more details.
There’s no question that the automotive industry is evolving. Have you seen these trends in action or are you noticing other changes? Tell us here.