Outsourcing resources - either people or products - is a necessary evil in a shrinking auto industry that is seeking solutions to reducing expenses. Frankly, my own role as a consultant and my advertising agency itself is billed as "The Ultimate Outsourcing Tool" so I agree that extending resources in staff and processes should always be considered as an alternative to either taxing existing personnel, processes or budgets. That said, I certainly can suggest some BDC centers however I am concerned that doing so in a vacum might hurt more than help.
I suggest that you reply with the following information so that I, and other like minded ADM professionals who are reading your forum, can direct you to a solution which will be more valued than simply a list of outsourced BDC centers that might not answer your real question or solve the problems that surfaced it:
1) What are you doing now to handle inbound AND outbound calls and is one a more important focus than the other.
2) Is the focus on sales exclusively or is fixed operations part of the intended focus.
3) Do you have any facility limitations - such as space, phone/computer lines, avaialble managers and staff that would preclude your building your own BDC (Assuming that you don't presently have one?)
4) Do you have a functional website and a seperate internet department or is the "BDC" intended to handle both phone and internet leads.
5) What is the present volume of the store and size of the staff - sales and service - that you are planning to support with the BDC to insure an R.O.I. on all levels.
6) Do you have other internal processes or technology/applications to tie your BDC to - such as a CRM or DMS or existing telephony monitoring system to maximize the efficiency of generated leads and presumed follow up?
7) MOST IMPORTANTLY - Why does your boss want you to look for an outsourced BDC and what does he want to accomplish.
I PROMISE that I will suggest a qualified BDC once I understand the existing solutions and needs but to just send you a list would not be professional. For that - just go to google and type in "BDC" as your search words. Even previous experience in other stores would have little value as every store has its own devils to deal with and there is not a "cookie cutter" one BDC solves all solution that a true professional would or should suggest.
I hope that helps? Of course - if not - I am sure that your forum will at least surface all of the BDC members of ADM so either way I am sure you will get your answer. Just be sure that it is to the right question!
If I may, I would like to recommend our company - www.outsourcedbdc.com/. We are a full service Outsourced BDC with 50+ US based agents making thousands of calls weekly for dealerships all across the country. I invite you to view our web site and hope to have the opportunity to speak with you directly regarding your needs.
I would have to respectfully disagree with you, especially on the points of hurting customer service... and what does dealership "culture" (whatever that is) have to do with selling an appointment? Running an in-house BDC makes absolutley no economic sense when you consider the immense capital expense, even higher ongoing overhead and simple frustration that goes into running the day to day operation of a call center. These are car dealerships, not call centers and very few of them have the expertise to implement a BDC and run it effectively. I can tell you that my company schedules on average, over 250 appointments per month on our smallest compaigns. We have dramtically increased not only customer satisfaction, but the profitability of the dealerships we work with (isn't that what it's about?). It goes back to a simple business principle - do what you do best and focus on that. An outsourced BDC allows dealerships to focus on their core business - selling cars.
I would like to respectfully disagree with you in regards to "Running an in-house BDC makes absolutley no economic sense..." My own personal and direct experience in setting up, running and tracking the ROI on in-house BDC's has shown me that not only can a dealership BDC be very profitable, in many ways it can out-perform certain aspects of outside supplier provided BDC or Call Center services. I have also used outside, or "Virtual BDC" (vBDC) suppliers as a dealership employee responsible for managing those services, and have found ROI in that model as well.
While working on the Ford National BDC Development program several years ago I was involved in the assessment and evaluation of outside vBDC suppliers.
I have found that outsourcing customer contact for a car dealership has its own set of risks and problems, as does doing it yourself as a dealer with an in-house approach. My experience has shown that doing either is better than neither!
Both the outsourced and the in-house models are superior than the traditional dealer business communications model of leaving customer contact responsibility in the hands of sales personnel. The customer service approach that either a dealership BDC or a vBDC typically uses will yield far more business and revenue than a model designed around leaving customer contact responsibility in the hands of the same sales resources that are paid on a commission or unit volume basis.
Speaking from a purely economic stand point, the ROI of outsourcing a BDC versus implementing an in-house BDC aren't even close. In almost every case, we have outperformed and out-delivered bottom line benefits almost to the tune of 8x greater than that of the dealers in-house BDC. Why? Economies of scale. While they are paying nearly $15K to $20K in just salaries alone, and outsourced BDC can deliver (instantly) 3 to 4 times the results for a fraction of the cost. And I have yet to hear the so called problems with an outsourced BDC cleary articulated, only that they "can" offer their own problems. We don't require a contract which means we are paid for delivering results, without the huge up front expense... the same can't be said for implementing an inhouse BDC. The cost differential is huge versus the two models and at the end of the day, it's about results and ROI... and in almost every case, the outsourced model wins that argument. IMO, there is very little to any risk outsourcing the BDC function (caveat... to a reputable company like our :-) when you consider these facts.
It's spectacular when everyone is right! For what it's worth IMO the most accurate and effective messages here are from the "dealer" who wants to grow his business profitably (hat's off) and to Lori who understands the importance of research and crowd-sourcing (double hat's off). Again, just my opinion.
There is another option: a blended approach. I'm seeing dealers across the country leverage their sales staff and, or internal BDC for "vehicle or purchase interest" (phone or internet) and simultaneously leverage professionally trained inbound/outbound call centers for "finance requests." Both require very different skill sets and as you all know the inbound finance lead requires asking somewhat delicate questions in varying orders based on bureau results.
So Lori, I'd recommend answering Phil's questions about and also I'd recommend asking yourself/dealer if a blended approach would make sense too.
To the rest of you guys: as usual SPECTACULAR stuff. We're all learning a lot in this post. Nice.
Ron, you're right. I am finding more and more that dealerships with a BDC are focusing their efforts on a specific type of call or customer set. There are certain things an outsourced BDC simply can't do, such as run customer credit or search inventory. Also, for those dealers that have a huge investment in their BDC, they don't want to simply throw their hands up and give up. I am still in the mindset that outsourcing the majority of the work makes the most economic sense, it's simply a numbers game and outsourcing wins every time. BUT, as you mentioned, a blended approach can win especially if there is a BDC already in place and is producing results (I just don't run into that to often however).
I just began consulting for a small outsourced BDC firm, SunStar Network, located in North Carolina - they have dealers in NC, KY, and TX. A good TN dealer like yourself would fit right in.
However, after your visit to DD Nashville, I was hoping you'd have this all set up in-house.
Either way, let me know if you want the contact name for SunStar. With me training the team, I have them rocking and rolling for their clients.
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