Being in the Internet Department for the past six years, I have seen just about every combination that can be done. Designated BDC Representatives that are hired in and run the show and Sales Professionals that work in shifts to cover every hour the BDC is open. Which works best? It total depends on your store. I have seen it work both ways very effectively, but this combination I am about to present.. seems to be the most effective. It is a Combination of both that works seamlessly.
THE GAUDIN FORD WAY!
At Gaudin Ford we have Sales Professionals that are handed the leads right from the get go. They work the Customer from the first e-mail all the way through delivery. The benefits are very fruitful.
First, the Customer is never handed off to another person. Once they are assigned, this is who they will deal with. This is a big deal to the Consumer. They do not like to be bounced from Person to Person, having to tell their story multiple times. We all know this. E-mails, Phone Calls, Faxes, and Appointments all happen with the one Representative. This absolutely sets them at ease right off the bat.
Second, they get a Certified Consultant that has Product knowledge. Another plus. Most BDC Departments do not have their Reps get Certified on the entire Product line. Some do, but most do not. You can set up your client with a Sales Professional that is proficient is what the Consumer is looking at. This enables them to be able to answer any question, issue that may arise in the transaction. If it is a BDC Rep that is handling the client and the client is extremely informed about the vehicle they are looking at, this sets the Customer off a bit. Let's face it, do we as Consumers like to be helped by a person that is proficient in what we are interested in or do we want one that has no idea about the product? I prefer the proficient person, especially when it comes to a large purchase such as an automobile.
Thirdly, only Sales Professionals with a good CSI handle leads. This makes it a better experience for our Consumer and a better chance of getting the all important good survey.. for New Vehicles that is. Also, make the Sales Representative get Internet Certified. In most cases, it is only a few tests they will have to take.. As opposed to the other way around.
Here is where the Combination comes into effect. I believe that having two INTERNET REPRESENTATIVES is a large bonus and here is why..
First, have one for the Morning shift and one for the Evening. These Representatives would handle the inbound E-mails and round robin them to Sales Staff that will benefit the Consumer and the Dealer best. If you have a CRM tool, most have a Round Robin type of system you can set up. The CRM Version Round Robin's the Leads in a very straight forward way. It does not consider which Sales Professional will handle the Consumer best. Many e-mails from Consumers give us insight right from the get go, of what type of Customer we are dealing with.
Do we have one that is very picky on every little thing that they are looking for and want everything handed to them right off the bat?
Or do we have one that is the exact opposite and you have to lead them through the entire process from picking out the vehicle that will work right for them and there Family?
Wouldn't it be better to be able to put the right Sales Person from the get go, than to have to turn them due to conflicting personalities. For instance...In scenario one, with the picky Customer, would you put that with one of your Sales Professionals that has little patience and a tendency of being a bit old school.. Pushier, more Bull headed, and tries to lead the Customer where they want? Or would you put that Customer with one, that can handle the pickiness and not get hot under the collar, yet still be able to turn the Customer onto the path they want.. without the Customer really knowing they are no longer in control?
If you have the two INTERNET REPRESENTATIVES, they can benefit you in many ways. Helping to Round Robin to the better person to handle the leads is one benefit, but being able to help create E-Mail Templates, Bulk E-mail Campaigns, helping the Sales Professional with tricky e-mails, being on top of all the Internet Leads that come in to the Dealership at any time to ensure they are handled in a timely fashion ( Very Beneficial )
The other big bonus of this structure, is what if a Customer comes in for an appointment and there is nobody to take the place of the Sales Rep? Do you leave your Department without a person to answer the Phones or E-mails? With the two INTERNET REPRESENTTATIVES, there is someone always there to be able to fill the gap.
We know that Sales Representatives are kind of set in their ways and there are others that pick anything up and are very good at what ever you put in front of them. The INTERNET REPRESENTATIVE will help to ensure that the ones that stray and try to go their own way, are reeled back in and follow your processes on a daily basis. Especially when it comes to your FOLLOW UP procedures.
Let's face it, the BDC Manager is not in the Department 24 hours a day. To have an Internet Professional that has set processes they have to implement and follow, on top of being the watch dog and ensuring that the Sales Staff does not stray from the processes you have in place, is a big bonus. If you are a good BDC, then your processes are always being refined, tweaked, added to, as things change -- You change with them. The Internet Professional will also ensure that anything that has been modified will be relayed to all of the Sales Staff that is working BDC Leads, and that everyone will be on the same page.
Benefits: Better CSI Scores, Lower Department Costs, More Professionally handled Consumers, Gate Keepers to ensure that Processes are followed, All around coverage with the right person for any job.
Now we are not saying that our way is in any way better than anyone out there.. As I said at the beginning, there are many different ways a BDC can be set up, and I have seen almost all of them. This way works best for us.
Do you have another effective way, which is not the norm? Something completely different from the run of the mill BDC Departments that works effectively? Share it with us; we are always looking for the best practices, better ways, to run the BDC. If we are not growing everyday, something is very wrong.. Never be satisfied, always look to improve.