As uncertainty regarding new vehicle inventory, evolving consumer demands and changing buying models challenge the automotive industry, some progressive dealers are discovering new, exciting opportunities by transforming their BDCs.
No longer are BDCs simply a dealership’s notetakers, sitting in the back room cold calling customers with the same script. The modern business development center is a conduit to the dealership’s showroom floor, as well as your dealership’s director of first impressions with customers.
While the BDC has long been an important part of the dealership’s sales process, amid ongoing inventory shortages, dealers are discovering new ways to leverage the BDC to support other key operations and processes.
In this blog post, we’ll share how dealers can maximize their BDC operations in 2022, including:
· Supporting pre-owned acquisition strategies
· Supporting the service department
How the BDC Supports Pre-Owned Acquisitions
BDC Automotive Training
Data Driven Insights
From here, it’s important for your BDC to analyze data from your dealership’s DMS, CRM, sales platform and other datasets to identify which customers driving in-demand makes or models represent the best pre-owned acquisition opportunities. This includes customers who are over their lease mileage or warranty, have declined repairs, or those with equity in their vehicle.
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Connecting Service and Sales Through the BDC
Outreach to Potential Customers
Just like when assessing which customers represent the best prospective trade or buyback opportunities, it’s important your BDC take a data-driven approach to identifying and engaging prospective service customers. This means understanding where in their vehicle ownership journey a customer is in order to identify when they will likely be the most interested in service.
Identifying Sales Opportunities
The BDC can also serve an important role in breaking down the barrier between service and sales and fueling an efficient service-to-sales process. As many dealers are looking to “do more with less,” some have tasked their BDC to serve as service-to-sales liaisons. The department mines their dealership’s upcoming service appointments for sales prospects, such as those out of warranty or over their lease mileage to present tailored offers.
Using the BDC to Promote Customer Retention
Engaging With Your Customers
To proactively prevent defection and protect their customer base, dealers need to consistently engage their loyalty audience – a job perfectly suited for the BDC. Using the previously mentioned dealership marketing tools, equip your BDC take a similar, data-driven approach to engaging loyalty audiences, regularly reminding customers with personalized messaging why they trusted your dealership with their business in the first place.
Supporting Customer Experience with Predictive Analytics
Dealership tools powered by predictive analytics play an important role in this process, as well, empowering your BDC to follow each customer’s journey and engage customers before they start shopping around. With the service drive playing a key role in customer loyalty, many dealers have optimized their operations even further. Dealers use conveniently timed service notifications to support both their service and loyalty efforts with a personalized approach.
Taking a similar approach with Mastermind, dealer partner Lexus of San Diego increased their year-over-year loyalty rate by 4% – 3.5% higher than the brand’s regional average.
While the dealership BDC had already grown in importance in recent years, new challenges brought on by rapid digitalization and inventory shortages are pushing some forward-thinking dealers to rethink the dealership business development center’s role.