By JoAnn Bedenbaugh, Sales Director, Volie
Implementing a BDC at your dealership is a proven way to maintain control of leads and processes. However, too many BDC’s underperform or even break down completely due to a fatal mistake: a poor BDC manager. Poor managerial skills lead to erosion of processes and employee morale, resulting in unanswered calls, long wait times, loss of business, and high employee turn-over.
Don’t let a poor manager bring down your BDC. The following tips can help you hire the right manager, set that person up for success, and develop a profitable BDC.
Hire a True Leader
Cast a wide net for the right manager. Don’t limit your search process to only candidates with automotive experience or knowledge. That can be taught. Hire for intrinsic personality traits that make a good leader. In my experience, the best managers exhibit integrity, adaptability, tenacity, and self-motivation.
Excellent communication skills are also key. According to a Gallup report cited in the Wall Street Journal, people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. What do workers want from their managers? Number one is clear and consistent communication.
It’s worth noting that the average contact center has an agent turnover rate between 30 and 45%. That’s a lot of coming and going, and even worst, wasted time and money spent on training and onboarding. The right manager, with the right skills, can significantly cut that churn.
Write down your must-have leadership skills in order of importance. Have each candidate speak to instances in their careers where they had to use these qualities (providing examples, of course). Remember, you’re looking for a true leader – not just someone to give out tasks and orders.
Set Your Manager Up for Success
You can hire the best manager out there, but without strong support from upper management and the right tools, even the brightest star can crash and burn. Ensure that your sales managers and service managers understand the importance and value of the BDC. Enlist their help in setting up processes for inbound and outbound calls.
Bring in a contact management system designed to help managers and agents succeed. The best platforms integrate with your DMS and are a central hub that includes data management, automation, and campaign management. Make sure a platform tracks the metrics that matter, including agent productivity, effective rate, and conversion rate. These metrics are the key to accurately award the commissions and bonuses that are crucial to retaining BDC employees.
Last but not least, make sure your manager and agents have proper training. Most contact management systems offer employee training as part of the implementation. Make sure you partner with a vendor that adapts to your preferred processes, not the other way around. Every dealership is unique and has unique BDC needs. The right system will be flexible to align with your dealership’s strategy.
Work with your manager to design ongoing check-ins and training with agents. There’s nothing more demoralizing than feeling overwhelmed and unsure about hitting expectations and targets. These check-ins will happen less often as time goes by, but your manager should continue doing them weekly for at least the first couple of months.
Consider Limited Outsourcing
If your manager and agents are continually swamped with calls and it’s not in your budget to add more staff, consider outsourcing some activities. An outsourced call center can handle more mundane tasks and lower-funnel opportunities that need to be acted on, but may not be immediate money makers. For example, outsource long-term unsold prospect follow-ups, such as phone, internet, and showroom leads that are 60 to 90 days old.
A BDC manager can make or break customer engagement. Don’t make the fatal mistake of hiring a poor manager. Hire according to intrinsic traits, establish processes and technology that drive success, and don’t be afraid to get outside help if you need it.
About the Author
JoAnn Bedenbaugh has created call centers for over a dozen of the automotive industry’s biggest players.