The call center staff of about 15 sets up appointments, answers questions about prices and hours and makes follow-up calls or sales. The staff also keeps in contact with customers while their vehicles are being serviced.
The Business Development Center is in Raleigh, N.C., at the headquarters of Capital Automotive Group, which acquired the two dealerships under one rooftop in February.
About a year before the acquisition, Ozment who was working in the Hyundai-Subaru service department, created a one-woman call center there. The contrast with the expanded BDC is notable.
Before May, the Hyundai and Subaru stores would average about 800 repair orders per month. Now, Ozment takes on more than 1,300. He also has added one adviser and four technicians to his staff, bringing the total to four advisers and 12 technicians.
While part of the additional business is due to recall work, Ozment said the call center prevents the shop from getting plugged up and helps increase efficiency to match incoming recall fixes. As a result, Ozment said, the gross profit for the service department is up about 10 percent since May, although he couldn't give specific numbers.
The call center opened in August 2013 as a pilot serving one dealership, then slowly added more of the group's stores. The Hyundai and Subaru stores started using it in May.
Tyler Strickland, director of the BDC, said the most immediate impact the center had on Capital dealerships was customer show rates. Before the call center, the average show rate for the 10 Capital Automotive stores it handles was in the high 70 percent range. Adding the call center and its standardized processes, Strickland said, pushed customer show rates up into the low to mid-90 percent range.
The Hyundai and Subaru stores, for example, had a show rate of 77 percent in May. In October, it was 89 percent -- a low month for Capital stores, Strickland noted. It's tough to "condition" customers to make appointments and show up, he said, but customer trust in the process is an integral part of shop efficiency and designating the right workload.