It's been an extraordinary time in our industry. Dealers have been very profitable amid new-vehicle shortages. Yet the good times may be coming to an end. Now is the time to invest in modern technology and tactics to help keep customers loyal if we do dip into a recession.
We saw the advantages of investing in technology during the pandemic when record numbers of dealers implemented digital retailing tools with impressive results.
I would argue the next technology upgrade needs to happen in the business development center. Too many BDCs are using the same technology dealerships have been using for decades. Namely, desk phones or manual click-to-call buttons through the customer relationship management system. This is inefficient, requiring more agents to get the work done.
We all know people are the largest expense, especially in today's tight labor market. Leveraging technology allows fewer agents to make more revenue-producing outbound calls. This is especially important if we see new-car sales and the number of transactions slide, and the service department becomes even more crucial as a primary source of revenue.
I spoke with a dealer recently who employs eight agents to staff a service BDC for his 10-store group. Using desk phones, his agents were only able to take inbound calls, and he had a startling 35 percent drop rate on inbound calls. With call center software, those same agents were able to make over 4,000 outbound calls in one week, and his call drop rate plummeted to 9.4 percent.
That's the power of call center software to raise productivity, more effectively handle inbound customer requests and make those crucial revenue-producing outbound calls.