Many dealers prefer using internal BDCs so they can keep control of leads and processes. Other dealerships use an external BDC for cost, management and efficiency reasons. Just about every dealer believes it’s a choice: you either set up an internal BDC or outsource to a third-party virtual BDC. Yet, some of the best efficiencies and results actually happen with a hybrid BDC solution.

Hybrid BDC Benefits

In a hybrid set up, an external BDC does most of the “heavy lifting” related to chasing down sales leads, then hands the hottest leads over to your internal BDC. On the service side, the external BDC handles most of your inbound calls, which many dealership service departments struggle to manage effectively.

A hybrid BDC solution is ideal for dealerships with size constraints on their internal BDC due to staffing, management and/or budget issues. Let’s say your dealership is an average store selling 100 to 150 cars per month. To handle 400 to 1,000 phone calls per week, you need four full-time people and one manager to oversee them.

Bottom line? It’s difficult to set up an internal BDC for less than $10,000 per month, and that’s on the shy side.

Of course, you could be one of those dealers that believe your salespeople should be able to make all the prospecting and campaign calls, and your service advisors should be able to handle all the inbound service inquiries. The reality is, most salespeople don’t have the personality, patience or phone skills necessary to make the requisite calls, and your service advisors should be spending their time with the customers in front of them, not on the phone setting appointments.

Internal BDC vs. Hybrid BDC Solutions

Now, let’s say you want to use a hybrid BDC solution. For about 25 to 30 percent of the cost of an internal BDC, you can outsource most of the heavy lifting type calls that include:

  • Inbound service calls
  • Outbound sales and service campaigns
  • Sales and service appointment setting and confirmations
  • Internet leads follow up
  • Unsold showroom traffic follow up
  • Declined service repairs follow up

Whenever an external BDC agent has a hot sales lead or sets a service appointment, they transfer the customer over to one of your internal BDC agents to finish the call. Your internal BDC agents deal with fewer calls and spend more time on the phone with your customers, delivering a better experience.

With this setup, the average dealership mentioned above could probably get by with two highly-skilled internal BDC agents, versus the four agents plus a manager. The cost may be the same or even slightly less, but your ROI will be significantly higher.

The nice thing about a hybrid BDC solution is that you can decide which tasks you want your internal BDC to perform based on your staff’s skill sets. For example, maybe your internal BDC takes and makes all inbound and outbound calls, while the external BDC follows up with Internet leads and unsold showroom traffic.

Maximizing Sales and Service ROI

The key to maximizing your ROI is taking the time to identify the strengths and weaknesses inherent in your current phone processes. Then, outsource to an external BDC to cover areas of weakness, while freeing up your internal BDC to focus more time on areas of strength.

After switching to a hybrid BDC solution, it’s not unusual for a dealership to see immediate increases in service and sales appointments, as well as RO count and corresponding revenue.

Typical results include:

  • 25% of outbound service calls are eliminated when an external BDC schedules and confirms service appointments
  • 72% of inbound service calls are converted into appointments
  • 97% of calls result in additional information gathering on customer
  • 84% customer contact rate with two valid phone numbers

External BDC agents are trained to stick to scripts, and therefore tend to be more effective at collecting valuable customer data such as emails, phone numbers and current addresses. This data contributes to higher marketing campaign response rates.

But the primary reason why a hybrid BDC solution is so effective is that it allows your staff to focus their attention on the customers in front of them. You still get to keep control over your branding, messaging, lead-handling and other processes. Yet, instead of having to sort through 100 leads to find the hand-raisers, your external BDC does that for you, then hands over the 20 people who responded and are actively seeking assistance.

The next time your internal BDC is experiencing overwhelm, you may want to try a hybrid BDC solution to ease your load, improve customer experience and boost sales and service revenue.