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Which works best? A fixed ops BDC or the actual personnel?

Mar 12, 2021
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Which works best? A fixed ops BDC or the actual personnel?

This question gets me every time. I struggle, because as an advisor, our first concern is our customers in the waiting room, then our customers who have dropped off for the day. BUT we all know that cars do not show up on their own so picking up the phone is critical. If the phone experience isn’t a good one the customer may never come through the door at all.

Advisors run around all day multitasking between their techs, parts department and possibly an extended warranty company or two, all while attempting to sell and recommend work via the phone or in the waiting room. When you add fresh customers to the mix that have 100 questions, want you to price quote tires or some insane job that you know you can’t quote over the phone anyway, it can get overwhelming. It takes away that laser focus that is needed to engage what is right in front of you. Sometimes the phone rings so much that you can hear it in your sleep. So having a break from the phones to focus was always something welcomed.

What I have noticed is that if the BDC staff is up to date on shop policy and procedures and aware of what they are actually speaking to the customer about we’re good to go. This knowledge needs to range from how long a typical service can be to what it takes to complete a recall. Customers ask a range of questions and if you have staff trained to answer those basic questions, you’re on the right track. If you have some green phone operator who came from a call center collecting debts or general customer service and has no interest in the industry they are in, it may not be in your favor, especially if the BDC is nowhere near the service department to have an advisor or manager step in on a call if needed. So yes, the BDC can be EXTREMELY beneficial in taking some service calls off of the advisors’ plates. But they need to be educated and versed in their field. Being a great BDC rep is so much more than just being a friendly voice on the phone.

That is just for service, we have not even touched the topic of parts. Most people know that the parts department is its own animal. The customer calling parts ranges from other dealers, other shops, body shops and the good old DIY customer. They ask questions that can be nice and simple to extremely complex. All the knowledge needed for parts staff is nicely locked into a manufactures system that is way more complicated than it needs to be. The only way I can see a “BDC” rep being useful for the parts department is if they are actually parts staff that only handles the phone. Other than that, there are too many variables that need to be looked into when quoting and selling parts for someone who is not fully immersed in that job every day to be successful.

Do parts departments get overwhelmed by the phones? Yes, but again, having the staff trained and up to speed is always the key here. And like I said, keeping a dedicated staff member who is trained and ready would be the best way to go. I know some parts departments split their staff, one rep handles wholesale, one handles other shops and other handles technicians all day. In a perfect world, a fully staffed and trained parts department should not need a BDC at all.

So overall, in my opinion, a BDC can be beneficial for service as long as it is up to speed. But parts calls should stay within the parts department. At the end of the day, the main goal is to provide top notch service to every customer that decides to pick up the phone and give you a call.


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Chris Vitale

Full Sticker
Jul 7, 2016
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These are excellent points and ones I never really thought too much about. But I’d agree, BDC for sales and service (assuming properly trained and maintained) but NOT parts.


Green Pea
Dec 11, 2019
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The Service BDC IF done properly can be very effective, it also is a great way to "unclog" the phone lines allowing all customers to get questions answered, information faster and not having your receptionist acting like a telethon operator all day long, And to Chris Vitale's point proper training in an ongoing manner is crucial.

Dan Sayer

Dec 4, 2009
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I'm trying to decide between two smart-ass remarks on this one (based on the first three comments):

1. Hey Phone Ninja's, did you mean to have an office discussion on this forum?

2. I would love to respond but I don't work at Phone Ninja's.

I kid, I kid! Glad you are active here.

Parts is its own animal. Who else can answer the phone, "Parts, Hold.", better than a counter person? I do agree that a Service BDC has to be able to have a conversation about Service to where they are confident enough, not to solve or diagnose, but to instill confidence in the customer to bring it in. Do you guys train Service BDC? Maybe I was told that but was thinking you only did Sales? @Chris Vitale knows that I'm in the middle of solving our phone issues with a balance of technology and training for primarily Sales but stage two is Service. Regardless, what a huge project!

Alivia Heath

Green Pea
Mar 11, 2021
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I agree--I've never worked in either department, but it seems as though a BDC for the parts department could possibly do more harm than good.