Are You Considering a Business Development Center for Fixed Operations? – Part 1

Written by David Dietrich

I. Why a BDC?
In today’s competitive business market, everyone is looking for the edge, a way to grow their business and improve customer retention. Business Development Centers have become a way for many dealers to find that edge. BDC has been around for many years and many manufacturers support the process, some in fact, require that their dealers have a BDC. We are in a time where many no longer see it as a question of if they will go to a BDC, but a matter of when and how.
There are many companies out there that specialize in the implementation of Sales BDC. Some of these companies have even ventured into the area of Service BDC. Unfortunately, because their background and training are in sales, their expertise is not in service. Therefore, the service side is an afterthought. This process was developed from a Fixed Operation Directors mindset and has tried to capture as many BDC uses for Fixed Ops as possible. M5 through working with many effective BDCs and implementing Service BDCs has evolved into expects in this arena. This document will explore the preparation and implementation of an effective Service BDC.

II. Assessment – Is a BDC for me
Before you explore any new process or department you must ask yourself “Is it for me?” and a BDC is no different. Many dealers are looking for the answer to some age-old questions. How do I get the advisors to answer the phone when it’s busy? How do I keep my customers informed while their vehicle is in for service? Why can’t I get people notified when their parts come in? Sound familiar? We have all asked these questions over time. Your answers may lie in the proper development and implementation of a Service BDC. When evaluating the visibility of a Service BDC in each environment, there are a few questions that can help you decide if you need for one. Listed below are a series of questions to be used as thought starters. This list is by no means all-inclusive.

  • How do you document your appointments
  • Is workflow even with your production capacity
    • Do your technicians run out of work
    • Do you have too many carry over
    • Are your customers serviced the same day they come in

• How do you determine how many appointments to take and when to cut them off
• Who currently sets appointments
• Is your appointment information up to the minute
• Do you make appointment confirmation calls
• Do you call no-show appointments to reschedule
• How are special order parts received customer notified
• How do you notify the customer of the campaign and recalls
• Do you do any phone marketing for the Service Dept
• How many status calls do you receive each day
• Do you have any quality control methods for phone conversations

III. BDC responsibilities
OK, so a Service BDC may be for you, let’s look at the responsibilities we are going to ask of the BDC. Are they simply going to be a call center to take appointments or appointment coordinators? Are they going to be used as a follow-up tool to ensure that customers are being contacted? Status calls? SOP notification? Are they going to be used to truly develop more business? Recall notification? Follow up on declined repairs? Are you marketing to lost souls or orphaned owners? Whatever you choose, it is suggested that you sit down with the Parts and Service Directors and Managers to create a BDC wish list and then from this list by determining what is a legitimate and practical BDC function.

IV. Job Descriptions
As with any position, there should be a clear-cut job description for every position in the BDC. The positions to consider are BDC Manager and BDC Consultants. Each position will be responsible for specific duties. If it is a joint Service and Sales BDC there may be a need for a separate job description for Service BDC Consultants and Sales BDC Consultants.

V. Hours of Operation and Staffing
When implementing a BDC cost may be a consideration. One way to be mindful of excessive costs is to determine the peak hours of phone call volume. When would it be of the best benefit for the Service BDC to be in operation? Is it important that they be available in the early morning? Is it important to be available after service hours? Should they have weekend hours?
Staffing when adding a new department of any kind can always be a challenge. Do I utilize existing employees? Do I hire people specifically for a job? Can we cross-train? How many people do I need? Using established industry standards, or maybe you already have a Sales BDC that can be trained. Should you hire an experienced Manager?
There are many questions about hours of operation and staffing level. Most can only be answered through observation and evaluating the phone volume.

VI. Facility Layout
Depending on the number of employees and the call volume anticipated the size of the room will vary. Some will choose to use a corner office currently not in use, others may choose to have an area where the BDC is housed. The size is not as important as the layout. A BDC office seems most effective when the consultant’s desks are visible from the manager’s desk. It is also extremely beneficial for the manager to be able to hear the conversations being had between the BDC Consultant and the customer. It has also been proven beneficial for the BDC office to be in view of the Service Drive. In cases where that is not feasible, it is useful to have a closed-circuit camera view of the service Drive in cases where the BDC is removed from Drive visibility. This will allow the BDC Consultant to know if the advisor is at their desk before making a transfer and therefore avoiding blind transfers. Many BDCs also employ dry-erase boards for many means of immediate communication, one should consider the wall space available to mount these boards when choosing an area to house the BDC.

From a complete Service Department Assessment to targeted Classroom Service Advisor Training options, I am here to assist you with all of your Fixed Operation improvement custom-tailored to your specific needs. For more information feel free to contact me anytime at (205) 329-3735 or

Continued next week in Part 2!

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