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Customer Highway Launches Virtual Business Development Center for Dealers

January 22, 2009

RICHFIELD, Ohio – Customer Highway, a lead management service provider for auto retailers, has developed a virtual business development center (BDC) that removes the day-to-day management, training, reporting, calling, e-mailing, following up and surveying duties and costs associated with in-house dealership BDCs.

"What we've created is a virtual lead management solution, an outsourced BDC that converts phone and online inquiries into shows," said Patrick Norris, Customer Highway national sales manager. "Consumer behavior has shifted from physically having to see and touch a vehicle to doing vast amounts of research online before stepping into a dealership."

"It's critical that these potential customers are responded to quickly and professionally when they reach out to a dealership. And that's a trouble spot for many retailers. Our virtual BDC manages leads more cost effectively and at greater volumes for dealerships, and allows them to focus their sales resources on what they do best, servicing customers in the showroom."

According to JD Power and Associates’ 2008 New Study, 75 percent of new-vehicle buyers in 2008 used the Internet during their shopping process. This means dealers need to respond urgently, accurately and frequently to capture these consumers when the opportunities present themselves.

Customer Highway's virtual BDC is seamless to customers. Phone calls and e-mails are answered quickly by trained Customer Highway call specialists on behalf of the dealership. Once customers are engaged in a phone or e-mail conversation they are not let go until all their questions are answered or they make an appointment to visit the showroom, all of which can be done remotely at the virtual BDC.

"Interacting with today's online consumer requires significant and ongoing investment in personnel and technology that dealerships of all sizes are struggling to justify," added Norris. "Customer Highway's unique outsourcing solution engages both phone and online consumers, converts their interest into onsite appointments and monitors satisfaction far more cost effectively then the dealerships can do for themselves."

Customer Highway's BDC activities are monitored by a team of highly trained quality assurance specialists who evaluate the performance of the call specialists and product specialists live. The call specialist teams answer questions about dealer-specific promotions and vehicle availability based on pre-approved scripts, and work to convert the lead into a scheduled appointment at the dealership.

The lead is then handed off to a virtual product specialist who taps into specific details about the vehicle, the dealership and financing options. Customer Highway can also work in tandem with a dealership's dealer management system (DMS) to capture prospects' credit and financial information in real time while remotely updating the dealer’s customer relationship management (CRM) software with appropriate lead details.

In addition, the virtual BDC monitors lead information for 90 days and continually updates the status of all leads in the Dealership's CRM tool, providing the dealership with comprehensive and up-to-date customer information.

"We provide 100-percent ad source tracking and results through customized reports for lead volume and lead source, which provides peace-of-mind to dealer principals looking to grow their business in these challenging times," said Norris.

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