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Episode 100 – The 6 Types of Service Advisors That Will Kill Your Service Department

Thank you to all of the Service Advisors, Service Managers, Techs, and everyone in the automotive industry who has tuned in over the years and helped to make Service Drive Revolution the number-one podcast in automotive.

Hell, I’ll even say thank you to the Parts Department. Yes, really. 

This week’s episode is a really special one for us, and we couldn’t have done it without all of you… This week is the 100th episode of Service Drive Revolution!

100 Episodes!!!

To mark the occasion, we’ll be looking back at all of our most-downloaded episodes of the last few years, and (of course) answer some really good questions before we go through our topic of the day, which is:

The 6 Types of Service Advisors That Will Kill Your Service Department. I wonder if this week’s episode will be one of the most-downloaded eventually. After all, it’s got the word “kill” in the title (and negative headlines are a big draw, as we’ll discuss in a minute).

Our Most-Downloaded Episodes 2018-2020

#5: Jack Gardner – Service Concierge

On this one, we asked if Service Advisors could be replaced by software.

Well, that’s a broad question cause you can’t really answer that with a simple yes or no. Like can an iPad replace a Service Advisor?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: A mediocre one, maybe. (So, like, half of them…)

#4: Brian Benstock – Why Disrupting the Industry is the Only Way to Survive

Brian’s kind of famous, because he has an app where he picks up and drops off the customer’s cars to and from his Honda dealership in New York. Brian is at the forefront of customer service, and this episode had some really great takeaways. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend watching this one.

#3: 10 Reasons Why Service Advisors Fail

Despite this episode having kind of a negative headline, there are a lot of positives in this episode, too…. 

…But negative headlines are better at drawing people’s attention.

#2: Glenn Lundy – Stop Following the Golden Rule

On this episode, we talked about how millennials get a bad rep. 

It’s true!

We also talked about how to treat others, and to not press the snooze button in life. If you haven’t heard that episode, I would highly recommend it. There’s a lot of good takeaways.

#1: Lisa Copeland – Follow the Money

It would be really fun to have her back on. We had a great conversation about how you’ve got to make the car-buying experience pleasant and exciting, you’ve got to follow the money, and how women are a minority in the workforce and underestimated as customers, which is very true!

It’s kind of interesting that we hit this milestone while this whole COVID-19 shutdown is going on. Who could have seen that coming when we first started this? Before this week, we hadn’t even been on set in two months! I don’t miss doing all of that over Zoom, that’s for sure…

Your Questions

“My job as an advisor is to sell service. How do you deal with management that won’t let you do that? I’m not allowed to convert a customer to a BCD service package. How do you deal with your hands being tied and not being able to sell what your customer wants to get done during their visit?”

God, sometimes questions just answer themselves…

So what we’re saying is, “We don’t want to keep our customers in safe and dependable vehicles.”

“We don’t care about our customers.”

“We want to make our processes so difficult that we’re like the anti-service department.”

Let’s start with the first sentence here: “My job as a Service Advisor is to sell service.”

No, it’s not. That might be what you think your job is, but that’s not the job of the Service Advisor. A Service Advisor’s job is to collect customers.

And how do we do that? By connecting to them on a deeper level. That’s something I say time and time again on the show.

Again, your job as a Service Advisor is not to sell service. It’s to collect customers by connecting to them on a deeper level, and the product you provide is helping them take care of their car. If you don’t know that, maybe you should check out our OnDemand Training. I think it would really help you.

I’m trying to help you with management here, but you gotta flip the script on them. Don’t start with, “My job is to sell service,” because they’re going to take that as a negative and you’ll still have your hand tied behind your back.

But if you say, “I’m trying to collect customers here so our retention goes up, but customers are never going to come back if they’re breaking down after they leave here. We’re missing the boat on gaining that circle of trust.”

Something like that will come off like, “Hey dealer or general manager, I know how you could sell more cars.”

Everybody wants to sell more cars. It’ll be music to their ears.

I think it’s crazy that there’s some dealerships today that have processes in place where you have to turn the customer over to another Service Advisor, or you can’t sell them anything but an air filter in the quick lane. If you make customers happy, you’ll retain them. Just like that.

“I hear a lot of negativity in the service drive; meaningless complaining, blame, and frustration coming out. This affects culture and performance. I would not trade the team I have for anything but I find myself in a situation where I have to focus on lightening the mood. Do you have any advice I can use in this situation to get my team’s positivity culture back on track?”

It kind of sounds to me like you’re asking how to change people here.

If someone is prone to complaining constantly or blaming everyone but themselves, that’s one of the hardest things on the planet to change. Changing human behavior is tough.

I always find that I try to find people that I don’t have to change, people that have similar thoughts and ethics that I do – the same level of happiness versus non-happiness. I’ve had a really hard time changing people who are always miserable.

Here’s another thing: like how the last question started with a sentence that was a red flag, the end of this one is kind of a red flag, too. You say you wouldn’t trade your team for anything, but you also think your positivity culture is so off-track to the point where you constantly have to lighten the mood?

To me, that sounds like an abusive relationship. Have you ever known somebody that will go back to the same abusive type of relationship over and over again? It’s like they love a person that’s a psychopath and they’re not good for them. 

Okay, that’s a little extreme. I’m not comparing your team to psychopaths, but I’m saying if you’re a Service Manager that goes into work every day with the goal of making your people happy, you’ll fail every time.

That’s the push-pull syndrome. If you feel like you have to push your team or pull them along, then you’ve got the wrong team. They should be motivating you! You should be fired up by the people you work with and you should have to be the one to keep up with them! If you have to push them or pull them up to your level, then that’s the wrong way to go.

Another thing to watch out for is the negative mindset of just wanting to get the job done and nothing more. That can only lead to negativity. You gotta gamify it, but I wouldn’t necessarily gamify the positivity. What you want to gamify is performance.

I don’t really care that much if a Service Advisor comes in with a big smile on their face if they’re not connecting with customers and are underperforming. Positivity only gets you so far, and if you don’t have the performance to back it up, then it’s just an act, right?

Some of the top Service Advisors in our weekly Top Dog Underground competition are more introverted and don’t have the sunniest dispositions, but they have an attention to detail, their customers love them, and they’re really good at their jobs!

You’re confusing the issue if you’re specifically chasing after emotions instead of performance. Feelings aren’t tangible, but results are.

I would tell someone on your team something like, “Listen, here’s the thing that I’m trying to do here: I know you’re better than this, but sometimes your attitude rubs off on other people. In fact, it demotivates me, and we spend a lot of time here together. We’re all after the same thing, and I believe in your heart that you’re meaning to do the right thing, but what you’re projecting with your negativity has an effect and I need it to change. So I’m going to remind you every time you do it, but I need you to commit to me that you want to change that.”

I think you need to give people that out. Like, “I know it’s not your intention, but I need you to be part of the solution.”

I find that the most important aspect of this is that, ultimately, you need to be willing to make a change if it doesn’t change. If they’re in control, then you’ll always be the victim. You’re allowing them to set the pace and tone. If you’re in control, you’ll eventually attract people that are like you.

When your mindset is like everybody’s great but the culture is bad, understand that the culture is created by the people in it. You might not want to hear it, but here on Service Drive Revolution, we tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to think that way.

“I seem to be having trouble with repeat customers not wanting to do work and only coming in for warranty or oil changes. This seems to be almost 50% of my clients in a day out of 19 to 20 ROs. Any advice to help change as this is lowering my monthly average?”

I’m gonna try to be as nice as possible here: you’re going into it with the wrong mindset.

All I hear is me, me, me. We’re here to serve and help the customer, not ourselves! Just by the tone of that question, I’m going to guess that you’re projecting all that on your customers.

Serve the customer, and the rest will take care of itself. Every customer is a friend. Make friends. Change the way you’re thinking and your destiny will change.

As always, thanks for your comments and your questions. Remember if you send us a question and we actually read it on the show we’ll send you some swag.

6 Types of Service Advisors That Will KILL Your Department

The Liar

Let me tell you what I mean by liar: they don’t tell customers what they really need. They don’t check history, so they don’t recommend maintenance that will save customers money in the long run. They don’t recommend everything.

I remember when I was an advisor and I would have these college students with like an old Volkswagen Jetta and it would need a laundry list of stuff. I’d tell them and they’d cry, then two hours later their dad would call me and give me a credit card.

But a lot of times, they lie. They don’t want that confrontation so they never recommend anything or they cherry pick, but that’s still lying to the customer.

The One Who Can’t See Past Their Own Wallet

So they have their own wallet up in front of them, and they can’t see through their wallet enough to not lie to customers. They’re like, “Well, I wouldn’t spend $1,000 on my car, so I’m not going to recommend it.”

They prejudge the customer by projecting their own unwillingness to spend money.

The Flippers and Jumpers

They jumped from one job to another. They never stay in one service drive and build a clientele because they’re always just chasing the pay plan.

The Rookie

Now, not everyone’s been at it a long time, but you could be there for a month and still have a better mindset than a rookie.

A rookie just doesn’t care about knowing anything or learning everything. It’s just amateur hour constantly.

The definition of a pro is someone who gets paid to do something, and a lot of advisors don’t treat it like a career. They don’t act like professionals.

The Line Cook

You’re acting like a line cook, not a chef. Not that I have anything against actual line cooks, the point I’m making is that you’re just flipping it and moving onto the next one. It’s transaction after transaction, rather than taking the time to nurture a truly great customer experience every time.

The Cannibal

Not exactly someone who eats people, but the cannibal is the complete opposite of the liar. This advisor sells customers stuff they don’t need and rips them off. They never really listen or have empathy for the customer. They just sell, sell, sell. They’re not collecting customers, they’re just trying to rip their heads off and eat them for dinner before moving onto the next victim.

Again, thank you everyone for making us the #1 most downloaded show in automotive. Remember to stay safe, wear masks, wash your hands, and come join us over at the new, where we’ve built a community for Fixed Ops departments everywhere. we’ll see you next time on Service Drive Revolution.

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