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Service Advisors Giving Away Free Car Diagnosis

Are you ready to learn about free car diagnosis?  

Today Christian and I are going to talk about something that was polarizing on our LinkedIn profile and it is about ‘How to handle Diagnosis with customers?’  We’re going to give you an update on what’s coming up in the next couple months with the Service Drive Revolution, however, as for now we will be giving you the best episode you’ll ever see! 

Before Christian and I get to talking about free cardiagnosis… I have a lot to say about this topic because there’s a lot of morons that left us a comment and I am not in the mood to make friends, I’m going to call people out that are morons. As we sit on LinkedIn, this has around 7,000 views and 60 comments and 59 of them are from morons because people don’t read comments online and understand what we’re talking about. People don’t really pay attention to the bigger issue and so they kind of ruin it for everybody that came to us seeking advice through our articles. 

I would say that we give away better FREE CONTENT than other people charge for!  

This beautiful post that we put here on LinkedIn is a roadmap for you to do a couple of things: 

  • Serves the customer at a very high level and makes the customer feel like you’re respecting their time. 
  • Get to know where the customer is at so Advisors can make better decisions on their needs.
  • You protect the technician because the technician is selling time and if you waste the technician’s time, they can’t ever get it back.


This helps you respect the technician’s time and make them more efficient and in return the technician reciprocates with a little bit more enthusiasm for your repair order, if you’re a Service Advisor. 

Now, what we’re writing about here is from my experience as an Automotive Service Advisor.  

A bunch of moron consultants and advisors, who’ve probably never written service a day in their life, commented on here and they don’t know what they’re talking about. This comes from actual experience in the service drive and helping customer after customer over and over again, this isn’t some idealized thing that we just pulled out of our pockets… It’s actually an idea that helps the whole process of working on repair orders. It works but people don’t read! In fact, people even say in their comments on here, “I didn’t actually read the whole thing” on other people’s stupid comments, which is just encouraging buffoonery. 

Here is how this works: a customer comes in and says, 

I smell something sweet burning” or “I have a rattle”, whatever it is…

A customer has some sort of complaint that’s going to require car diagnosis and it is not about selling diagnosis, the main goal here for Service Advisors is getting a pre-authorization.  When you sell a diagnosis, you’re wasting your time, the customer’s time, and the Technicians time.  

Refer to this past VIDEO for more clarification 

The reason why Service Advisors are doing it this way isn’t because it makes sense… It isn’t because it’s the best thing for Automotive Service Advisors, the Technician, or the customer. It’s simply because that’s how we’ve always done it in the automotive industry.  

When a customer comes in knowing exactly what they need serviced, does the customer want a diagnosis recommended by the Service Advisors? Not even a little bit and the customers could care less about diagnosis. In fact, diagnosis is changing the subject. Their biggest need psychologically is to figure out how technicians will repair their car and when a Service Advisor changes the subject and repackages this as a problem… That is another problem on top of the problem that we are layering on top of eachother in the complexity for the customer. When the customer had something very simple that they wanted to fix during their repair order write-up, this is something Service Advisors should avoid if you want better CSI and profits.  

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Remember customers are there to get their car fixed. 

When we tell them it’s an option and that the first thing you have them opt into is figuring out exactly what is wrong by doing a diagnosis, this confuses the customer with pricing and trust. If we never make it an option, they’re there to get their car fixed and they understand that this part of the service has diagnosis included already. 

This is what I would do as a Service Advisor if I was interacting with a customer during the time of a repair order write-up: 

“Thank you for coming in to get your car serviced, we’re going to have to check it out and figure out what it is.” 

Once you figure out what the customer’s problem is, the goal of the Service Advisor should be to get a repair-authorization and a good response looks something like this: 

“I’m going to give myself $2,500 to work with. If it’s less, it’ll be less. If it’s more, I’ll give you a call.”

The idea here is to gauge the customer’s intentions, so that Service Advisors can better serve them, save technicians time, and hopefully increase CSI scores.  

 Many times customers just use Dealerships for free cardiagnosis and they take their car somewhere else to get serviced. If the Service Advisors proposed the pre-authorization and the customer says, 

“Oh, I’m just going to have you diagnose it, I’m going to work on it myself” or

 “I’m going to have my technician do it.”

Don’t you want to know that at the time of the repair order write-up? Don’t you want to know that before the Technicians spend an extra hour? You want to know the customer’s intentions upfront so that Service Advisors can better serve them and this will help you navigate the situation and save everybody time. 

If the customer wants a diagnosis, simply give them the free car diagnosis, if they agree to the repair authorization, then you just increased your CSI and gained a customer.  

When Service Advisors get an amount of money during their repair order write-up, this allows technicians to fulfill their job and service the vehicle to its  maximum potential.  Now we don’t seem like morons because each Service Advisor set the price upfront and properly communicated with the customer about the resolution they can take. 

Try saying this: “If it’s more, we will call you. I will call you”

I’ll now be sharing the responses that these failed consultants left me on LinkedIn and I have to tell you that I disagree with a majority of their opinions. 

Comment #1

“I agreed to an extent, the only issue I would have is if something involving AC diagnosis that could get pricey, because if they declined the repair, you’ll have to pay a Technicians for their time”

What this Automotive Service Advisor is saying here doesn’t happen… If you get a pre-authorization because the customer would tell you, “I’m going to sell the car”, don’t do anything you know the customer will not need at the time of the repair order write-up.

The customer told you, “My AC doesn’t work.” We’re assuming they want the AC fixed, so from here let’s tell them how much it is in the worst case scenario, get that repair authorization, and proceed with getting it over to the Technician. If they get scared off, you can still function and operate from there.

Don’t be so fragile that you can’t handle a customer saying I don’t want to spend that much money because that is your job as a Service Advisor, to tell the truth and guide them through the process. The worst thing a Service Advisor can do to a technician in the shop is really to get them two hours into a diagnosis, to have a customer that never wanted to fix it to begin with.

Comment #2 

“While I mostly agree with this, I would personally refrain from using the phrase worst case scenario”  

No, you need to try this before you say that because when you are selling something, you need to understand one basic principle that everything including religion functions by, and that is that there’s a Heaven and a Hell.  If Service Advisors don’t present hell, then they can’t present heaven, it’s all in the juxtaposition and the contrast when you’re talking about the psychology of a customer. So if you aren’t willing to say the worst case scenario, then you are never going to be very good at being the Service Advisor or selling anything… 

Comment #3 

“That would be illegal”

Thanks for the legal advice. But you also don’t know what you’re talking about here. In any state, Service Advisors need to tell the customer that there’s an estimate of what they’re going to spend their money on. So the idea that you have to detail it for them doesn’t negate the fact that you can feel out where a customer is with their intention and give them the worst case scenario.  As an Automotive Service Advisor, every single comment that is made within the conversation relates to each other and by paying attention to specific details, you can understand their car repair needs and issue the correct repair order out to technicians. 

Comment #4

“I try to teach my staff to get a preliminary authorization. How much we’re planning on investing to repair this concern. Most clients have a price in mind.”

I think that this is the craziest thing I’ve ever read… To ask a customer, “How much do they want to pay?” It’s too confusing for the customer and you lose total authority as a Service Advisor when you don’t know how to ask the proper questions during the repair order write-up. When you’re telling the customer, “Well, what do you want to spend?” you’re making it a variable and this gives the customer the idea that pricing is an emotional variable and not a set thing that solves the customer’s solution.

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Comment #5

“How do you suggest handling the customer who comes in, gets a diagnosis, and declines the repair?”

If you’re understanding the technique here, as a Service Advisor, the customer would be telling you that upfront that the customer is going to decline the repair, all you have to do is just diagnose the vehicle.  This is the main thing we want to know as Automotive Service Advisors, which is if they will sign off on the pre-authorization at the time of the repair order write-up.  

Comment #6

“I’ll have to respectfully disagree. I don’t think we should call it a diagnosis. We have this Initial Fee to look at the customer’s concern.”

A fee sounds way nicer than diagnosis, right? Especially in the Automotive Industry..  The answer is no.  The whole point of this method is to not talk about the pricing that comes along with the diagnosis, so when you change the wording to ‘Initial Fee’ that would make it more challenging for the Service Advisor to properly sell repair services to the customer and get that repair-authorization.    

Comment #7 

The conversation goes like this… 

Service Manager: “We don’t charge customers for diagnosis anymore.” 

Technician: “Okay, but I spent two hours figuring out”

Listen, we gotta pay the technicians. Our model is built in that the technicians have to get paid for the time or we bill for the time that they work on cars. When the customer comes in with a problem, Service Advisors should fix their problem because diagnosis is the thing that we, as an automotive industry, created. The customer will pay for the diagnosis and for the repair, if we present it right! What happens is if you don’t tell the customer the truth and you’re not willing to say what the worst case scenario would be, then the technician is going to get stuck with diagnostics. Your average per ticket is going to be really low, your CSI will suffer, and it’s just inefficiencies all around when Service Advisors do not grasp the concept of pre-authorizations and getting the customer’s intentions.  

Comment #8 

I would not upsell at the counter like that. It’s double-dipping.” 

The point is when diagnosis is the theme and you’re not fully aware of why the customer came in. You’re changing the subject, so remember that as the Service Advisor you’re messing with the psychology of the sale and you’re breaking the script. When the customer already came in and said, “I want this fixed”, this is where you need to understand their position as a customer, help them achieve their goals of fixing their car, and get that pre-authorization at the time of the repair order write-up.  This is the primary goal if you are a Service Advisor because it will lead you to the path of success within the Automotive Industry.  

At this point this is where my blood pressure gets going and I should never read these comments because honestly it just makes me want to fight. There is not a test or a qualification for people commenting on stuff online, anyone can do it.  Which is why I don’t read the comments ever, because it drives me flipping crazy with these keyboard warriors. We’re trying to help you be better Service Advisors…

Well, I do hope for the non-morons out there that this helped you think of ways to serve the customers that come in for repairs. It will increase your CSI, improve your Net to Gross, boost Effective Labor Rate, and also shows respect for the Technician’s time and making the best use of it.

When technician’s pull the car in and out, you know, it’s one trip to parts and from there they can repressurize the system then rediagnose it. 

My favorite thing is the look on the Technician’s face when they bring you the report or you look at it, you see as well within the budget that you had already got authorization for. You hand the ticket back to the deck and say, “Okay, go ahead” and they look at you like “what…?” And then they just go back and they fix the car. This is the most efficient method you can take and it’s so fun to see the look on the Technician’s face when you give them the okay right away. 

Now for a little announcement, if you made it this far on the show, we’re going to take a little hiatus.  We will come back for Christmas for an ugly sweater episode!  But thank you everybody, we truly hope that you have a good holiday season and we will see you again real soon! 

Got a question? Call us at 1-833-3-ASK-SDR

Learn more about free car diagnosis here.



Related Blogs/Podcasts: 

Are EVs the Future OR the End?

Your Service Department’s Secret Weapon– And It’s FREE!

The Top 10 Reasons Why Customers Hate Service Advisors


Today Christian and I are going to talk about something that was polarizing on our LinkedIn profile and it is about ‘How to handle Diagnosis with customers?’ We will be giving you the best episode you’ll ever see!

Got a question? Call us at 1-833-3-ASK-SDR

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