Questions Your Service Advisors Should Be Asking..
Welcome everybody to Service Drive Revolution.
I’m Chris Collins and this is Christian Lafferty. Today, we’re going to be talking about questions your service advisors should be asking. Additionally, we’re also going to keep you up to date on the latest news in our industry.
If you’re on our On Demand or in our coaching group, props to you. If you are not on our On Demand program, you should probably get on it.
Moving forward, let’s get into the main topic which is about questions your service advisors should be asking.
Before we get started, we will be going off of the perspective of a hungry Service Advisor that is looking to succeed.
This Service Advisor is one that’s really effective at being key throwers. Service Advisor’s duty should be focused on building their customer base.
I contend that people that say Service Advisors are Sales people have never written service in their life.
Service Advisors are customer collectors. Their job is to collect customers because selling is the easiest part. If somebody needs brakes and you can’t sell to them, they’re gonna go and get brakes somewhere else
All Service Advisors should ask and a lot are, let me know when you’re ready.
Christian and I both agree that the WORST question for someone to ask when a customer comes in is…
“Do you have an appointment?”
That’s the worst way to start your conversations with your customers.
I hate it when you go into restaurants and they’re like,
“Do you have a reservation?”
I understand why they’re asking it, but I still think it’s super off putting.
Watch this to understand what to avoid when talking to customers, HERE.
1) The first question a Service Advisor should be asking themself is:
“Why Am I Here?”
This is an internal question to the self. We said these are questions Service Advisors should be asking. So when questioning your position and purpose at the dealership helps you understand your end goal.
Part of a Service Advisor’s duty should be to collect customers. I already covered this, they should collect customers and keep them in a safe and dependable vehicle.
That’s why we’re here and now if we understand this, we’re gonna have clarity in what we do going forward.
2) The next question your Service Advisor should be asking after greeting them is:
“Where are you headed today?”
I like to do something completely unexpected, it involves misdirecting them away from the commodity.
Furthermore, the car is a commodity, the oil change, the service, the check engine light is a commodity. In the sense that other shops can do that, they can do that repair for less or more money.
I want to very quickly get away from the frame of a commodity when providing service. Therefore, when Service Advisors ask right off the bat,
“Do you have an appointment?” or “What brings you in today?”
You’re putting them in the frame of the commodity and we should strive to make it personal. The question that I used when I was a service advisor that worked really well for me is an open ended question:
“Where are you headed today?”
It’s a little bit of a frame shift in the script. What you want to avoid is not furthering the conversation when interacting with them. I often see Service Advisors, who are introverts, diverge away from the exchange when they are uncomfortable.
What I’m doing here is getting to an answer so now I can actually connect with them. The first two really are almost just transactional. “Where do you work?” They tell you where they work. “What do you do there?” They tell you what they do there.
Then you ask something specific about that job. I’ve always found a way to make that third question funny.
If somebody says they’re a martial arts instructor, you can say something like:
“How many people have you killed?”
Whatever it is, you can say something a little funny and irreverent that makes them laugh. But now what we have done here is that we’ve gone from connecting this experience from a commodity to an Identity.
This is their identity, what they do every day is part of their identity. I asked Christian who he talks to about identity and he said, “my friends”. What I want to emphasize here is that we talk to our friends about our identity.
The fact of the matter is that we trust our friends to help us fix a problem. By shifting the mindset of the way we approach our customers, we can quickly build that rapport and relationship with them.
Now from here, we want to continue down the path of questions that align with their identity and not commodity. Every dead end conversation is an opportunity to ask another question.
The reason why, “where you headed today” is important would stem from the idea that everybody’s headed somewhere. They’re in motion.
3) Now that we’ve shifted and framed the conversation they have with us as a friend, this is what you want to ask next:
“How’s the health of your car?”
Once we dive into their identity, service advisors could now flip it and be in a different frame. Which is the frame of friend and identity. Now when you say, “how’s the health”, you are referring to the vehicle as something that’s living, moving and important, not as a dead vegetable that has no life or importance.
It is important and it shows that we care. The reality is that we drive everywhere and all over the place! Therefore, the safety and maintenance of it is important.
“How’s the health?”
Is the best question to approach your customer after you’ve established their identity.
Another one is when you’re walking around the car and you’re recording damages, you could say,
“How did the bump or the bruise happen?”
Which is another question you could be asking that also implies a living important thing.
4) The next question your service advisors should be asking revolves around their habits:
“Have your driving habits changed?”
Additionally, you could give it a timeframe and dig deeper into their history with the vehicle. This is almost bordering on a solicitation question. It makes them think about their driving habits and then they’re gonna think about how they could be driving better. Most importantly, it’s going to alert that part of their memory and make them think.
5) The next question service advisors should pose is (thanks to Christian’s idea):
“Would you like to take advantage of our shuttle today?”
I asked Christian to further his explanation of this question and he tells me,
“One of the things that I’ll see happen in the service drive is, I’ll head on there. Then I’ll hear Service Advisors saying to the customer if they would be waiting with us today.
I’ve learned that if you get an extremely full waiting room, it starts to kind of back things up. Everybody has a heightened level of awareness and the one thing I would tell you is if you sit in the waiting room for 15 minutes, it feels like two hours.
Our concept of time is lost when things are busy. When someone asks me if I will be waiting with them, I believe my subconscious tells me that’s what I’m supposed to do. Then there’s another thing going on. I think that we probably have recognized that over 2-3 years ago, we were pretty lucky in the amount of loaner cars that we had in our fleet.
Everyone knows now with the chip shortages, no one has any loaner fleet left. They’ve been given back and not many people have loaner cars.”
Christian poses this question because his goal is to offer up a solution in a preventative way. We’re trying to get ahead of this bus.
6) The next question to ask for you to become a millionaire service advisor is:
“Did you get your vehicle serviced somewhere else?”
When you get to the point that you are creating the repair order, you’ve checked history, and you’ve recommended to the customer some sort of maintenance they’re due for. If they tell you that they already had that done this is when I’d ask,
“Have you had it serviced somewhere else? Do you mind if I just call them and see it’s been done there?”
This is to ensure that we’re not duplicating things that someone else has already done. I always made the attempt to call the other service department or shop. Having said this, I want to be a good steward of that trust that the customer is giving me. So I’m gonna put in a little extra work and try to qualify.
7) The next question that Service Advisors should adopt is an important one:
“If I need to contact you, what does your day look like? Should I text or call you?”
This sets up a lot of things, it’s setting up a frame, giving importance to the customers, and your pre planning in a sense. I would ask that question after I had introduced the inspection.
Now I wanna follow that with trying to figure out the best time to call them and which form they would prefer. As service advisors, we need to go down that road and figure that out, but also have a plan.
So they know that when you’re trying to contact them, it’s really important and we’re not leaving that open ended.
To close off my list of questions service advisors should be asking…
Some things I was thinking about on the back is when they pick up the vehicle, I would always thank them. Next I’d give them my card and say something to the effect of wanting to be their Service Advisor. I like to make sure that my customers don’t hesitate to call me.
Service Advisors should let customers know that they are here for them. I want to be the person that you lean on for your service and repairs. Telling them this is a step that nobody does.
By wanting to be the solution, service advisors should start collecting customers easier than ever before. We want the people to come into our service drive to be receptive to the treatment we give them. All I have to say is make them your friend and start building that rapport immediately and genuinely.
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