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9 Critical Mistakes Service Advisors Make and How to Fix Them

A few common oversights turn even the sharpest Advisors into profit leaks. I’ve seen behind the curtain…I know exactly why about 50% of customers now bounce from Dealership service bays, never to return. But here’s the good news – these faults are totally fixable.

Let’s walk through the 9 common mistakes Service Advisors make that are draining your department so we can retain more business:

They Job Hop Without Making Connections

Not putting in the time to nurture relationships is profit suicide. Key-holders and compelling maintenance plans only accumulate by grinding year after year in the same dealership.

When you connect deeply with just two people daily for 3-4 years – that loyalty compounding adds up to smooth sailing. You’ll have a phone book of customers who come back again and again without a thought.

Transient technicians chase short-term gains and rarely experience those fruits of retention. If you want to see your kids go to college or drive your dream car, you’ve got to shift focus to consistent community cultivation in one place.

attracting new customers

Love-Hate Relationships Between Advisors and Techs

Last I checked, the end goal is keeping clients happy and shops humming, right? Yet somewhere along the way, Technicians became mortal enemies rather than trusted partners.

Make efforts to bridge gaps over some grill-time or drinks. I’ve never met a gearhead who turns down extra snacks or an ice cold IPA as a show of camaraderie. One teammate’s win is a collective win. One side can’t claim superiority – it takes all sides spinning together to make the wheels turn.

When Technicians take time for thorough inspections, respect flows both ways – including inspecting findings being passed transparently to the customer. That’s the environment where trust and results thrive.

Focus Stays on Vehicles, Not People

I get it – busted cars pay our bills. But we’re in the people business first. Customers aren’t mindless money trees there solely for repairs. Make connections beyond the car door by taking genuine interest in their lives.

What good is recommending fresh spark plugs if your client is stressed to max about medical bills or troubles at work? Take ten minutes first to hear their story – that context and care is what differentiation and retention is built on in such a competitive market.

I say open your ears, listen, and ask about their personal lives. Don’t just be an order taker worried about getting cars in and out the door. Learn about kids’ grades, favorite restaurants, what TV shows they love – and recommend based on how their priorities align.

Dishonesty Destroys Goodwill

Don’t be an Advisor who doesn’t tell your customer the truth from the start. Selectively selling only more lucrative services while hiding other needed repairs kills trust for good – as does over promising and under delivering.

Come clean with the full picture upfront so your customers feel respected – that’s how to build community. Don’t avoid difficult conversations or assume what someone “can handle.”

Your customers aren’t naive – they’re becoming more consumer savvy. And they have lots of competitive options for vehicle care in this digital age. So shine a light on their entire mechanical picture to demonstrate your commitment to collaborative transparency.

Losing Control

Service Advisors should control what they can. Things like customer perception, timing and the customer’s experience are all things Advisors can control. But when you start handing off even the little details to other people, there’s a lot that can fall through the cracks. 

Even the smallest details, like making sure you’re there when the customer picks up their car makes a huge difference. Just as you wouldn’t want another Advisor writing up your customer, don’t let anyone else deliver final impressions during checkout either. Attentive customer care may seem like an art form, but staying in control of the entire customer experience is the only way to guarantee the results.

Diagnosing on the Drive

It’s surely tempting to flash that old Technician knowledge during test drives. But casual guesses about complex issues often miss the mark and discredits the inspections the Technicians are doing.

Simply note obvious symptoms then hand off to your bayside pros for diagnostic testing. Resist the temptation to shotgun guess causes without enough supporting evidence. I’ve rarely seen a Service Advisor nail a diagnosis without collaborating with Technicians. Their insights and technology capabilities are worth tapping into.

And even if you guess right and miraculously pinpoint the issue – Technicians still resent perceived encroachment on their domain of expertise. So defer to keep your team tight!

Tossing Consistency Out The Window

When everything fluctuates based on Advisor mood swings and shifting policies, how will customers ever know what to expect? The anxiety of unreliable experiences keeps people away. 

Don’t underestimate how momentary workarounds chip away at retention efforts. Establish rock solid systems around communications protocols, vehicle pick up policies etc. – and document them! Then insist on consistency from your team in executing day in and out.

Your professionalism will shine through and word will spread that your dealership offers assurances lacking elsewhere. Reference your procedures frequently rather than making exceptions on the fly. 

Lacking Empathy About Concerns

We have to meet customers where they are – with open minds and empathy. If a worried customer takes time out for annoying vehicle sounds, don’t just shrug it off and call them crazy! Their issue may seem minor to you, but it’s very real and deserving of inspection in their eyes.

Be empathetic when addressing a customer’s minor concerns like squeaks, rattles or hesitations – even if they seem frivolous. Don’t judge what you’ve tuned out from behind the wheel all day at 5 mph. And absolutely never imply someone is making something up just because you can’t replicate or understand it. Their concern warrants an investigation, not invalidation. Assume good intent about the problem, not craziness from the person!

Don’t Lose Hard Earned Profit

Hopefully illuminating these 9 common Advisor slip-ups provides some insight into overlooked areas. The good news is that with awareness comes opportunities for targeted improvements. Even small tweaks to behaviors around transparency, empathy, and communication paddles can quickly steer your ship toward progress.

If you want to ensure your Advisors avoid these profit-draining pitfalls, click here to schedule a quick 15 minute strategy session. My team and I can help assess your shop’s specific needs and build processes designed to optimize loyalty and bottom line results.

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