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In today’s environment, where customers want everything now and for free, it’s essential we build trust and credibility with our customers. Particularly because the service we provide is unique in and of itself, other sales strategies are not going to work here. We are selling a product that most of customers have never seen before and wouldn’t know how to double check the work. You have to establish a connection with the customer to gain the trust and the confidence that you will take care of them. Most of selling in the service department comes down to if the customer likes and trusts you. This Service Advisor Training centers on the Circle of Trust. It will help you accomplish and increase your customer retention.

Let’s start from the beginning with establishing an Instant Connection. Nothing kills connection quicker than making your customer come and find you. Hopefully, you all are already meeting your customers out on the drive. So, when you’re meeting the customers at their car, never ask the stereotypical questions like “What brings you in today?” or “Do you have an appointment?”. Instead strike up a conversation based on what is important to the customer. Remember the car is a commodity and not their passion.

When you’re doing the walk around with your customers, your goal should be to connect with them on a deeper level, Pet the Dogif you will. Talk about things like their pets, their kids, their work, favorite teams, really anything but the car. Build trust and a connection like a friend would. Service Advisor Training Pro Tip: imagine your customers were over at your house for a barbeque, what would you talk about? Focus on that as you’re leading the customer around the car checking for bumps and bruises.

Back in the 1950s, service advisors didn’t even exist. Most of the time customers pulled right into the shop and dealt directly with the technician. Part of your role as a service advisor is to make sure your customers are maintaining their car and that they understand what the car is due for. Check the History and Advise accordingly. Most studies show that customers generally aren’t maintaining their car because they weren’t informed or the maintenance due wasn’t communicated to them effectively. Bring your customers up to your desk, check their history, and clearly advise them on the maintenance issues at hand.

Whether you’re doing a 20 point inspection or a 58 point inspection, I personally recommend the 32 Point Inspection, introduce it upfront with your customers. Approach it by saying, “While the car is here, the technician will look it over for safety issues.” That way when you call your customers with any safety issues the technician found, they won’t think that you’re just searching for work. Quite the opposite, you’ll look like the hero you are.

Don’t beg for CSI at the end. Here’s something most service advisor training won’t tell you. Commit to CSI Upfront. Some of the service advisors I’ve seen just look like homeless people begging for a handout when they wait until the end to mention CSI. Commit to the customer upfront that you are going to provide a high level of service and that their feedback is appreciated. Then you only have to gently remind them at the end of their appointment.

One of the biggest mistakes service advisors can make is that they don’t Tell the Truth. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, writing the report and trying to build rapport with the customer, to over promise. Don’t say you can have the car done by 2 o’clock when you don’t yet know what the car needs. The idea is to under promise. Service Advisor Training Pro Tip: make the window for the appointment as long as you can. The longer the window, the more likely it is to add additional work to the RO. Properly set the frame upfront so you’re not causing any disappointment on the backside.

Sometimes a tiny little, seemingly insignificant, gesture can show huge rewards. Say for example, you send your wife or girlfriend flowers at work unexpectedly. For the rest of the week not only are you getting lucky but she feels amazing after having received flowers in front of all her friends. It’s the same thing with our customers. It’s usually standard procedure for the customer to call the service advisor wondering when their car is going to be done. I purpose incorporating a Two Hour Call to distinguish yourself from all the other service advisors. Keep track of when you wrote the customers up and as close to two hours as you can, give them a call. Even if you have nothing new to report, just let them know that you are just checking in. It’s as easy as saying “We’re still waiting for the technician to look at your car but I was thinking about you.” Touch them before they have a chance to touch you.

Once the technician has checked out the car and given you an inspection sheet, Call with a Diagnosis. If they’re in the waiting room, be sure to bring them into your office to present the work privately. When you’re presenting the work, always present value first and price second. Most advisors tend to list out the price for each individual piece. All the customer is going to hear is the numbers. It’s critical that you sell the value before you sell the number.

Get the car Done Early. Even if you know you can get the car done by 3 o’clock, tell the customer 5 o’clock. Then it’ll be a pleasant surprise when you call at 3 and tell them their car is ready to be picked up. Remember, under promise and over deliver.

It’s imperative that you have a system in place to guarantee Quality Control. It’s a tiny little extra step that makes all the difference in terms of CSI. Inspect the cars as much as you can. Make sure they’re washed, the keys are upfront, that there’s no new dents before you call the customers to come pick it up. Don’t fumble the ball at the 1 yard line.

Make sure that you touch your customers when they come to collect their car so they’re not doing the Walk of Shame to the cashier. A lot of times when customers come in, they’ll go directly to the cashier. They’ll leave without the service advisor reviewing what was done and what work will be due at their next appointment. You should always be reconnecting with your customers before they leave. There’s a couple ways you can accomplish this. One, you can withhold the paperwork from the cashier. That way the cashier has to inform you when your customers arrive. Or two, when you call your customers to inform them their car is ready, ask them to come by and see you before they go to the cashier to review the appointment. It’s at this point that you should remind them of your commitment to CSI and to be expecting a survey from the manufacturer.

The last link in the Circle of Trust and the key to making money as a service advisor is Be There Next Time. Stay in one place for a long time and collect customers. Selling will become the easiest part when you customers like and trust you. The hardest part will be staying in one place for a long time. But when you’ve been at a dealership for 3 years, you’ll have customers coming back specifically asking for your assistance. Start with little steps. Make it a goal to connect with 2-3 customers a day on much deeper level. Bear in mind that repeat customers mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales. Stay in one place and become a fixture, an icon, in your dealership and reap in the rewards.

With these Service Advisor Training tips you now have the information to help you thrive as an advisor and create a Circle of Trust between yourself and your customers.

1. Instantly Connect with your Customers
2. Pet the Dog
3. Check the History and Advise
4. Introduce the 32 Point Inspection
5. Commit to CSI Upfront
6. Tell the Truth
7. Utilize the Two Hour Call
8. Always Call with a Diagnosis
9. Get Done Early
10. Ensure Quality Control
11. Avoid the Walk of Shame
12. And… Be There Next Time.

So get out there, put these tools to the test and I guarantee results.

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