Why is it that so many dealerships are not sold on having a service advisor? There’s a common misconception that a sales advisor is a middleman or a sales person, when in fact, they’re absolutely not! While it is agreed that sometimes their actions can seem a bit sales-y, this is absolutely not the role of a service advisor.
The customers are already there. They’ve come to the dealership willingly, and they need the service. So the advisor isn’t really in a selling role, except for add-on suggestions. Service advisors are an important asset to any dealership.
They not only collect customers, a service advisor’s role is to serve as somewhat of a liaison between the technicians and customers. They’re the go-between for these two roles, and when they do their jobs well, everything operates more efficiently. They have a unique ability to speak with technicians in detail about repairs. In turn, they simplify the information for customers to better understand.
The Origin Story
Originally, customers came to dealerships and dealt directly with the technician who was working on their vehicle. They brought the car in, explained what they needed, whether it be a weird noise or an oil change, and handed over their keys. Which I mean, sure, it sounds great because there wasn’t any middleman, but it was also incredibly inefficient. Why? Because while it is important that there’s a strong relationship between a customer and their technician, the technicians lose time doing what they do best – fixing cars!
Insert the role of service advisor. Your service advisors will build customer relationships that will keep customers returning time and time again. All while letting the technicians do what they do best – servicing the cars! Happy customers and happy employees will keep the business running smoothly.
A Job That Pays for Itself
While in most cases, service advisors receive pay that is commission-based, an advisor receiving a salary is not impossible. They get either a percentage of the gross service receipts or the sales. If they do get a salary, they’re probably getting some form of commission on top of it, as well.
You see, the role of a service advisor is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of different aspects to juggle. It takes someone with a certain level of patience and understanding to really fill this role. They not only have to have excellent customer service skills, but they also must have excellent communication skills and attention to detail.
The service advisor is like a scribe. They tell a story from what the customer tells them, obtain as much detail as possible, and they hand that story off to the service technician, all while ensuring that they do not diagnose the problem themselves. Service advisors are masters of the art of detail, as they should get details so they’re clear on what to tell the tech, that it’ll make it easier for the tech to figure out the issue. This saves the technician a LOT of time… and we all know that time is money.
The technicians stay busy, and the customers stay happy, proving that the advisor is definitely not an unnecessary position, and it’s one of those careers where a middleman is actually beneficial for everyone around.
Communication is a Big Part of the Role
Let’s be clear. Customers expect communication!
A service advisor doesn’t only need to be able to communicate the customer’s story to the technician. They’ll also need to keep a clear line of communication to ensure that if the tech runs into any issues, or needs approval for something, that they have a quick and clear form of how they can reach the customer to keep their customer informed and technicians working.
Customers do not want to call the tech or advisor because they haven’t heard anything for hours. They expect clear and formal communication. Customer’s expect to be kept informed and in the loop about any issues the technician has found and if there are any additional problems or services that are crucial for the immediate future.
Advisors manage the process of getting the service completed for the customer. They need to be clear on the details of their products like extended warranty management, what’s covered under the warranty, and whether the customer needs to pay for the work being done.
The role of a service advisor also requires they are knowledgeable to be able to offer the customer options and suggestions of other services that are needed (or recommended) and provide ideas so the customer can make informed decisions about their vehicle.
So, What Does a Service Advisor Really Do?
So, what does a service advisor really do? A little bit of everything! Service advisors are highly focused individuals, with a precise skillset. They communicate with customers. Service advisors also manage the tech process so every tech has a clear description of what is needed for each client. Service advisors keep the business running smoothly.
If the advisor can’t get ahold of a customer when the tech makes a diagnosis, the tech will move on to the next vehicle, which often causes frustration with the customer. The service advisor’s role ensures that there is an easy way to contact the customer to fulfill their needs and ensure their car is ready in a timely manner. The advisor builds a line of trust with the customer, ensuring their happiness, which in turn will turn them into a returning customer!
As a liaison between the technician and customer, a service advisor has to be able to see the issue from both sides. At the end of the day, the advisor needs a healthy relationship with not only their technicians but the customers as well. It’s all about trust, and when a customer trusts the advisor and the dealership, they’ll keep coming back.