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The Top 5 Four-Letter Words Service Advisors Say

Today we have a very informative (and funny) topic that we’re excited about: The Top Five Four-Letter Words Service Advisors Use Every Day! And before you ask, yes. These four-letter words are all G-rated.

They’re all still bad, though. If you’re a service advisor, these are words that you definitely want to avoid at all costs!

See if you can pick the first out from this sentence:

“Do you have an appointment?”

Okay, that’s an easy one because there’s only one four-letter word in that sentence.

Number one is ‘have.’

What’s so bad about the word, ‘have?’ It seems perfectly normal, doesn’t it? Why shouldn’t service advisors say it?

To let Jeremy explain it, he absolutely hates when service advisors use the phrase, “Do you have an appointment?” because when a customer walks in, you should be thinking (and asking them), “How can I serve you?” NOT, “Do you have an appointment?”

Think of how impersonal that feels! Some customers would just be like, “Eh, I guess I’ll go somewhere else,” and just turn around and leave!

Number two is ‘busy.’

To put it simply: Busy doesn’t translate into profits. If somebody came into the shop and was like, “Oh, you’re so busy,” tell them, “We don’t like the word ‘busy.’ We’re profitable.”

When a service advisor thinks about the differences between busy work vs. profitable work, it’s easy to see that they’re totally different! There are times that you might need to say yes and times where you might need to say no, but it’s not just about being busy.

If you fall into the busy trap, it can cost you!

Think of a hamster running in a wheel. They’re busy, but what exactly are they getting done? Sure, a hamster is perfectly happy going nowhere, but busy work for the sake of being busy is not profitable!

Number three is “can’t/won’t.”

The apostrophe doesn’t count as a letter, by the way. This one is simple. You should never say “can’t/won’t,” as in “I can’t do that,” or “We won’t do that here.” Period. End of story.

Number four is ‘cost.’

I think most service advisors just see everything through their wallet.

They don’t recommend work to a customer, because they can’t imagine that the customer could afford it. The cost keeps them from telling the customer the truth!

When you look at driving car count, driving revenue, and getting cars in, customers today are very savvy. They’re calling around for prices and when you deal with a price estimate, they ask, “Well, how much is it going to cost for ______?”

Inevitably, if you’re skilled at dealing with leads, you understand that the customer doesn’t need a price before they pick the shop they’re going to. Price (or cost of the repair) is the absolute last thing on the customers’ minds!

A lot of service advisors get hung up on cost and sell with their wallet. They think primarily of the cost, when they should be thinking of more important words like value and investment.

When it comes down to it, a service advisor focusing on cost sees themselves as an expense for the customer instead of adding value to the customer.

Find number five in these phrases:

“I was just about to call you.”

“Give me just a minute.”

“I just need to finish your paperwork.”

“Your car’s just coming out of the wash.”

Number five is ‘just.’

As in, “I was just about to reach out to you, and I’m not just trying to cover my ass.”

Don’t be that service advisor. Your customers deserve better.

Those are the Five Four-Letter Words Advisors Use Every Day, and now it’s time for questions.

Remember, if you send a question to [email protected] and we answer it on the show, you’ll get some swag which includes a Service Drive Revolution T-shirt, coffee mug, notebook, stickers, hats, all kinds of cool stuff!

“Guys, I love the show, but why do you hate parts so much? Stop with the parts bashing!”

Oh, no. Well, I feel like this one’s been a long time coming.

I don’t want to say that there’s nothing positive about parts. There are some really solid exceptions, but Jeremy, at least, is never going to stop bashing parts. That’s just the way it is.

We all understand that our shops are labor factories, right?

We’re in the business of producing labor in order to make a profit, and it takes parts to do that.

So if the Parts department aren’t on the ball, they’re not being proactive, and they’re not helping to produce, then they become a bottleneck and hurt the business. And it just so happens that parts seem to hurt Jeremy’s business at every turn.

For example… On Tuesday, Jeremy called up one of his local dealerships and was like, “Hey, Steve. So and so needs this, this and this.”

Steve said, “Great, I’ll have it on the afternoon truck.”


The day comes and goes and, before he knows it, it’s 5:30.

He hits up Steve again. “Hey, where are those two things we were waiting for?”

“They didn’t show up.”

So Jeremy calls the next day and, no joke, he gets a different person. Now, he’s like, “I ordered these two parts yesterday. Can you just see where they’re at?”

They put him on hold for 12 minutes, and then, “Steve put the order in, but he forgot to put it on the truck, so you’ll get it on the afternoon truck.”

He didn’t get the part until 24 hours later, just because somebody forgot to do their job.

“I wrote service for Toyota in the late 90s for 15+ years. I was young and stupid. The money pulled me in, and instead of finishing university, I wasted away writing service, bouncing to different dealerships, every 5-7 years due to management changes or dealers being purchased by large corporations. The hours suck and you get absolutely no respect from anyone. This business is based off of fear of losing your job. I was ****ing gone all day long from every end. I wasted away all my twenties and my early thirties in the business. I eventually got out and went back to finish my degree. No more running around all day like someone’s *****. My advice to young people is to get out while you can. Writing service will eat you alive.”

That’s hilarious. What a bucket of sunshine. Your perspective has a lot to do with who you are as a person, because that’s not the experience I had.

So, let’s talk about the 90s, because that’s when I started working as a service advisor.

I was a kid that didn’t finish high school. I figured out that, the harder I worked and the more I took care of customers, the more money I made. I ended up making more money than some of the lawyers or doctors that I went to high school with back then!

It provided me with a great lifestyle, and great customers that I loved. I went home with the sense of accomplishment every day of having taken care of people.

Now, I had my pay plan change, and the first dealer I worked with was some rich kid that was useless. In my book, Millionaire Service Advisor, I renamed him Dick because he actually was one. He’d come in at 10 and leave at 2, and made me vacuum his car and clean up his weed and blow.

As difficult as Dick made it for us to get work done, like not hiring good techs and all that, we still figured it out. I focused on my opportunity, and I learned to maximize every pay plan I was ever given. Most importantly, customers kept coming in, and I kept helping them.

Then I went to another dealership, where my manager was great and the techs were good. It was easier, but the opportunity our industry has provided for all of us was crazy.

So because of that, I have to disagree.

Let’s say everything you said is true, and it’s not just some storm cloud that follows you around to every dealership you worked. You could have had a very different career if you just changed your mindset!

The opportunity is what you want to focus on. What can you control? I can control how I treat customers, how customers feel about me being consistent and getting better at it every day. I was able to control that, and it made me valuable.

Also, by being a victim, you’re doing everything opposite of what we teach.

You’re assuming that nothing’s ever your fault.

Just so you all know, besides this not being a question, this is the kind of post that doesn’t get you any swag, so don’t even think about it.

Also, if you hated the job that much, why would you let it go on for 15 years?

Besides ending with that downer, we had a great show. Thanks again to everybody who tuned in. We hope you have a great week and we’ll see you next time on Service Drive Revolution!

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