We’ve previously talked about the role of the service advisor in an auto repair shop and touched on specific things service advisors can do such as minimizing buyer’s remorse after a care repair or using cost justification to justify auto maintenance, but many shop managers would like to know how they go about training service advisors to be more effective at their jobs so they can increase business and make sure that their customers are investing in repairs that will keep their cars safer and on the road longer.
As it is, every minute your service advisors spend working up estimates for work orders that will not turn into actual repairs is money down the drain. It’s not enough that your service advisors stay busy. They have to translate customer needs into sales in an efficient manner. While there are many automotive service advisor training programs ranging from free to expensive, there are some things that veterans in this business do know about service advisors that can save your business time and money.
First, salesmen are salesmen. A service advisor is a salesman first and foremost. They sell services that are often vitally necessary, but it’s their job to persuade the customer of that. While training programs can help and there are a number of strategies that will allow a new service advisor to get ahead of the curve, most salesmen are born with the ability to appeal to others, not made into sales machines. With this in mind, you should not give your service advisors endless amounts of time to prove they can do their jobs. If within 90 days of their hire, they are not making a difference in your shop’s sales, cut your losses and interview more carefully next time.
Service advisors cannot write an infinite number of service orders every day. Think about what their jobs entail: getting to know a customer, establishing trust between the shop and that person, and understanding and selling the right repairs or maintenance for a vehicle. This is not something a robot can do. It requires knowledge of the industry and of people. If you are asking your service advisors to write more than 10-15 repair orders a day, you are shortchanging your shop because they will not be able to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Quality trumps quantity: satisfied customers will be repeat customers who will keep earning your shop money. If your shop is too busy to allow your service advisors the time they need to be effective, invest in hiring more service advisors.
Service advisors can sell add-on services as well like extended warranties or detailing as well as repairs. Remember, they are salespeople. All salespeople need to do their job is a decent product, the right training or skill, and available financing. Once they have the ear of the customer, the sky is the limit of what they can make appealing.
While every auto repair shop is as good as its tech staff, it needs its service advisor staff to drum up work for those mechanics. If you haven’t seriously evaluated your service advisor staff goals and performance lately, it’s time to do so and make changes where necessary.