service advisor

In the NADA Dealership workforce survey, it was revealed that two of every five service advisors would leave during the year. With a near 40% turnover rate, this is one of the worst professions as far as retention is concerned.  

So why are these valuable employees leaving, and how can you improve service advisor turnover? Believe it or not, you can make some simple changes and increase employee satisfaction. 

Why are service advisors unhappy?

If you talk to a disgruntled service advisor, you will hear the same reasons they hate the job.  

  • Long workdays 
  • Oppressive schedules, including holidays and weekends 
  • Sub-par pay, based too much on commission 
  • Too many duties 
  • Disrespect from boss, employees, and customers 
  • Dealership relies too much on customer surveys to judge performance 
  • Lack of appreciation 

Knowing what is causing the discontentment should help you retain your service advisors. Consider changing these three actions. 

1. Show more appreciation

For many service advisors, it’s as simple as being heard and listened to. You can’t judge the performance of any employee by the customer surveys, especially the one that consistently gives the car owner bad news.  

Instead, watch and monitor the service advisor’s performance and be ready to give praise where it is due. While they aren’t in kindergarten anymore and don’t require gold stars, a simple pat on the back can make all the difference.  

2. Offer plenty of training

For some service advisors, it’s just a matter of not having enough training. To improve satisfaction, the employee must know how to do the job right and understand all of the procedures. Otherwise, frustration is sure to come.  

Sit with your team and discuss the training they want to receive. You might be surprised at how willing they are to learn more and get better.  

3. Don’t overlook compensation

With the majority of service advisors working on commission, it can be difficult to keep them happy when nothing is being sold. While it’s not absolutely necessary to change the pay structure, there are some steps you can take to improve satisfaction. 

First, take a look at the benefits package. Are you giving your service advisors everything the next dealership would offer? If not, you want to make sure it is competitive. Otherwise, your service advisor is sure to jump ship. 

Additionally, there should be a perk to working weekends and holidays. You can be creative with the extra benefits offered to your service advisors that want to work beyond the 9 to 5.  

It all comes down to communication 

Whatever goals you are attempting to reach, you and the service advisor can make a great team. When treated right, you have a loyal ally on your side. Spend time talking to your team and addressing needs as they arise. Not only will you create an environment that retains service advisors, but you will become the dealership that others want to work at 

Soon, other service departments will be looking at your operations as an example of how to succeed.  

Did you enjoy this article from Brian Jones? Read other articles on CBT News here. Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch-up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.