Being a Service Advisor can be an overwhelming, stressful situation. The job may seem that you are constantly being bombarded with requests, tasks, and duties that keep you on your heels and on the defensive.
In this situation, it feels like you don’t have time to be proactive, to literally take control of your day. I want to clarify and emphasize a few simple things that you can do, every day, consistently that will mitigate and even replace your broken paradigm. Yes, do these things religiously and you will find you actually can exert an awful lot of control when focusing on what you can control.
It’s the 3 Actions that Count the Most!
- Pre-Write Up / Pre Appointment Call
This is where you are ‘setting the stage’ for your customers’ expectations for their visit. This step will endear your customer to you because you essentially come across as a caring Advisor. People are dying for someone to care about their needs and wants.
Here are the basic steps:
Pre-Write Up package for each customer
Print the customers’ pre-work orders
Print the customers’ Service History
Factory Info Print Out (VISS, OASIS, TISS, etc.), recall and Warranty History – Add Recalls to the Pre-Work Order
A copy of our Service Menu
A plan of what to offer when customer arrives including due and past due services, services based on conditions discovered during the walk around and postponed services from a previous visit. Remember: people don’t usually buy the first time you ask so it’s critical to present those previously declined services each visit.
Ensure you address the PRIME CONCERN first and foremost in your customer approach.
And, another added touch is to actually call and discuss your findings and your plan after studying their Pre-Write Up Package before your customer arrives. Doing this adds a level of comfort for your customer that will put you on the right footing for them accepting your recommendations and recognizing you as a top notch customer service provider.
- Assumptive Approval to perform a courtesy vehicle Inspection: Inspect it first rule
These are subtle but absolutely necessary steps I see so many people skipping. What you are really doing here is setting the expectation that you will report on the condition of the car, good or bad. This prevents the customer feeling like we are “ONLY trying to sell them something”. Your words should reference that review, “We will also do a courtesy inspection to ensure there is nothing else that needs to be brought to your attention, OK?”
By doing this you are making it OK to talk about whatever needs they may have. Use the Inspect-it-first Rule and make sure you have those inspection findings early in the cycle. The timing is critical, you should have the inspection review no more than 15 to 20 minutes after your customers arrival. Any later and you’re likely just giving them a shopping list for somewhere else. They will be ready to get out of your Dealership if you wait too long.
- Employ a Proactive Status Call Process
Service Advisors must call all service customers back to provide a vehicle status at least once per day. This is to be followed every day, every time, without fail, no exceptions. You are NEVER in the best situation if a customer has to call YOU to find out what is happening with their car. First, you may not have all the information and have to scramble to get a good answer for them. Second, they already feel slighted that they had to call you — count on that. Your best chance to impress your customer and get them to trust you enough to heed your recommendations to always contact them FIRST!
THE SET UP: This is critical! Tell your customers that YOU will call them and give them status in a certain time window. Set yourself a standard time frame you do your calls and tell everyone the same time window. “I make status calls with all of my customers no later than 3:30 p.m.. Of course, I will call you before that if we have news before that. What is the best number and/or way to contact you?”
Sort your listing of all of your customers that currently have their vehicle at the dealership for service.
Determine the status of each vehicle so you will be prepared when you call the customer (e.g., holding for parts, currently being repaired, the vehicle will be coming in to a service stall soon, etc.).
Divide your status calls into two groups:
- The first group is mainly for vehicle carryovers from the previous day and that mornings customers.
- The second group is all customers that have not received a call that day or need another status update.
Make notes in the system, notes need to be brief but descriptive. For example: Waiting for parts, repairs to be completed 11/23/17.
The service manager / lane manager will check status on your customers with you at the end of each day.
Use your Prioritized Estimating Techniques with customers when making status calls. Have your estimate figured in priority of need and clear options to offer, then express those options and be quite so the customer can respond with their best choice.
These are three critical things you can do every day to improve your outcomes and get ahead of the wheel, so to speak. If you adhere to the simple and very effective protocols, I guarantee you will be much more productive, poised and in control of your day! Make every day count!