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Understanding the key differences between service advisors and service writers

What are service advisors worth to dealers and general managers? This is the question Don Reed tackles on the latest episode of Service Drive. Reed has helped thousands of dealers boost their service gross profits as CEO of DealerPro Training

Reed opens the show by discussing interesting data collected by a recent study on service departments. Data from the study shows that 81% of all customers pay labor comes through the phone. 86% of service advisors or writers will attempt to diagnose the concern over the phone, and 81% will give a repair quote to their customer over the phone before they bring in the vehicle. Reed ponders how a service professional could give a price quote before fully understanding the problem.

The study also found that 95% of service writers quote a price higher than an independent shop. This creates the avenue for customers to shop elsewhere without hearing the benefits of having their car serviced at the dealership. The most disturbing finding in the study is that 57% of service writers do not offer an appointment to customers on the phone.

Reed then breaks down the key differences between a service writer compared to a service advisor. While service advisors are proactive and investigate how to solve problems, service writers are reactive and are only looking to take orders. Service advisors are committed to scheduling the next appointment with customers, while service writers don’t see the purpose behind scheduling appointments. 

Reed wraps up the show by discussing the data behind the type of service customers who are likely to do business at the dealership. Reed explains how the number increases based on if the customer has conducted service with the business. He says that 18.4% of customers who haven’t had any service will buy another vehicle from the dealership, while 35.6% of customers who have had some service will look to buy. 47.4% will buy if they have had service within 90 days, 76% of customers that have had all service conducted at the dealership will continue to do business at that location.

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Don Reed
Don Reed
After 26 years in the automobile business as a dealer, GM, sales manager, service manager, service advisor and salesperson, Don began a new career as a consultant and trainer. As CEO of DealerPro Training and founder of The Don Reed PRO Training Network, he has worked with hundreds of dealerships and major dealer groups across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to increase profits in their fixed operations. He was rated a Top 10 Speaker at the NADA convention for four consecutive years. Visit the firm’s website at

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