It's a great idea to take a look this winter at all your procedures and process's and make any necessary changes or train your peronell.
Service Writing is an Art and takes a special breed. Here are a few guidelines and tips to help you get started in providing a profitable service department.
SERVICE ADVISORS work in new and used dealerships and large repair shops. They greet customers, listen to their description of the problems or service needed, determine the type of service required, and prepare service orders. If a vehicle requires additional repairs not covered in the original order, they estimate the added cost and telephone the customer for permission to do the work. They also advise customers on other available services. Service Advisors, sometimes known as service writers handle the administrative and customer relations functions of the service department. Their work influences customer satisfaction and their willingness to do business with the dealer again.
• Advise customers about necessary service for routine
• Help identify a mechanical problem by questioning the
customer or doing a visual inspection or road test.
• Confer with customers about inspection results, recommend
corrective procedures, and prepare work order for needed
• Prepare a repair order showing time, cost, and labor
estimates for service.
• Write a brief description of the problem on the repair order
to help the mechanic locate the problem.
• Explain the work performed and the charges to the
• Handle customer complaints.
WHAT SKILLS ARE IMPORTANT?
Important skills, knowledge, and abilities for Automotive
Service Advisors include:
• Troubleshooting – Determining causes of operating errors
and deciding what to do about it.
• Reading Comprehension – Understanding written sentences
and paragraphs in work-related documents.
• Writing – Communicating effectively in writing as
appropriate for the needs of the audience.
• Speaking – Talking to others to convey information
• Active Listening – Giving full attention to what other people
are saying, taking time to understand the points being made,
asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at
• Mechanical – Knowledge of machines and
tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and
• Engineering and Technology – Knowledge of
the practical application of engineering
science and technology. This includes applying
principles, techniques, procedures, and
equipment to the design and production of
various goods and services.
• Problem Sensitivity – The ability to tell when
something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It
does not involve solving the problem, only
recognizing there is a problem.
• Number Facility – The ability to add, subtract,
multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
Good communication skills and sales ability are
necessary for success in this occupation. Advisors
need the ability to work with customers who are
concerned about the amount and cost of the work
to be done to their machines. They also need to
be able to sell the service of the dealership or
WHAT’S THE WORK ENVIRONMENT?
This job generally requires standing on one’s feet all day. Unlike the mechanic’s job, it is removed
from dirt and grease. The work day is broken into relatively quiet periods and extremely busy times,
such as the early morning when customers bring in their machines for service and repair and in the
evening when they return to pick up their automobiles. An Service Advisor’s work may not be physically strenuous, but may be emotionally exhausting at times. They spend a large amount of time interacting with the public. They may need to calm stressed, irate, and
It is important to remember that we do not diagnose on the counter or on the phone.Do not over promise that warranty will cover anything unless it is preapproved. Develop a diagnostic fee for each situation. Generally a one half hour diagnostic fee can be applied to any symptom. This allows the service advisor the ability to properly and professionally eliminate himself from the diagnostic procedure.
Remember , the technician will need as much information he can get to quickly and efficiently diagnose and repair the machine. A simple acronym will work in all situations and should be utilized in some aspect on every Repair Order. (SOAP) will clean up any mess!!
S- stands for what the Subject tells you is wrong with the machine. For example: “it is hard to start”. Be sure to ask as many questions as you can think of about the issue. Be a detective!! “Is it hard to start for the first time only or every time?” Do you utilize the choke?”
O-stands for what you Observe. Verify Serial number, make model most likely when unloading machine. Ask the owner to try and start the machine. Does he use the choke, does he pump the gas, did he turn on the gas, is there gas in the machine, is the airfilter dirty. All are examplesthat you can notate on the R.O……remember “DO NOT DIAGNOSE” You are not the certified technician.
A- stands for what the technician ACTUALLY Diagnose is the problem. He will come up with an ACTION that will fix the issue and let you know. For example “ accelerator pump has tear in diaphragm and needs replaced, parts plus .5 hrs and diagnostic fee” at this point you can contact customer and let him know the cost and ask for verbal verification to repair. Always offer extra services at this time.
P- Plan. Installed new diaphragm and lube oil and filter change. Parts plus .5 hrs for diaphragm and .75 for oil change.
Simple but very effective and efficient. Practice it and use it or variation in every repair order.
Organization. A service advisor needs to know where every RO is and in what status they are in. This is an impossible task if you do not use some type of filing system. Best is to utilize a system of simplicity. Utilize a folder system.
Repair Orders IN. Recent repair orders that have not yet been diagnosed by techinician.
Diagnosed. Awaiting Customers approval to repair.
Waiting for Parts. After diagnosed, approved by customer and if parts are needed. Notate the parts on the RO and an expected date.
In Progress. Parts are in and technician is working on repair, estimated time when completed.
Completed- Repair order is done. Final billing and call customer. Alphabitize these for ease of customer pickup.
Warranty. Completed, Customer picked up . Final billing and warranty claim needs to be filed.
Scheduling. Do not over book your technician’s. Customer nor tech’s will appreciate . Each technician has the ability to book up to 10 hrs per day of labor. But only if the entire process is in place and working smoothly. Start out with 6 hrs of labor per day and build up as you and your tech’s get more efficient. Utilize desk top calendar to schedule services.
Truly...if you stick to the simple guidelines above you will see an increase in performance and profitability from your largest profit center in any dealership..THE SERVICE DEPARTMENT.