Service Writers Vs. Service Advisor - Part 2

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Don Reed - Also by this author

In my last article, I discussed some ideas on how to recession proof your dealership by achieving 100 percent service absorption in your service department. In doing so, I focused on the issue of service writer versus service advisor. To achieve our goal of 100 percent service absorption, one must first make the commitment to employ service advisors (not writers), get them professionally trained on how to sell benefits and build value by advising the customer of what their service needs are every time they come into our dealership.
I then stated that service advisors should not only be trained to sell like professional salespeople, but they should also be given specific individual sales goals and then be compensated based upon their performance – just like your salespeople. To do this one must measure an advisor's performance daily, weekly and monthly – just like salespeople. Most computer systems have a service advisors' performance report that will give you the repair order count, parts sales and labor sales for each advisor. It is further broken down by customer pay, warranty and internal. Most dealerships are experiencing a decrease in warranty sales and either flat or decreasing internal sales. Obviously, the answer to 100 percent service absorption lies in maximizing sales on every customer pay repair order written, while controlling variable expenses.

Let's start at the time of the write up. Ask yourself this question: "Do my service advisors dress the same as my salespeople?" If the answer is no, then ask yourself why not? I was recently in a full line GM store where the salespeople wore dress slacks and golf shirts with the dealership's logo embroidered on the chest. The advisors wore blue jeans with everything from tee shirts to flannel shirts with the shirttail out. Why do dealers allow this to happen? The average salesperson gets maybe three sales ups per day, whereas the average advisor gets 15 or more! Who do you think has the most impact on your dealership's image? Solution: All advisors dress the same as the salespeople!

Next, let's think about how our customers are greeted on the showroom floor: "Good morning, welcome to ABC Motors. What brings you into our dealership today?" Question: "How do your advisors greet their customers?" Do they ask questions that call for a "yes" or "no," or do they ask a question that gives them the answer to the first of the "three C's", called the CONCERN, such as "How may I help you?" or "What brings you into our service department today?" Solution: All advisors should meet and greet their customers the same as the salespeople do.

If "Fixed right the first time" is important to your CSI score, then your advisors must be very thorough in asking the right questions to gain all the necessary information that will enable the technician to properly diagnose the cause of the concern the first time he inspects the vehicle. Here are some examples of recent repair orders that I have personally reviewed: "Fix noise," "check A/C," "check for hard start." Repair orders like these do not provide the technicians with the kind of information that they need to perform an accurate and timely diagnosis of the vehicle's condition. Solution: All advisors must be trained to ask questions that begin with the words who, what, where, when, how and tell me about, in order to give the technician all the information he needs, which of course means the technician will then become more productive for the dealership and himself.

Implement the three solutions we have just reviewed and you're on your way to recession proofing your dealership as well as increasing your owner retention. Is this starting to sound like "The Road to a Sale?"

Vol 2, Issue 4

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