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training service advisors

The Keys to Training Service Advisors

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An efficient and well-trained service advisor is pivotal to a car dealership’s success. Properly training service advisors is vital — great service advisors can create customers for life, while inexperienced ones can actually drive away potential customers.

As is true with any other professional, service advisors need systematic training to succeed and add great value to your dealership. Therefore, an investment in training service advisors can help you achieve good returns.

Training Service Advisors — The Basics

Even though there are no minimum requirements from dealer groups or manufacturers for a new service advisor, it’s a good idea to set the standards at the dealership level. An ideal reference point for new service advisors is ASE Service Consultant Training. The program offers systematic online learning for customer experience, dealership operations, sales skills, and technical knowledge about vehicles.

With a thorough understanding of the technicalities that come with vehicles, service advisors can easily communicate issues with customers. You can also align the service advisor with an experienced auto technician at your dealership to enhance their mechanical knowledge.

The Walkarounds

Once the new advisor has basic knowledge, slowly introduce them to the service side. Have them learn the walkaround process before anything else. This will reinforce their technical knowledge before introducing them to customer interactions. The walkaround is an excellent opportunity to connect the dots between the customer’s concerns and actual sales.

The Dealer Management System (DMS)

Customers are really annoyed with advisors who are unable to navigate the Dealer Management System (DMS) effortlessly. So, the new service advisor should know the DMS inside out. Make sure the new service advisors participate in programs that teach them how to use DMS.

Training from a Senior Service Advisor

While certification courses and training programs are ideal for training service advisors, all car dealerships function differently. So, before drafting work orders individually, new service advisors should spend at least 1-2 weeks with a senior service advisor. During this period, they will imbibe communication and sales skills, recollect the main principles of customer interactions, and write work orders under the supervision of a more experienced advisor.

Within 8-10 weeks, a new service advisor graduates into a junior service advisor. At this point, the new advisor will start working individually, writing work orders, and completing them.

Other Useful Tips for Training Service Advisors

  • Clearly define sales targets to help advisors stay focused and encourage them to enhance their skills. Daily goals are critical to assessing day-to-day success.
  • Clearly outline policies and systems. Make sure all the vehicles are thoroughly inspected and all issues documented before sharing the details with the service advisors. 
  • Empower them to make decisions. This will also prevent you, as the dealership owner, from being drawn into each customer issue.
  • Implement a quality-control system that comprises recording of sales calls and soliciting feedback from customers. To help service advisors improve, it’s important they know what they’re doing and what customers are saying about them.
  • Help them polish their people management skills. Service advisors need to write customer orders, provide estimates, and deal with vendors and suppliers on a daily basis. So, being courteous, friendly, and able to deal with unhappy customers is definitely a plus. 
  • Teach them how to troubleshoot. Automotive parts can arrive late, repair work can get delayed, and customers can change their mind about service requests. Therefore, service advisors should know how to remain on top of everything and troubleshoot critical issues instantly.
  • Train them to communicate effectively and acquire good comprehension skills. Service advisors at auto dealerships act as a link between the technical experts and customers. Therefore, they should be able to communicate effectively with both. They should be able to explain repair recommendations in layman’s language to the customers and brief them about the technical aspects. Also, mechanics will provide service advisors with complex service recommendations, and it’s important they understand what they’re being told.

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About the Author

Richard Knight

Rick Knight is an Automotive Customer Retention Executive who founded Certified Maintenance® Programs in 1996. Rick has been successful in building custom retention strategies for thousands of auto dealers to better than double CP/RO counts in the first 12 months of ownership, drive back 34+% of lost opportunity customers and help auto dealers Sell The Next Vehicle™. 

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