5 Qualities a Dealership Service Advisor Should Have to Save You Time and Money
A dealership service advisor is the person you have the most contact with at the dealership when you are getting your car serviced. This is the person who will interpret the technician’s findings, put together estimates, know about any warranties or recalls that might apply to your vehicle, and make any further recommendations. The technician is the person who actually fixes your car. The dealership service advisor or consultant is the person who counsels you about any repairs or maintenance your car needs. They influence what gets fixed on your car and how much it’s going to cost. Nothing is cut and dry with car repairs; everyone has their own opinion. One service consultant could talk to the technician and recommend $3,000 worth of repairs; another could give your car a clean bill of health. The key is to find the right dealership service advisor or consultant for you. Here are some of the qualities you should be looking for:
- Integrity: Integrity is the first thing you need to look for in a dealership service advisor. Although it is easy to work with a fun, salesman type that tells you what you want to hear, this type of person is not always your best advocate. Of course there are fun and honest people, but honesty has to come first. Look for someone who is willing to question a technician’s recommendation on your behalf. Someone who will ask, “Will this ever REALLY become a problem?” or “Would you pay to have this done to your car?” Technicians and service consultants both make money on every job they complete or sell. You want an honest person who isn’t just going to up-sell every chance they get and who won’t let the technician up-sell either. Reliability is also important. When someone tells you they will call you if your repairs are going to cost more than you expect, you want a person that will follow through with that promise. No one wants to pick up their car and find out the repairs are $500 more than originally quoted.
- People Skills: A good dealership service advisor needs to be able to read people and adapt to their way of communicating. Some people like to know all of the details behind their car repairs, and some people just want to hand the keys over and come back when the work is done. A service advisor needs to be aware of these differences to meet individual customer needs. They also need to have good listening skills to hear the customer’s descriptions of their car, so they can relay that information to the technician and vice versa.
- Empathy: A person that can put themselves in their customer’s shoes can better prioritize any work that needs to be done. They will also be more aware and ask themselves things like, “My customer needs a loaner car and has a sprained ankle, so what will be the easiest vehicle for him or her to get in and out of?” Details like this can turn a good service consultant into a great one.
- Ability to Articulate: The dealership service advisor’s main job is to relay information back and forth between the customer and the technician. On top of listening skills, if the person is articulate, the information is much less likely to get misconstrued and mistakes are less likely to be made.
- Mechanical Knowledge: If the service advisor has some basic mechanical knowledge, they are more likely to understand the technician, which will help them relay that information to their customer. If a person with no mechanical knowledge tries to explain a car problem to an owner, they may not get all of the information correct. If they have some basic car knowledge, it can also help them assess whether or not the technician’s recommendations are really necessary for their customer’s car and lifestyle.
When you find the right dealership service advisor, the most important thing to do is to build a relationship with them. If you have a good relationship, they are more likely to go the extra mile for you and be your advocate. In return for their good service, you should recommend them to others. This way, everybody wins.