Know Your Stuff


I believe without any question the service advisor makes the difference in regards to the service and parts department’s profitability. The day of handing a service advisor a pen and saying “here’s your terminal” should be well behind us. The lack of training service advisors allows for processes to never be standardized.

The new advisor has no idea what a reasonable request is and therefore learns their trade by making mistakes with your clients. Today let’s look at this problem in more detail. Today we will utilize a method that I have found can make an immediate difference for your service advisor staff. “They should always know their stuff.”

What is Normal?

During my time as a fixed operations director I personally read every service bulletin that came into my dealership. After I read these service bulletins, I would hand them around to every service advisor and ask them to initial after they read it. This was a great way to help them get to know their stuff!

After reading the service bulletins my advisors are now aware of these different issues and more importantly, they are prepared for the incoming customers. Nothing reduces your customer satisfaction more than trying to fix a concern that is considered normal by the manufacturer.

It is also important that the service advisor knows how the vehicle is supposed to function. They should know the standard operations of the vehicles that are sold in the dealership, so they can illustrate to a customer how their vehicle is operated. I understand that is supposed be performed by the salesperson in the delivery of the vehicle.

The reality is that vehicles are so much more complicated and everything isn’t covered in the delivery by the sales staff. Make sure your advisors are well informed and understand how important it is to stay on top of operational issues for the vehicles that your dealership sells.

What is the Benefit?

When I look at poor preforming labor operations across the United States there’s a common thread that everyone needs to be aware of. Most advisors don’t understand the products they sell, well enough to make professional presentation to a customer.

We need to focus in on feature benefit presentations that illustrate how the client would benefit in performing maintenance operations on their vehicle. It is not uncommon for me to ask an advisor to sell me a maintenance service that I have selected at random. I might ask an advisor to sell me a transmission service or brake fluid flush.

The most common result is they tell me why they can’t sell that item in their market. I have never heard of a great feature benefit presentations from the advisor staff. I remember one dealership specifically that had a $16000 road force balance machine. This is a wonderful tire balance machine that considers the force of the road to predict the exact location of where to place the wheel weights.

When I asked her why should I pay the $90 for the road force balance, she turned her head, and asked the service manager? You know what I found when I checked the labor operations frequency, they were not doing road force balances at this dealership.

I hope that you take the information that you received today and work to make a change in your dealership. The dealerships that embrace this information and accept this as a standard practice into their dealership will have rewards of hundreds of thousands of dollars. That isn’t the reason to do it. The reason I want everyone to consider this is because it’s the right way to do business and provide maximum customer care.

Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Fixed Performance complete fixed operations coaching consulting