Taking Service Advisors From Good to Great
Your dealership’s team of service advisors might be good at what they do. Maybe you’ve even gotten feedback to that effect from managers, team members, and customers. But if you could help your advisors go from good to great, why wouldn’t you? It will pay dividends for your team and your store. In a recent interview with NAC’s Corey Smith, Erick Jauregui shared his key tips for taking service advisor performance to the next level.
A Consistent Process is Key
Every service department should have a process or procedure for their advisors to follow, and service training should include it. A consistent process that advisors go through with each customer is critical to ensuring positive customer experiences. It begins with the first point of contact and continues through the walk-around and the post-visit follow-up phone call(s). Once advisors learn your store’s procedure, they need to know it inside and out and tailor it to their own personality and style of communication. Advisors should know what their own best communication style is, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. By encouraging your advisors to tailor parts of your service procedure to their strengths, you will begin to see a shift toward customer service excellence.
Practice and Preparation
The real work of being a great service advisor happens behind the scenes in the prep work. Think of your service drive like any team sport: people don’t just turn up, put on a uniform, and win the game! They study the plays and practice them again and again until it’s second nature. Bringing the same attitude of preparation and preparedness to your store will lead your service advisors to greater success in their roles. Encouraging and training your team to put in the work before a customer ever walks through the door will also result in more confident interactions with customers that help put them at ease. Remember: customers today expect instantaneous answers to their questions; when your team can provide them with that, you’ll see upward movement in your CSI scores.
Mastering the Art of Communication
Communication is key with customers, and it goes both ways: it's never a bad thing to ask them what their expectations are for their visit. In fact, it gives you a clearer understanding not only about what they need from you, but how you can exceed those expectations. Service advisors should also be trained to walk customers through the process every step of the way. In addition to reducing their anxiety, this will demonstrate the added value they are getting during their visit. For instance, instead of telling the customer they are getting an oil change, advisors can tell them about the oil and filter change that includes a multi-point inspection and brake check. This creates value for the service that outweighs the cost, and makes the customer feel good about the work the dealership is doing for them.
Another reason to emphasize communication in your service drive is the fact that communication is now a 24/7 occurrence, especially with texting, email, and even FaceTime. Providing an update is no longer sufficient: your staff should be prepared to provide an update about the update. For example: if an advisor tells the customer that they will call them at a set time with an update on their vehicle, they should make a call a few hours earlier with an update. Even if there is no new information, the advisor can let the customer know their car is going into the service drive soon and that they still plan to contact them at the original agreed-upon time. This is another technique that helps mitigate the customer’s stress and makes them feel taken care of by competent and trustworthy service advisors.
While it’s true that a business cannot please everyone all the time, the important thing is not to focus on bad survey results at the expense of everything else. Bad reviews and surveys happen to everyone! Focus on delivering authentic, genuine service through a consistent process; your customers will notice, and their survey responses will reflect that.
For even more information, check out our Fixed Ops 5 video interview on the subject by clicking this link. And don't forget to subscribe to Fixed Ops 5 on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen.