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Become an Automotive Service Advisor with the Right Skills and Training

Become an Automotive Service Advisor with the Right Skills and Training

An automotive service advisor, also known as a service writer, or service manager, is an important position at any car dealership or auto repair shop. The service advisor serves as the main point of contact for customers and advises them on necessary vehicle repairs and maintenance. It’s a demanding but rewarding career for those with the right skills and dedication. Here’s how to become a great automotive service consultant with dealership training programs.

Skills Needed to be a Great Service Advisor

To succeed as a service advisor, there are several key skills and abilities you need. You must have excellent interpersonal skills to greet customers, listen to their concerns, explain repair options, and provide helpful recommendations. Patience and empathy are critical. You also need to be able to clearly communicate with customers, technicians, and management using both oral and written communication. Listening skills are paramount as well. While you don’t need to be a technician, you must have a solid basic understanding of automotive systems to understand repair issues and explain them to customers.

Organization and multitasking abilities are essential too, as service advisors handle multiple customers at once and must keep detailed notes, being able to stay focused and shift priorities. Finally, strong problem-solving skills allow you to diagnose customer concerns, interpret technician assessments, recommend solutions, and handle any complaints or issues.

Why Continuous Training is So Important

The automotive industry is constantly evolving as vehicles become more computerized and reliant on complex technology. What was current yesterday may be outdated today. That’s why ongoing training is critical for service advisors. Advisors must stay on top of new model specifications, features, and common issues. They need to understand changing diagnostic processes and scan tools.

Knowledge of new shop protocols and best practices is expected as well. And they must be informed of updated policies, warranty info, and safety standards. Through a mix of formal manufacturer training programs, aftermarket courses, online classes, trade shows, and in-dealership mentoring, great service advisors never stop learning.

Key Responsibilities and Overview of an Automotive Service Advisor

The core role of the service advisor involves customer and vehicle intake, repair recommendations, estimates and authorizations, and vehicle returns with an explanation of work performed. Greeting customers promptly and recording all necessary information like VIN, mileage, symptoms noticed, etc. is imperative. Verifying customer and vehicle information in databases must be done as well. Identifying issues, confirming with technicians, determining repair options and associated costs, and then clearly communicating estimates and recommendations to customers are central functions.

Managing multiple open repair orders while keeping customers updated on status takes sharp organizational abilities. Inspecting completed vehicle work thoroughly before returning the vehicle to the customer provides quality assurance. And explaining repair work done, answering questions, and settling invoices caps off the advisor’s interactions.

Process to Become an Automotive Service Advisor

If a career as a service advisor appeals to you, follow these steps: Gain experience in the industry first by applying for a shop helper, dispatcher, cashier, or service technician job to build knowledge. Then strengthen communication skills by taking speech or writing classes if needed. Complete a vocational program or associate degree in automotive technology with a focus on service operations to get formal training. Once qualified, apply for open advisor positions.

How Automotive Technician Training Goes Hand in Hand with Service Advisor Training

Many of the skills needed to be an excellent automotive service advisor overlap with the competencies trained technicians develop. That’s why some of the best advisors started their careers as technicians before moving to the service desk. By understanding specifics like diagnostic processes, repair procedures, parts terminology, and workflow, advisors can better support the shop and communicate effectively with customers.

While advisors don’t need full technician training, courses in brake, electrical, drivetrain, and engine basics help advisors perform intake and write accurate repair orders. Parallel technician and advisor development is key for high-functioning dealer service departments.

How Service Advisors Can Track Their Progress

Like technicians, advisors should benchmark themselves against industry best practices as they gain experience. Key performance indicators to track over time include efficiency stats like average time from write-up to repair approval/refusal and repair order to payment collection. Customer satisfaction metrics based on surveys, reviews, and repeat business are important too.

And gross productivity and net customer pay numbers ultimately define advisor performance. By setting goals in these areas and monitoring progress monthly and annually, service advisors can quantify their growth, justify salary increases, and celebrate milestones.

NASCAR Technical Campuses That Offer Automotive Technician Training

For those seeking in-depth technical automotive education, NASCAR Technical Institute is one of the country’s leading training providers. With multiple campuses including locations in North Carolina, Texas, Arizona and Florida, NASCAR Tech offers dedicated automotive technology programs for students aspiring to become professional technicians. Coursework prepares trainees for ASE certification exams in areas like engine repair, manual drivetrain, automatic transmission and more.

With a hands-on, manufacturer-specific focus and ties to real race teams, NASCAR Technical Institute gives mechanic students world-class training opportunities. Ultimately, graduates enter dealerships, performance shops, and race careers with in-demand skills.

How the Service Department Affects Your Dealership Performance

The service department keeps customers coming back to a dealership for maintenance, repairs and parts for the life of their vehicle. By building loyalty through excellent service at fair prices, dealers create returning buyers who will upgrade to new models and refer friends and family. So the service advisor team has an outsized impact on long term business health and the bottom line.

Speedy repairs, clear communication and good record keeping means more throughput. Upsells during multi-point inspections and through courtesy vehicle loans boost revenue. And happy customers share positive reviews. Prioritizing the service department pays dividends across the whole store.

The Critical Need for Strong Automotive Fixed Operations

While showrooms attract the most attention, service and parts bring steadier year-round business critical to profitability. Collectively called the fixed operations departments, successful service and parts result in about 50% of dealership gross profits. So ongoing training for service advisors and technicians help the processes that keep cars running translate to the numbers that keep stores running.

Expert advisor staff able to sell multi-point inspections, accelerate repair order turnaround, and maximize customer pay work drive fixed ops revenue. That provides stability if sales fluctuate seasonally. Strong automotive service leadership and personnel remain the backbone of dealership’s financial health.

Contact DealerPRO Training to Learn More About Our Training and Programs for Automotive Service Consultants

To elevate your service advisor staff with the knowledge and skills to excel, DealerPRO Training has training for automotive service consultants. DealerPRO Training offers on-site classes, online courses and ongoing coaching that teach the best practices for mapped-out processes, customer communications and revenue generation. With training focused on real dealership scenarios, DealerPRO Training gives participants the confidence to handle busy shops. And with flexible custom options for individuals or groups, DealerPRO Training can create programs tailored to your store’s needs. Reach out to learn more about how DealerPRO Training dealership training programs can take your service team to the next level.