I recently saw an ad that said only experienced advisors apply and that got me to thinking. Are you hiring for you or your customers?
Many managers or service departments are not prepared if a service advisor decides to leave. Often if they do leave it is not with much notice. A manager is then in a scramble to find the right person to fill the position. They know if they don’t fill it quickly they will be stuck writing service and all other management duties will be neglected.
This situation puts the manager into a reactive mode in which they often don’t make hiring decisions based on being right for the customer. They end up hiring a warm body.
The manager begins his search and finds an “experienced” Service advisor who can start right away. The concern is if the advisor is available that quickly they may have baggage and their previous employer may have been happy to see them go. They look for the advisor who knows how to use the DMS or knows the OEM warranty system.
The new advisor may have bad habits such being unorganized, not customer focused, or worse a wallet flusher. They are often old dogs with no new tricks and are stuck doing things their way. This puts the manager in a perpetual battle to get the new hire onboard.
How do you find a service advisor who is good for your customer?
A great advisor is a person who has a good personality, is organized, a people person, can handle many tasks and they can SMILE. If an advisor can’t smile during an interview with you they won’t smile at your customers!
They don’t have to be experienced or even know how to fixed cars. That’s the technicians job. The advisor needs to be a person who is a nice person.
The advisor has some primary duties they need to perform and the new hire needs to be able to fit the order. Here they are in no particular order.
Customer Relations: The advisor needs to be able to speak intelligently, communicate the needed repairs, Warranty coverage, and the ability to meet the needs of the customer so that CSI standards are meeting across broad criteria set by the manufacturer. They also need to be able to gather information from the customer in order to provide a complete work order to correct the customers concern(s) or needs the first time.
Sales: the Advisor needs to be able to present an intangible product e.g. flat rate hours to a customer and translate info in a way that a customer makes a buying decision. A large portion of the advisor position is to sell. They need to be able to learn and follow a process.
Organized: The advisor needs to have excellent organization skills, as the advisor has to process a large amount of paperwork and information on any given day. They need to be able to process electronic info in addition to 15 to 20 repair orders, estimates and parts pricing.
DMS experience: Dealer management experience is not a requirement. It will require additional training upfront but the end result will be that the advisor will perform their job the way you want, not the way they want. Using a DMS is teachable skill. Being a nice person who can speak to customers is not teachable.
Look for applicants who can fill these requirements.