Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Eight Habits of Highly Successful Service Advisors Part One

ACG has an exclusive Service Advisor Training Program that gets "tried and true" proven results. I will go into detail on how we achieve higher sales per Repair Order AND Customer Retention. To achieve these "predictable" results, it takes two key fundamentals to get started and they are "People and Process".

As you may have noted, I did not include "technology" as I know from experience that technology is not a factor in building a High Performance Service Operation. In fact, it usually stops you from growing and most often times, gives you a lot of added expense and excuses.

I've  always said that if you can't get them to fill out and use a written "Multi-Point Inspection Form", how do you expect them to fill out and use an electronic version of this same form. Let's go one step further, the same would hold true for menu programs...Electronic Menus versus "Hand Out" Menus. It doesn't make sense to spend money on new technology, when the first priority should be coaching, leading and managing  our people on the service process FIRST!

I believe the "People Process" has to come first and foremost. We have to consider the "human element" of our business by identifying the behavior tendencies of our employees in order to better understand our customers. I prefer to use the D.I.S.C. Profiling Process to identify who my service advisor is and to get a sense of who I'm working with. I want to know if this person is "Direct" or "Indirect" , as this may impact the overall customer perception and experience.

Once an advisor knows what his or her behavior style is, the training has started. I train each advisor to not only identify their own behavior tendencies, they will also better understand the tendencies of fellow employees and most importantly...they will better understand the customer.

 Here's the four dimensions:

There are four basic dimensions which everyone falls into. The intensity level is different for each individual which allows us to determine your specific behavior style. The next illustration is what we use with each advisor to determine the "intensity" of each dimension within 30 seconds after greeting the customer.

 Here's a few "How to Read Your Customer" questions:
  • Does this customer prefer to shoot the breeze? (Influence) 
  • Does this customer want to get right down to business? (Direct)
  • Does this customer want to deal in facts and figures?(Cautious)
  • Is this customer easy going and unconcerned (Steady)?
As you can clearly see, this is an important step in training our service advisors to identify who I'm dealing with so I can build a strong relationship with total trust. The second part of the "People Process" is hiring the right people, making sure I have the right people currently on board before you start to install a "High Performance Service Operation".

Let's move on to the Service Process. Here's a list of the Eight Habits:

Eight Habits 
Highly Successful Service Advisors

1. ACG'S Exclusive Appointment Process: Every eighteen minutes (18-36-54) with no more than 3 customers per Advisor per hour.

2. Daily Action Plan:  Each Advisor reviews History, Recalls, Declined Services, Special Order Parts, Maintenance Needs and makes notes on a Pre-Write R.O. with each Appointment the day before the customer arrives for service. 

3. Meeting & Greeting: Train and prepare each Advisor how to properly Meet and Greet each customer on the phone or in person.

4. Listening Skills/Prime Item: Train each Advisor on the proper listening skills and how to indentify the customer's prime items through asking the right questions. 

5. Walk-Around/Multi-Point/Fluid Analysis: Train each Advisor on the proper Walk-Around, Multi-Point, Analyze "Vital" Fluid Condition as well as finding commonality with each customer to build a relationship with trust. 

6. Menu Presentation: Train Advisors on how to present a menu using features and benefits. 

7. Customer Promise: Train Advisors on how to properly prepare and review repairs or maintenance needed as well as time needed to complete the vehicle. 

8. Close The Sale: Train Advisors on how to properly ask for the sale. 

# 1 Appointment Process

The Appointment Process is the most important of the Eight Habits and without it none of the other seven items I have listed will be implemented on a sustainable level. Simply put, most Service Advisors DON'T have enough time!
 Here's a look at a "Real Dealership" Appointment Process:

As you can see, four customers are scheduled to arrive at the dealership for one of the advisors at 7am. The next round of Appointments are scheduled for 7:30am and so on. If any of these customers are late, the Service Manager goes into what we call the "Fire Fighter" mode and starts to lose "Customer Trust". This usually leads to "damage control" by discounting service items due to an inefficient appointment process.

How can anyone expect this Service Advisor to have high CSI, High Sales per CPRO, and High Customer Retention? This Service Advisor is unable to do his or her job, let alone try and build a strong relationship with the customer! It's virtually impossible! Time Management is the Key!

Let's take a look at the ACG Appointment Process. It all starts with an appointment script that we have created from our personal experience over the last twenty years. The two option closing technique works extremely well and most customers will choose one of the options offered.

Next is our 18-Minute Process which allows our Service Advisors to train their customers not to forget their appointment due to the odd time frame. We only allow three customers per hour (18-36-54) in order to better build a strong relationship.

As you can see from this illustration below, we can STILL write up (15) customers by noon per each advisor. This allows for any walk-ins, or phone calls that need to be attended to. The afternoon  is usually for drop-offs and oil changes. In a nut shell, we have created a "Time Management" system for the Service Advisors.

Next blog we will dive into the (2)Daily Action Plan, (3)Meet & Greet, and (4)Listening Skills. If your serious about making things happen Vs. waiting for things to happen call or e-mail us now! Don't wait till the end of the month!

Guy Salkeld is the President and Head Performance Coach of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. The only Results Based High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world! To learn more go to  Have a question? E-Mail Guy directly at or Call me direct at: 305-331-3373