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How To Become a Service Advisor In An Auto Shop

March 19, 2024
Guides & Templates
4 mins read

A service advisor, also called a service writer, plays a vital role in an auto shop. They are the front lines of a shop when it comes to customer interaction. They set the stage for a customer’s experience and hold significant sway over customer retention, influencing whether or not customers leave satisfied and eager to return. 

At PartsTech, we surveyed 618 auto repair shop stakeholders, including owners, managers, and service advisors, which revealed a compelling trend: most of these shops employ at least two service advisors. The role of a service advisor brings tangible benefits to shops. Notably, the data showed that auto shops experience a significant revenue boost — up to $35,000 per bay per year — simply by doubling their service advisor count from one to two. This data helps underscore the indispensable contribution of service advisors to a shop’s prosperity and expansion.

Choosing a career as an auto repair service advisor is a rewarding path for those with a dual passion for cars and customer service (with a significant emphasis on customer service). This role is all about being the bridge between customers and technicians, ensuring smooth communication and service satisfaction that makes customers want to return again and again. If you’re drawn to this career, here are some steps and insights to guide you in how to become a service advisor:

1. Understand the Role of a Service Advisor

Before jumping in, grasp what the job entails. Service advisors are the welcoming face of the shop. They are tasked with understanding customer needs, conveying these to the service technician, and managing the service process from quotes to scheduling to follow-ups. You’ll need top-notch communication skills, a strong understanding of automotive technology, and a knack for customer service to excel. (See #4 below) 

2. Get the Right Education

A college degree isn’t a strict requirement to be a service advisor, but a background in automotive is a definite plus. You can also look into service advisor training courses, programs, and certifications covering topics and skills such as automotive repair, customer service, customer and team communication, and how to cross-sell and upsell effectively. Community colleges, trade schools, and online platforms like Udemy offer relevant training and certification opportunities.

3. Build Up Your Experience

If you haven’t worked in the automotive repair industry before, get your foot in the door by applying to adjacent shop roles where you can provide value to the shop. These positions will give you a solid foundation in how auto shops operate and the common issues that vehicles face. Hands-on experience will not only boost your resume but also give you a deeper understanding of the technical side of the job and help give you opportunities to familiarize yourself with pertinent vehicle knowledge, such as the ins and outs of automotive parts. If you’ve been working in shops for a while, perhaps as a technician, and you’re interested in shifting to be a service advisor, talk to the shop manager or owner and openly discuss the experience you would need to make that happen.

4. Develop Customer Service Skills

Exceptional customer service is at the heart of being a service advisor. We cannot emphasize this enough, so we are giving it its own callout. This role demands soft skills like active listening, transparent and empathetic communication, and the ability to navigate challenging situations gracefully. From when a customer makes an appointment to when they pick up their vehicle, your job is to gain customer trust and give them peace of mind. You are a customer service manager as much as you are a service advisor; you will need to know how to handle both customer complaints and customer concerns.  Enhance customer experience skills through courses and training on topics such as communication, conflict resolution, and customer service. 

7. Write a Strong Resume

Once you’ve gained experience and possibly some certifications, it’s time to apply for service advisor positions. Spend time on your resume. Highlight your customer service experience, automotive knowledge, and any certifications you’ve obtained. Consider paying for professional services for your resume to help you stand out as a candidate through resume writing and design formatting to make it easy to read. 

8. Prepare for Interviews

During interviews, be prepared to discuss your experience in the automotive industry, how you handle customer service challenges, and your approach to learning and staying up-to-date with automotive technology. Demonstrating your passion for cars and customer service will set you apart from other candidates. 

6. Always Be Curious and Never Stop Learning

The automotive industry is constantly evolving with new technologies and service techniques, customer preferences are constantly changing, and there is always a more efficient way to do something. Once you become an automotive service advisor, commit to lifelong learning to stay competitive and effective in your role.

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