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Becoming an Automotive Service Advisor: Qualifications & Tips for Success

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Dec 18, 2019 ·
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Thinking about becoming an automotive service advisor?

If you’re looking for a rewarding job with variety, this could be the career path for you. Automotive service advisors are trained in both customer service and automobile care, and they play an important role in repair shops and dealerships.

Keep reading to learn all about the automotive service advisor profession, including day-to-day responsibilities, required skills, tips for success and more.  

What is an Automotive Service Advisor?

Automotive service advisors are professionals who act as the liaison between customers and the auto technicians who work on their vehicle. They identify the need for, sell and schedule service work. When taking your car in for a repair, this is often the first person you will come in contact with. 

Most service advisors will tell you that no two days on the job are the same. They complete a wide variety of tasks, from welcoming and assisting customers to managing quotes to working with technicians throughout the repair process.  

Automotive Service Advisor Job Description:

  • Greet and develop an ongoing relationship with customers
  • Help customers care for and maintain their vehicles
  • Set up service appointments that align with the customer and technicians’ schedules
  • Serve as liaison between the service manager, shop foreman, parts personnel, technicians and warranty administration
  • Support dealership goals for service by generating high sales of services and parts
  • Inspect vehicles and apply proper resources to accurately identify and verify vehicle mileage and service needs
  • Provide customers with information on part warranties and potential savings
  • Identify repeat repairs in customer’s best interest
  • Work with technicians to determine necessary repairs and possible alternatives to cut costs for the customer
  • Administer new and used vehicle warranty repairs in accordance with warranty specifications
  • Write and verify accurate repair orders and include supporting documentation
  • Supervise cleaning and preparation of new and used vehicles
  • Contact customers to keep them in the loop throughout the repair process and communicate when the vehicle is ready for pickup
  • Meet requirements of state and federal law for auto repair and consumer protection

How to be a Good Service Advisor: Skills You’ll Need

As with any career, there is a particular set of skills automotive service advisors need to be successful in their work. This job is about so much more than learning the mechanics—becoming a service advisor requires a mixture of skills.

Automotive Knowledge

First things first, it’s important for service advisors to have automotive knowledge. Whether they’re ordering parts, looking over documentation or communicating with technicians, service advisors use their automotive knowledge every day. Throughout their career, service advisors must continuously refresh their knowledge to stay relevant with the technological changes impacting their industry.

Additionally, having automotive knowledge plays a big role in the credibility service advisors have with their customers. If a service advisor is confident in their automotive knowledge, this will put the customer at ease knowing their vehicle is in good hands. However, if the service advisor seems unsure and lacks knowledge, this will lead the customer to question whether or not the repair will be completed correctly.  

Strong Communication Skills

A significant part of a service advisor’s time is spent communicating with people—both verbally and through writing. Being able to communicate effectively and in a professional manner is essential to getting the job done right and on time.

Service advisors don’t spend all of their time behind the scenes. Instead, they are constantly interacting with different types of people.

They must be able to explain repairs in simple terms to their customers, while also being able to understand technical jargon in order to effectively communicate with technicians. If you have a passion for the automotive industry and want to spend your days around people rather than under the hood, this may be the job for you. 

Listening Skills

Good listening skills are essential to being a good service advisor. In addition to listening to customer concerns when first bringing in their car, they must be available and willing to listen throughout the repair process as well as after the repair is complete.

Service advisors who are good at what they do always make their customers feel valued and heard. If customers have questions at any point in the process, they are there to help. Service advisors understand the importance of the customer relationship, which is why they go above and beyond to ensure their needs are met.

Time Management

The environment service advisors work in is often very fast-paced, which requires them to have great time management skills. Between setting up service appointments, meeting with customers, writing repair orders and working with technicians, among other responsibilities, the schedule of a service advisor fills up quickly.

In order to keep up and do their job well, service advisors must be organized and use their time wisely. They oversee many different repairs at one time, which requires them to be able to prioritize tasks and delegate when necessary.  

Ability to Think on Your Feet

Successful service advisors never back down to a challenge. Whether a repair is running behind schedule, the wrong parts arrive or a customer is unhappy, they’re the first ones to jump in and problem solve.

When things don’t go according to plan, service advisors must be able to think on their feet and come to a decision that best serves the customer and the company as a whole.

Self-Motivated

As a service advisor, you won’t always have someone there telling you what to do. This means you must find the passion and motivation within yourself to do your job well. In addition to managing your own work, you’ll also most likely be overseeing the schedules and workload of others.

In order for those around you to respect you and see you as a leader, it’s important to be self-motivated.

Versatility

One of the advantages of being a service advisor is the variety that comes with this career path. On any given day, you’ll be communicating with different customers, technicians and managing different repairs. Therefore, it’s important to be versatile and have the ability to adapt to different situations and work with different personalities.

Overcoming Challenges: Tips for Handling Automotive Service Advisor Stress

It’s no secret that being an automotive service advisor can be challenging. This fast-paced career comes with a lot of responsibility and requires hard work, motivation and a commitment to excellence at all times. For this reason, many service advisors experience stress on the job.

So how can service advisors manage or avoid this stress? According to Henry Gelb, a UTI graduate now working as Shop Foreman for Nick Alexander Imports, it’s all about focusing on the things service advisors can control.

These include having their paperwork in order and ensuring their schedule allows time for meeting with customers and technicians, returning calls and handling all of the backend work they’re responsible for.

Additionally, developing positive relationships with customers can also help to minimize the stress that service advisors commonly face. According to Henry, “Building rapport with your customers will help you in all situations, whether they are good or bad. If you have strong relationships with your customers, their service experience, no matter how severe the problems with the car are, will be much smoother.” Earning the trust of customers is one of the keys to making a service advisor’s life stress-free.

Becoming a service advisor isn’t for everyone. However, it can be an exciting and rewarding path for those who are passionate about the automotive industry and enjoy working with people. Like many careers, being a service advisor can be stressful at first. However, as you gain experience, you will learn to manage stress and find enjoyment in your work.  

How to Become an Automotive Service Advisor

If this sounds like a career that interests you, you might be wondering how to become a service advisor. Typically, service advisors start out working as a technician in a dealership or as a car porter or valet attendant. Once they’ve acquired enough experience, they may have the opportunity to advance to a service advisor role.

Completing an automotive technology program and working as a technician can give you an advantage if this is the kind of career you want to pursue, as you’ll gain valuable mechanical and engineering expertise. Many places need assistants for their advisors, which can be a great way to get your foot in the door and become familiar with the role.

Aspiring service advisors must be proactive. Henry suggests expressing your interest in the role to management and always being willing to help when needed. Whether you’re working as a technician, porter or valet attendant, always look for opportunities to learn more about what a service advisor does.

Once you establish yourself as a service advisor, you can experience the many benefits that come with this career. Dealerships and repair shops are constantly looking for new talent in their service department, which opens the door to exciting opportunities for those who have a passion for the industry. Becoming a service advisor requires hard work, but it’s worth it in the end! 

Train for Your Career at UTI

UTI’s 51-week Automotive Technology program can prepare you to pursue a variety of careers in the automotive industry. To learn more, visit our program page and request information today. 

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