Automotive service advisors, sometimes called service writers, greet and talk with customers, determine the work that needs to be done on the customer’s vehicle, and then prepare a service order. When routine maintenance is required, they may simply speak with the customer to determine the type of service necessary. However, when the vehicle requires more extensive repairs, they may question the customer further, visually inspect the vehicle, or test-drive it on the road. Their service orders may include a description of the vehicle’s problems to help the automotive service technician know where to start. The cost of repairs and the time needed for completion is also included in the service order. After the service is completed, they meet with the customer to answer questions and reconcile the billing process. If the customer disagrees with the cost, the automotive service advisor refers them to the service manager.
Automotive service advisors may need to have a strong communication and sales skills. They may need to be able to talk with customers and explain the type of service their vehicles require, and they may be the ones responsible for selling the services of the garage or other company they work for. Because of the high visibility of their job, employers usually seek employees who are neat and clean in appearance, and who are relaxed and attentive listeners. Besides having a basic mechanical background, they must also be able to write clearly and add correctly. Basic computer skills can be very helpful as well.
Salaries and wages for automotive service advisors depend on whether or not they are covered by a union contract, and by the type of establishment they work for. They are usually paid on a strict commission basis or, if they are covered by a union, a combined salary/commission basis.
Training and Education
Most employers may prefer candidates with a high school education, although it usually is not required. Candidates must have a driver’s license and a clean driving record. Employees might be trained on the job by experienced automotive service advisors and by the service manager. Employees may start by learning to route repair orders, compute cost, and determine repair time. Some employees supplement their training by manufacturer programs, as well as courses in sales, marketing, interpersonal communication, and basic computer operation. High school or community college courses in accounting, business math, English, and psychology can also be particularly helpful. You can check out a list of Auto Mechanic Schools by clicking on this link.
Job opportunity for automotive service advisors is expected to be very limited. Low turnover, added to an adequate supply of qualified applicants, creates few job openings annually. Opportunity will be best in large cities and in suburban areas.