Story from the service desk: Drop the hammer

For a short time as a service advisor / writer, I worked in two different shops. One was “Express Lubricating Oil”. In other words, this shop only performed basic maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotation. Vehicles requiring more complex repairs were sent over the parking lot to the main service bay (full service bay).

The other type of store I worked for was full service. There was no obvious lubricant at this dealer – the technicians did everything from oil changes to liquid flushing, warranty work and major customer-paid work.

We mention this because we didn’t often upsell when I was working with Express Lubricants. I got spiffs for tire rotation and filter replacement, but except for those spiffs, we were paying. Therefore, there was no incentive to “drop the hammer”. This means advising customers that they need to spend hundreds, and in some cases, large sums of money on maintenance (think fluid flushes) and necessary repairs (brake wear, CV wear, etc.). The boots were torn more and more).

Later, of course, that changed – the full-service store I worked for gave me an upsell opportunity (although I’m no longer in the world because I wasn’t good at it) , That’s another story). But I never felt right about dropping a hammer.

In another post in this series, you can discuss whether you need a liquid flush or other expensive maintenance operation. And sometimes, yeah, the car was very poorly maintained, or someone was out of luck, and a lot of expensive repairs were needed. Often for safety.

But it was never easy to sell to someone who came in for a $ 30 oil change, thinking that they would need hundreds of dollars worth of work in the near future, if not that day. ..

At this point, those working in a sales-based profession may think that they should not feel guilty about selling a service, especially if they need to keep their car safe. Of course, as long as service is needed and the transaction is ethical.

But the debate about dropping a hammer goes beyond the guilt and hesitation that an individual may feel. This is a best practice issue. If a customer declines to work that day, is it better to be proactive, knowing that they may come back and do it at a later date? Or do you scare your customers back by providing them with a recommended laundry list?

There was a boss who said he couldn’t understand why people “drop the hammer”. He will feel that customers, especially those who don’t know much about cars, are trying to scam the store, even if their car legally requires a lot of expensive repairs, and / Or hinted that they would feel afraid. See all these recommendations for repair orders, especially if you’re just coming for tire rotation.

In addition, his stance may regret it later, even if the customer bites or approves part or all of the job, before deciding to look for another store for future jobs. It implied that there was. They tend to be cheaper than dealers, so they are probably independent.

I tend to think he was right, but I can’t deny that dropping the hammer meant good for the service writer. For the better, it meant another payment on their boat. For a struggling green horn like me, it could be the difference between the free buffet that came with the $ 7 Swill pitcher purchase at a tavern in my neighborhood and a trip to where the tablecloths are actually located. not.

I was paid on commission based on a draw, which I’ll discuss later, but the difference between a $ 35 sale and a $ 900 sale can be huge.

Still, if you stand behind a desk with an ancient computer under fluorescent lights and notice that you’re wearing a khaki and dealer logo polo shirt, long-term customer retention rather than short-term profits I would like to aim for. I think it might pay off – become the trusted service writer your customers want and start selling certain major repairs, such as timing belt replacement, with no effort at all. Because the customer trusts you.

When a customer realizes that his car is undergoing major maintenance or repairs, he takes it to someone who wants to throw away a lot of upsells, or someone who remembers upsells from the last time. Do you want

I think you know the answer.

This does not mean that the service author cannot make a recommendation and still trust it. Good people know how to do it exactly. They know what to recommend and what not to do, how to explain it to customers, and what to tell them. Really Needs and non-urgent or safety issues. They also know how to set it up on their computer system, so the next time a customer comes in, they can remind them of what they need.

One of the reasons I didn’t last long as a service advisor was that I didn’t know how to do it well, but there are some truths to that, but the writers who earned me struggle with it. I think. Good. Some are really aggressive, but convince enough people to say “yes” to offset potential business losses from others.

These guys – and they almost everyone – probably didn’t realize that they could make more money by balancing the dance with and without dropping the hammer. Let’s do it. Because they make enough money to comfortably cover their lifestyle.

That’s all for today’s peep behind the dealer’s curtains. Beware of ambitious service writers (and managers).

[Image: Phoutthavong SOUVANNACHAK/]

Story from the service desk: Drop the hammer

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