Welcome Forum Madison Area Discussions Auto Dealership Service Managers/Service Advisors

This topic contains 20 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Anonymous 7 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #5340
    Avatar
    Anonymous

    I am simply curious at this point, and looking for information or clarification.

    I was recently told that most large auto dealership service advisors and service managers are actually “salesmen” first and are compensated on a commission basis. Their goal is to oversell or upsell maintenance services and repair work. Also, I am told that few, if any, are actually technicians who are qualified to diagnose repair issues. Obviously, the more services they sell, the larger their paycheck.

    Is this generally true, or generally not true?
    What’s your take on this? Feel free to correct me if I am wrong on this.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
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  • #39214
    GTO Man
    GTO Man
    Moderator

    As far as I know that is true. They aren’t necessarily trying to get your vehicle fixed the most economic way.

    #39215
    Avatar
    Anonymous

    My brother was a mechanic at a large dealership and they worked things like this. They had a book that gave you specific time that it would say to change an altenator on a 2000 Tarus, lets just say 20 min. If the mechanic change it in 10 min….. he would bank 5 minutes and the service manager would bank 5 mins. At the end of the month they would get paid extra for any mins banked. He said it always worked out somehow that the service manger would have a bunch of mins banked but the grunts would be short because if you took longer to get the job done then you would lose mins. Also, by no means were they looking out for the customers best interest, the old, “change parts you don’t have to” was used often.

    #39217
    Amigo2k
    Amigo2k
    Moderator

    A good person to get input on this is MoparKid since he was a service manager for like 27 yrs at a dealership.

    I know when I take my truck to zimbrick, they fix what I tell them to and I don’t receive any lip service about extras I should be doing.

    Now, when I take my Wife’s Mazda into Don Miller, it is nothing but lip service. Every time we take it in for an oil change they always ask if we want the tires rotated. I will reply one of two ways:

    1. I do that myself so don’t worry about it: They respond with: Well what do you torque the lug nuts too? Me: tight enough.

    2. Well, when I drive they rotate themselves.

    #39218
    Avatar
    Anonymous

    I am not suprised to hear these things. I am sure, too, that MoparKid will have some insight into these practices.

    I have noticed over the past couple of months that both the Honda dealership and the Toyota dealership are pushing hard to “upsell” service and maintenance items that have not been important in the past.

    I am guessing that when new or used car sales are down, that lost income is generated in the service department by pushing or “upselling” maintenance that really isn’t necessary or required. I would swear that they keep the funkiest and nastiest cabin air filter to show every customer and convince them to spend big $$$ on replacing the cabin air filter that is actually just fine.

    #39219
    moparkid25
    moparkid25
    Participant

    Technically, I spent 14 years in the dealership environment. 2 years with a former Cadillac/Oldsmobile dealer that no longer exists and 12 years with a local Chevy dealership :whistling:

    Marshall, its sad but true. Some dealers operate this way, and its always been my feeling that pushing an upsell isn’t always the right thing to do. Yes, during an oil change the air filter should be inspected. But I’ve seen filters that were barely dirty get replaced, and filters that should’ve been replaced get skipped over by the attending technician. In my current position, if I see a filter I think should be replaced, I will show that filter to the customer and let them make the decision – its there car, and there money. They earned it, so they can spend it the way they want. There is an abundance of dishonest service consultants in the dealership environment because they are paid on commision, plain and simple.

    I can also confess that many who are in this position at a dealership have never turned a wrench, nonetheless know what a spark plug is. However, many who transition into a Service Advisor position (I use the term consultant and advisor differently – a consultant is a warm body there to make a dealership money, where an advisor has experience in the industry and knows what he is talking about and can do his job well while maintaining a positive relationship with every customer) have experience in the automotive industry.

    A good example is your Madison dealerships. They hire someone who is fast talkin and slow walkin’ to sell that service work. They are commision only, so the paycheck they receive is based on sales. The more they upsell, the more they get paid. There customers are nothing more than a phone number they call to collect payment. I don’t agree with these tactics, and IMO these people should be up front selling cars or digging ditches. I have friends who still work in larger dealerships, and some of the stories they tell about the actions and operations of there service consultants would make Superman cry.

    The first dealership I worked in probably operated this way. I didn’t have much to do with the front Service Dept operations, I was a technician apprentice and worked on a team system under a Shop Foreman. I came in, did what I was told, learned a lot, and collected a paycheck. When I left this dealer, I was fresh on experience and spent the next 12 years selling parts wholesale and retail, along with servicing my own Service Dept inside that dealership. I also kept up on all available service training so I could step in the shop if needed. There were days were the work needed to be done, and the service dept was short handed, and I was back on the line for the day. It was a family owned operation, that did business on a hand shake guarantee…. How business should be done. Unfortunately as time moved on, I became older, new hires were put in place and the company took a different direction. It was a direction I didn’t agree with, along with not being able to get along with some of the new employees (big suprise, right? :whistling: ). I may not be the most well liked guy on the planet, but I am honest and empathetic when it comes to my customer and there automotive needs. When I was offered the position of Service Advisor at my current company, I accepted because this was a business I saw grow from day one, and knew the owner was someone I could trust due to his great reputation based on honestly and integrity. It was nice to transition to a company that does business how I like to do business. I don’t force my customer’s into a quick sale, I give them facts with complete diagnosis. Do my customers always like what I tell them? No, but the company motto is “Quality Service by Skilled Technicians.” I strive for satisfaction every day, and do everything humanly possible to make sure my customer’s automotive needs are met. I wish I could say that for all who do my job, but unfortunately some put there own needs first, thus uneccesary upsells.

    The dealership used to be a place one could build a relationship with those who repaired there vehicles, nowdays not so much.

    Off my soapbox, DDHemi’s girlfriend made lasagna for dinner :)

    #39220
    Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thanks Zac, for your honesty, and your insights.

    Enjoy your lasagna, you’ve certainly earned it with that last post!

    For those of us who patronize and spend our hard earned money at big dealerships – question anything and everything that a “service advisor” might recommend.

    #39221
    Zapper
    Zapper
    Participant

    Since I have spent 20+ years in the Dealership environment,12 of those as a Service Director, I feel as though if I have some valuable input. I currently oversee 3 service depts, one Domestic and 2 foreign car lines. You are correct, there are alot of shady advisors out there, however, they are not all like that. Most advisors, at least those that work at our dealership(we have many franchises) are paid a salary, small commission on sales, and a bonus on customer satisfaction scores and customer retention.Overselling, or dishonesty is not tolerated, or accepted! Paying an advisor on sales is a short term customer investment, paying advisors on CSI, and retention is a long term customer investment. Any “good” dealer knows this and wants long term customer retention, not the “one visit”, hope to make a “home run”. I have worked for the “not so good” dealer before, and made the move to where I am at now due to the way they treat their customers. MMRJR, please dont put all the dealership service advisors into one group. I agree, as a customer you should ask questions, ask to visually see what repairs are needed. You want to have all the info needed to make a good decision on your vehicle repairs. I have trained all my advisors to know the value of the “long term” customer. Building customer relationships comes first. Our customers should think about us first, from oil changes, light bulbs, wipers, to brakes, tires and any repairs they need. That is the long term relationship our stores look for. Yea, I defend my advisors, and my dealership very strongly, but I also strongly feel that my advisors are not what was described in this post. Hopefully I did not frusterate anyone, and you see that there are good dealerships and good advisors out there as well……. Thanks for listening….. Zapper

    #39222
    Avatar
    Anonymous

    Zapper,

    Welcome to the forum. Your input is interesting and appreciated.

    And, you are right on one point. It is not fair to put all service managers or service advisors into one basket, good or bad. It would be a pleasure to do business with a dealership service department that does the right thing, everytime, for every customer, whether they are spending $15 or $7,000. In my experience, this has never happened.

    I knew that this thread would be contraversial, but felt that it would be of benefit to most of us who patronize and spend big money at auto dealership service facilities. I have not had the pleasure of dealing with your group of dealerships, but I have spent a ton of money at your competitors service facilities.

    #39224
    Avatar
    Anonymous

    #39225
    Avatar
    Anonymous

    Sorry, I’m not able to get this link to work.

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/261848…14337#45814337

    #39226
    Avatar
    Anonymous

    OK, here goes. I am trying this again.

    #39227
    Amigo2k
    Amigo2k
    Moderator
    #39228
    Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thanks Amigo2K!

    I would encourage all who are a part of this discussion to take a look at Amigo2K’s link, then comment as appropriate.

    For what it’s worth, msnbc did a follow-up investigative report using a variety of the smaller, franchise service shops such as Pep Boys, Meineke, etc. I think most would be suprised to learn just how well these places actually did.

    #39223
    Avatar
    Anonymous
    Zapper wrote:
    Since I have spent 20+ years in the Dealership environment,12 of those as a Service Director, I feel as though if I have some valuable input. I currently oversee 3 service depts, one Domestic and 2 foreign car lines. You are correct, there are alot of shady advisors out there, however, they are not all like that. Most advisors, at least those that work at our dealership(we have many franchises) are paid a salary, small commission on sales, and a bonus on customer satisfaction scores and customer retention.Overselling, or dishonesty is not tolerated, or accepted! Paying an advisor on sales is a short term customer investment, paying advisors on CSI, and retention is a long term customer investment. Any “good” dealer knows this and wants long term customer retention, not the “one visit”, hope to make a “home run”. I have worked for the “not so good” dealer before, and made the move to where I am at now due to the way they treat their customers. MMRJR, please dont put all the dealership service advisors into one group. I agree, as a customer you should ask questions, ask to visually see what repairs are needed. You want to have all the info needed to make a good decision on your vehicle repairs. I have trained all my advisors to know the value of the “long term” customer. Building customer relationships comes first. Our customers should think about us first, from oil changes, light bulbs, wipers, to brakes, tires and any repairs they need. That is the long term relationship our stores look for. Yea, I defend my advisors, and my dealership very strongly, but I also strongly feel that my advisors are not what was described in this post. Hopefully I did not frusterate anyone, and you see that there are good dealerships and good advisors out there as well……. Thanks for listening….. Zapper

    I’m sorry if I implied that all dealerships were like this, I’m sure that many are more interested in good customer service.

    #39229
    Zapper
    Zapper
    Participant

    It is unfortunate that this forum has turned into Dealership bashing. We all know that EVERY industry has some bad apples out there. Not all dealerships operate the way they do in New York and Manhatten. A lot of us strive to provide great customer service. We may not always be perfect, but we gain nothing by being dishonest and unethical.

    STORMEASTON, No worries, we’re good. Everyone has heard some type of horror story from a dealer. That is the first time I have ever heard of “banking minutes” in all the time I have been in the Auto business. There are definitly dishonest dealers/repair shops out there.

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