Service Writer Training: Cut Your Profits by Pre-Qualifying Service Customers

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An elderly lady drives her 10-year-old car into the service drive. 

The corners of the bumpers are lightly scuffed, the rims have curb rash, and the odometer has a third of the average miles for a car its age. 

A mother pulls her minivan through the overhead door with three young kids in tow. She’s looking frazzled and carrying bags from a shopping trip to the discount store down the street.

A hard-nosed businessman pulls his pickup in. His set jaw, barrel chest and his service history both say that he hasn’t done anything but basic oil and filter changes for two years. 

If you’re human, you’ve just made assumptions about these three individuals. As a service advisor, it’s all too easy to think, “I’m not even going to try to upsell the required maintenance. They can’t afford it/don’t have the time/won’t do it.” It’s precisely at that point that you’ve done yourself a disservice. Even more so, you’ve just done the customer a disservice. 

The Problem with Pre-Qualifying

In the moment, human nature is to think it’s a waste of time to discuss anything beyond the original service request. But whether YOU believe the customer will or will not bite on the upsell, it isn’t just an opportunity to increase the RO sales. No, it’s an obligation to provide the correct customer service to each and every client. 

The granny who has curb rash on her wheels may have a bent tie rod end that goes undetected because an alignment wasn’t recommended. That’s a safety concern the advisor can help prevent. 

The mother with three kids most likely wants to ensure her family is safe in their car. The not-so-pleasant businessman may not bite on your recommendations today, but you’ve ensured your bases are covered in case he experiences lack-of-maintenance issues. 

As a service advisor, whether you believe the customer can or can’t afford the recommended services, or if they have the time, or if they will reject you every time, you have a responsibility.