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What does a Service Advisor do?

By R. Anacan
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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In many car dealerships, a service advisor, or service consultant, is the person who is most responsible for advising customers on which service, or maintenance, may need to be performed on a vehicle. The service advisor is often considered the liaison between a customer and the technician; and a service advisor is often the customer’s first and primary contact with a dealership’s service department. Service advisors are extremely important to a car dealership because many dealerships make a majority of their income through their service departments, as opposed to the actual selling of the vehicles themselves.

For many service advisors, the first interaction with a client will be on the phone or through an email request. During the initial contact with a customer, it is important for the advisor to correctly determine what type of problem the customer is having with the car. Once all of the information is gathered, the advisor will generally schedule an appointment with the customer. In some dealerships, service advisors are also encouraged to suggest additional preventive maintenance work to a customer. For example, a customer that is bringing in a vehicle to have the brakes serviced may be provided with a recommendation to have the oil changed as well, by the advisor.

Customers arriving for their appointments are often greeted by a service advisor. At that time the advisor will typically confirm the reason for the visit and may conduct a visual or road inspection of the vehicle. The advisor will then provide a written estimate of the work that may be required to the customer, along with estimated parts and labor costs. If necessary, service advisors may also make transportation arrangements for their clients, especially if the service that is required will take an extended period of time to complete.

The advisor is then responsible for providing the mechanic or technician with a description of the problem. For obvious reasons, it is very important that a service advisor is able to accurately communicate to the mechanic what may be wrong with the vehicle. If the customer needs to be contacted while the car is being worked on, for example if a vehicle needs additional service or repairs not detailed on the original estimate, the service advisor is often the person responsible for doing so.

Once the repair or service has been completed, it is generally the responsibility of the service advisor to notify the client. When the client picks up his vehicle, the advisor will explain the specifics of the work that was performed, go over the charges and answer any questions that a customer may have. In many dealerships it is also the responsibility of a service advisor to follow-up with a client after the service was performed, to ensure the customer’s satisfaction.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1002671 — On Jan 21, 2020

SauteePan is correct. Recruiters and hiring managers don't like talking about this aspect, but "service advisor," 99% of the time, is a sales position with mandatory sales quotas that you must meet or be fired. It is your job to BS and manipulate the customer into getting his tires inflated with nitrogen, get his engine and transmission flushed, and other high-markup services, and if the customer doesn't want or can't afford these things, you lose your job. It is "customer service" only in the most euphemistic sense, and it's one step above telemarketing--if that.

From time to time one hears the claim that not every dealership is like that. Maybe it wasn't this way in 1957.

By anon957722 — On Jun 22, 2014

While reading this article I couldn't help think of the Professional Service Advisor Association, which came together recently to help form a consistently high standard for excellence in the Service Advisor industry. If you are interested in becoming a service advisor or are one and would like additional knowledge, look them up.

By anon319806 — On Feb 14, 2013

I would consider myself an automotive god. I have worked on cars, worked in the parts department and I am a service advisor. I have a gold ring from GM and was named advisor of the year at two stores. I was the shop foreman at a shop as well.

By anon311734 — On Jan 03, 2013

I have been a Service Advisor for seven years now and I can say without a doubt that it can be a fun, rewarding job and at the same time very stressful. When we get good customers it is a blast, but we can also get put through the wringer by customers, technicians, managers and even other advisers.

Surveys do not help the matter because as stated, anything less than perfect and we can be penalized up to and including termination for repeated bad surveys. Take care of your customers and you won't have a problem.

By anon304217 — On Nov 19, 2012

What is the standard job?

By anon304215 — On Nov 19, 2012

What is the promise time?

By anon286145 — On Aug 19, 2012

As soon as I find another job I am out! Even if it only pays minimum wage. We have to work 60-plus hours a week, including three weekends before getting a weekend off.

We get killed on CSI scores. Even we we do our job perfectly we get killed because they think the waiting area wasn't to their liking, the free internet wasn't fast enough, we didn't offer free snacks.

This is no exaggeration. I have seen these responses after I have been given perfect scores. The pay doesn't equal the hours put into job. Find a job that you can be happy with and have some quality of life.

By anon263500 — On Apr 24, 2012

I love my job as a service advisor. It's consistently busy and there is always so much to do and so many new things to learn every day, which helps the time go quickly.

I am content with my job and from my understanding, your knowledge and skills determine your pay. I'm waiting to perform excellently so I can make the kind of money my co-workers make it. I'm so ambitious!

By anon252643 — On Mar 06, 2012

I have been a service advisor for over 20 years. When I first started it was an enjoyable job and the pay was good. But car dealers are greedy, paranoid and even superstitious. The pay for most advisors has dropped drastically. I say most, because some advisors have situated themselves in such a way that they get most of the profitable work while the other advisors fight for the left overs.

Also, dealerships have changed their pay plans to cut ab advisors pay/commission any way possible. Also most manufacturers have a service survey that asks customers how the service of their car was. If for any reason the customer answers a survey question with anything less than completely satisfied, the survey score drops and the advisor gets penalized. It is the advisor's responsibility for any reason: parts delay, technician misrepair or any other cause. It is a very unfair and inaccurate way of determining the customer's experience. People get fired for poor surveys whether its their fault or not. It is a very high stress career.

By anon182225 — On Jun 01, 2011

A good service adviser is hard to find, but once I've found one I will always come back again.

By anon175520 — On May 12, 2011

I was recently hired to be the service adviser at a GM dealership. I get minimum wage, so not sure about the whole salary plus commission thing.

By anon144129 — On Jan 18, 2011

a good service advisor is looking out for the customer/vehicle and not necessarily profit. look for a female advisor and you might do better when looking for an honest repair.

By anon125996 — On Nov 11, 2010

That is definitely not true for Saute Pan. First and foremost, we are here for the customer to make them aware of their vehicle needs. We simply advise you of your vehicle needs and from there it is up to you if you would like to fix your vehicle or not.

I can't speak for all advisors, but my dealership simply wants you to enjoy driving your vehicle hassle free. You should be able to get into your car, turn the key and go. Leave the rest to us.

By anon110469 — On Sep 12, 2010

why are indian automobile companies not given so much importance particularly in tata dealerships?

By SauteePan — On Aug 24, 2010

Comfyshoes- I think that this would be a fun job. I would love to look into service advisor jobs because I could really learn about my car and see if someone is scamming me or not.

I bet service advisor employment is hard to get. I do know that service advisor pay is a combination of a salary along with commission.

It is mainly a sales job and they have revenue targets that they have to meet or else they lose their job. This explains why they always find something else wrong with my car.

By comfyshoes — On Aug 24, 2010

An automotive service advisor will send you a postcard reminding you that your car needs service. After you schedule an appointment, the customer service advisor will call you the day before to remind you of your appointment.

The service advisor will review your concerns and note in on the computer. He will then let you know if he has a loaner car available, or if you should wait for your vehicle.

He alerts you when the service is completed and reviews what was done with your car. He might suggest additional maintenance for a future visit. The service advisor should also make sure that your vehicle is properly cleaned from the inside out.

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