Psst: Hey, service advisers. Can we talk for a second?
That new co-worker in the service drive is kinda making you look bad: out there upselling every customer, pushing accessories more effectively, checking every VIN for recalls, equity mining every vehicle that comes through for sales leads. And all while processing customers in maybe a tenth of the time that you take and throwing every bit of information from each transaction immediately into the dealership management system like it's nothing.
And the worst part? That same co-worker is doing all this without having to take breaks or complaining about long hours or needing health insurance or vacations, and this newbie is working for, let's admit it, a tiny fraction of what you're making.
Yes, your interpersonal skills are better, and you're certainly better with the retirement-age customers — they seem a little intimidated to even try to interact with the new guy. But the other, younger customers? They're lining up in front of him, and so are all those folks looking to scurry off in the morning to get to work. And he just keeps kicking out those repair orders all day long — bang, bang, bang, bang — without end, even overnight!
Overall, it's not a particularly good outlook for you, long term, if we're honest. And by the way, the boss is watching all this pretty closely, so ...
It takes only one visit to a modern grocery store to realize that service adviser jobs might be the most at-risk from automation of any position at franchised dealerships. That's not to say that every service adviser position will go away, but like grocery store cashiers, the ranks of service advisers look like they are about to be extensively culled by an onslaught of digital self-service kiosks.
Automakers are experimenting with the technology, and the early results are sufficiently promising — low-cost, increased sales of additional parts or services, higher customer satisfaction — to cast a shadow over the long-term future of service advisers.
The need for talented human service advisers is unlikely to disappear completely, but their count and compensation is likely to fall as automation begins to take a bigger piece of those jobs. And that's something every dealership needs to ponder.