As job turnover continues to grow among service advisers, more dealers are investing in professional training to help those employees feel comfortable with their duties and interact better with customers.
Jeff Cowan, who operates an adviser training company that works with more than 1,500 franchised dealerships, notes that stores' rate of retaining service customers has dropped even as they seek to boost fixed ops business to compensate for sluggish new-vehicle sales. He says the problem often lies with service departments leaving advisers to fend for themselves.
"It's a busy job," Cowan says. "In exit interviews, advisers often complain that they weren't trained or got little guidance. Without a process to fall back on, they get overwhelmed."
That can cause advisers to quit in frustration or get fired for poor performance. Adam Robinson, CEO of Hireology, a hiring and talent management software provider, estimates that nearly half of dealership service advisers are leaving their jobs each year.
Although automakers sponsor their own adviser training programs, Cowan told Fixed Ops Journal, such efforts generally emphasize factory procedures and offerings rather than customer relations. A growing number of vendors seek to fill the gap with an array of training programs that instruct advisers in such core elements as customer psychology, consistent messaging and strict adherence to process.