Setting Up Your Dealership’s Service Advisors and Techs for Upsell Success

overwhelmed service advisor

Saying dealership service centers are a busy place is an understatement. The average dealership writes 18,676 repair orders a year, or 1,556 a month (NADA, 2019).

Sure, a good chunk of those ROs will be for competitive work like oil changes and tire rotations. But if your techs and advisors are working together to identify and recommend additional work, your hours per RO and profit per customer increase rapidly.

So what happens when your customers reject those recommendations?

Between monthly loan payments, gas and travel costs, and basic maintenance, owning a vehicle is expensive enough already. Add on unexpected repairs and you quickly see why many Americans put off vehicle service for months at a time. Most owners simply cannot afford to accept recommendations when the advisor first proposes the work. They may have to talk to partners, re-evaluate their budgets, or prioritize one repair over another.

If the customer decides to leave the dealership without completing the additional work, will you ever see them again?

It depends on your processes. Often, service advisors struggle to convince customers to come back. Maybe it’s because the advisors are just too busy with other tasks to call or email every customer with the relevant recommendations. Or maybe the “no” they’ve already received in the drive convinces them not to call because the customer felt they were being “sold to” and the repair isn’t really necessary.

However, if you have a reliable way of following up with customers after their visit to remind them of your recommendations, you may be able to get customers to come back in once they’ve consulted their family or their budget.

Upsells for vehicle repairs offer some of the highest revenue potential. If you can’t get customers back in for this work, you’re missing out on a big profit opportunity.

Winning the Business Back

Your techs have done the work to identify necessary repairs. Your advisors have passed those recommendations on to your customers. This conversation shouldn’t end when the customer leaves the drive without completing the work.

Set your service advisors up for success when they’re following up with customers:

  1. Update your customer database regularly with the correct vehicle and owner information so any contact with your customers will actually get to them.
  2. Tailor your messages so your customer is reminded of the exact services needed. General messaging gets lost and will convince them you’re just looking for an upsell they don’t need.
  3. Remind customers on a consistent cadence so those who need to save up or frequently delay service don’t forget. If you pair it with incentives like free or discounted services, they’re less likely to price-shop elsewhere.
  4. Automate these steps to help ensure consistent follow up and give your advisors more time to complete other tasks.

When upsells and follow-ups are successfully completed, techs are encouraged to continue recommending work and advisors are motivated to continue talking to customers. This results in better job satisfaction for employees and increased profitability for your dealership.