Service Advisor Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Service Advisor, or Automotive Service Advisor, is responsible for communicating with customers about their vehicle repair needs and relaying information to the Service Technicians. Their duties include greeting customers and helping them determine repairs and relevant costs, maintaining up-to-date knowledge about their employer’s range of services and contacting customers to update them about their vehicle’s repair status.

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Service Advisor duties and responsibilities

Full-time Service Advisors spend the majority of their time in an office setting, although they frequently visit the repair shop. Duties and responsibilities may include the following: 

  • Greeting customers and directing them to an available technician
  • Consulting with technicians about needed repairs and alternatives that can be offered in place of expensive repairs
  • Answering customer questions about service outcomes and consulting with technicians when necessary
  • Informing customers about potential cost savings and warranty protections
  • Assisting customer with deciding to fix their car through the dealership’s shop or trading the vehicle in
  • Overseeing and managing the service center’s scheduling and workflow
  • Informing customers of changes in service or when their vehicle is ready to be picked up
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What does a Service Advisor do?

Service Advisors typically work for car dealerships or automotive repair shops to act as liaisons between service staff and customers. They work closely with Service Technicians to determine pricing for repairs and explain the reasoning for repair costs to customers. Their job is to help customers take advantage of repair deals and learn about warranty programs. They may also be responsible for maintaining repair schedules and ordering car parts for Service Technicians.

Service Advisor skills and qualifications

Some automotive careers focus on one main skill area, such as finance, customer service or mechanics. A Service Advisor uses skills from each of these areas, including: 

  • Customer service skills: Service Advisors deal with suppliers, provide estimates and schedule appointments, so being courteous and friendly is essential. They also need to be able to handle customer complaints diplomatically and politely. 
  • Communication skills: As a liaison between the customer and technician, a Service Advisor needs to be able to clearly explain the technician’s repair recommendations to customers while communicating customer needs to technicians.  
  • Comprehension skills: Service Advisors should be able to comprehend customers questions and concerns as well as what is being said when technicians give complex service recommendations. 
  • Engineering and mechanical expertise: Having extensive knowledge in these areas is essential when looking over complex technical documents, ordering online and speaking with technicians. 
  • Troubleshooting skills: Service Advisors need to be able to think on their feet and quickly resolve issues when customers change their minds about service work, repairs are running behind schedule or parts arrive late. 
  • Math and writing skills: Service Advisors prepare and calculate estimates so having good math and writing skills are an essential part of the job. 

Service Advisor salary expectations

A Service Advisor makes an average of $54,724 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Service Advisor education and training requirements

Individuals interested in becoming a Service Advisor can start their education while in high school by enrolling in the Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) program. Often, this program is offered as a partnership with franchised dealerships and automobile manufacturers. Completing this program qualifies graduates for postsecondary automotive education or entry-level technician positions.

While a college degree isn’t usually required, some postsecondary education is often helpful when looking for full-time employment as employers often prefer a candidate with experience in the field. Completing an apprenticeship or formal training can often make finding full-time positions easier. 

Service Advisor experience requirements

Individuals can begin preparing for a service advisor career while in high school by enrolling in industry-sponsored youth training programs. Apprenticeships, postsecondary training programs, on-the-job training and work experience are all required to advance to managerial positions. 

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Frequently asked questions about Service Advisors

 

What is the difference between a Service Advisor and a Service Writer?

The difference between a Service Advisor and a Service Writer is seniority and the scope of their respective job duties. For example, Service Advisors are responsible for greeting customers, telling them about their automotive services and discussing potential repairs or payment options. In contrast, Service Writers are responsible for typing up repair orders to provide to Service Technicians. Typically Service Advisors have more experience than Service Writers, which allows them to perform a more senior role, when compared to Service Writers. Service Advisors work closely with Writers to record customer details.

 

What are the daily duties of a Service Advisor?

On a typical day, a Service Advisor starts by reviewing the maintenance and repair schedules for the day. They contact customers to notify them when their vehicle is ready and review repair records to make sure there aren’t any outstanding payments. Throughout the day, they greet customers and meet with them discuss their repair or maintenance needs. During downtime, Service Advisors speak with Technicians to check on their progress and keep customers informed.

 

What qualities make a good Service Advisor?

A good Service Advisor has a personable nature and excellent customer service abilities, which enables them to make meaningful connections with customers and encourage repeat business. They value continued education and look for ways to enhance their knowledge of automotive services offered by their employer. This allows them to provide customers with valuable insights into whether they should repair or trade-in their vehicles. 

Further, a good Service Advisor has superb interpersonal communication, allowing them to speak with customers who have differing levels of understanding about automotive services and repair procedures. A good Service Advisor also needs to have a keen attention to detail to maintain updated maintenance schedules.

 

Who does a Service Advisor report to?

Service Advisors usually report to the Service Manager at a car dealership or automotive repair shop. These individuals hire and oversee Service Advisors and other personnel. They also act as a point of communication for Service Advisors who need help answering complex customer questions about repair and payment options. Service Advisors may also report indirectly to Service Technicians to provide them with information about a customer’s vehicle to aid their diagnosis.

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