Everybody makes mistakes. However, some mistakes are costlier than others, especially in a dealership. Let’s talk about the top 7 mistakes that service advisors make based on feedback from warranty administrators and manufacturers over the last 30 years.

 

1) POOR CUSTOMER CONCERN WRITE-UP

Remember that all customer write-ups need to be from symptom-based questions that you can use to explain the customer's concern such as when, how often, and where to clarify to the technician how to duplicate the concern.  Here are some poor examples we have received over the years.

  1. Cell light is on and vehicle shakes.

    Take a second here and talk about how clarifying questions could communicate to get a better concern.  Is it shaking at idle, shaking at take off, or is this advisor talking about steering wheel shaking? So a better write-up after the client is questioned would be: “Customer states that the vehicle is stumbling and shaking on acceleration from a stop and the check engine light comes on.”

  2. Customer is hearing a howling noise on the highway

    Where?  What speed?  Front? Rear? Right?  Left?  A better write-up would be, “Customer states they hear a howling noise in the driver side rear area at 50 to 60 mph”


2) NOT READING THE VEHICLE INQUIRY BEFORE THE CUSTOMER LEAVES THE SERVICE COUNTER

We have several vehicles a day that leave with recalls not completed. This shifts the liability to your dealership if a failure occurs. This is extra revenue you didn’t make. Now we have a customer that has to return and miss work again.

The number one reject warranty administrators have is “ no vehicle coverage for repair.”  That is because you did not check delivery dates on the drive.

You can set the customer's expectation of who is going to pay for the repair before they leave your desk.  This allows them to wrap their mind around having to pay for the repair if the coverage is expired.

3) GUESSING AT MILEAGE OR WRITING INCORRECT MILEAGE ON THE RO

This sounds incredibly stupid to you veterans out there but we have at least 20 of these we deal with daily.  Here is one that we got in an audit recently, which made everyone at the table get red in the face.

The advisor had a pre-write sheet with 36,860 miles that he wrote on the sheet.  Then when he opened the RO he put 35,860 miles in the computer. The warranty expired at 36,000 on this vehicle. The manufacturer called it fraud and then went to work digging to find everything they could.

Even mileage is always a dead giveaway.  RO’s that have 15,000 or 3,000 or anything ending in 00 are usually mileage that was guessed at on the drive.  These are a target for auditors. Another issue we see is mileage progression errors when the mileage is less than previous claims.  Always check history and get any discrepancies handled with service manager prior to the repair.


4) REPEAT REPAIRS DUE TO ADVISOR NOT CHECKING HISTORY AND GETTING SERVICE MANAGEMENT INVOLVED

Repeat repairs affect your CSI.  They have a negative impact on your trend reports and they should always have service management involvement up front prior to dispatching.


5) YOU DID NOT ATTEMPT TO VERIFY THE CUSTOMER'S CONCERN OR YOU WERE UNABLE TO VERIFY THE CUSTOMER'S CONCERN

This would be items such as LR window inoperative or radio display blank. This may just be operator error that you can simply give customers instructions on how to operate.


6) NOT EXPLAINING TO THE CUSTOMER ALL WORK COMPLETED ON THEIR VEHICLE

Customers want to know what was wrong and what you did to fix it even if it is covered under warranty. This affects the CSI and the manufacturer's survey. However, be careful when explaining that you do not use language that infers the manufacturer has product problems.

We have heard advisors say things like “Oh all of these F-150’s have that problem”  or “These C classes have huge vibration issues”.  This makes the customer “on guard” to see if there are any other “issues” with their vehicle.


7) REALLY POOR COMMUNICATIONS IN THE WRITE-UP THAT WOULD INDICATE COVERAGE INTENDED.

First, is the part covered under warranty?  If not-

  1. Put in the write-up what coverage you checked to be sure that the repair is submitted the same coverage as you checked (That is if you checked- if not shame on you).

    i. So if covered CPO- Extended- or other coverage please note that in your story so no one has to go behind you and guess at how you want the repair covered.

  2. If you are writing a service part repair – please note the previous RO, date, and miles in the comment section.

    i. Also be sure that you check to make sure it was the same part number on each repair. If not – then this will not be a service part warranty.

    ii. Remember that additional parts may not be covered. ( check your manufacturer's policy).


If your dealership needs an extra push when it comes to compliance be sure to ask about our AWN Academy warranty certification course for Advisors. Or we can always come out to your store and do some face-to-face training.

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