We’ve all had the misfortune of meeting a pushy automotive service advisor. Someone who’s not looking out for your best interest, but instead trying to sell you an expensive part that you don’t need. It can feel like a challenge to find a shop that will do quality work, but also offer transparent advice. In the process of finding this balance, it’s important to know who you’re dealing with when it comes to your Automotive Technician and Service Advisor.
Who's behind the hood?
By definition, Automotive Technicians are similar to Auto Mechanics. The main thing that sets the two apart is that technicians use the technology in your car to perform diagnostic analysis and then fix the issue. A mechanic’s expertise tends to revolve around the mechanical aspects of your vehicle. These days, vehicles tend to be closer to a computer on wheels, so the technical expertise of a technician can be vital. Also, in many cases, technicians tend to maintain certifications and participate in on-going career training.
"We try to look at it as a three-legged stool that needs to be balanced... The Shop, the customer, and the technicians. Every one of them needs to be strong and equal, so the stool can function."
So how about the Service Advisor? They are one of the first people you see when you walk in. The advisor acts as the liaison between customers and technicians. "We try to look at it as a three-legged stool that needs to be balanced," Says Adi Jakupovic, The Shop’s Service Advisor. "The three legs stand for The Shop, the customer, and the technicians. Every one of them needs to be strong and equal, so the stool can function. My job is making sure that every one of them is happy every day."
Methods of Payment
If you've had a positive experience with these positions, it's probably in part due to their compensation. While the idea of diving into someone else's pay range may not feel relevant, the correlation between employee pay and customer satisfaction can't go unnoticed. There are several different ways automotive professionals are paid, and each has a unique impact on their performance.
First, there is a flat-rate method, where you only make money for the work that gets done. This method can result in inconsistent wages and poor employee performance. In many dealerships and some shops, the time allotted for a job is decided by the labor guide estimate, which doesn't leave much flexibility when it comes to time. In many instances, the guide lists unreasonable expectations to complete a given job. To not lose money, technicians are sometimes forced into a "beat the clock" frame of mind. This mindset can commonly lead to technicians having to rush through to keep pace with the workload and not lose money due to the flat-rate pay system.
The next method is an hourly wage. Regardless of the work you may or may not have during your shift, you are getting paid the same amount each hour. Auto technician rate per hour can range from as low as $11 to as high as $30 or more. For service advisors paid hourly, the industry average is $18 per hour. While this method might mean more stability for the average employee, it does not give any incentive to go above and beyond for a client.
Then there is a salary wage. Salary is where you get paid the same amount each paycheck with a set amount of hours. "Two thirds [of technicians] say they would choose a guaranteed lower salary over the risk of variable pay." Many employers use a combination of one of the above and add-in incentives or bonuses.
It is not uncommon for a service advisor or technician to be paid based on commissions in addition to one of the methods listed above. With the use of commissions, the issue of being pushed unneeded services or parts becomes a concern. When you need auto repairs made, it's essential to know that you have someone with your interest in mind. Too much focus on earning commissions certainly can lead to a pushy environment for the customer.
So, Why The Shop?
The Shop excels at providing knowledgeable and trustworthy staff to assist you with all your automotive needs. By paying them a salary based wage with incentivized bonuses, they're able to dedicate time properly and work efficiently. Mike Peyton, a Mercedes Specialist at The Shop, appreciates not having to turn ridiculous hours to take home a paycheck, thanks, in part, to the system they have in place.
The incentives, unlike other dealerships or auto shops, do not come from commissions. Instead, they're given out for notable work and customer service, making those two aspects the key to success. "Being paid a salary allows me to focus on doing the right thing for the customer and not having to worry about my paycheck," Adi says. "This presents better service to customers, which makes more money for the shop, and that leads to a higher salary for me."
With this system in place, The Shop avoids the awkwardness that customers can feel when dealing with a commission-focused sales associate instead of a knowledgeable technician. They can also rest assured knowing that the service on their vehicle will be done the right way and in a timely manner.
The Shop values the concept of a healthy work/life balance, as well as continued education. Certifications and classes are heavily encouraged by the business. By providing a positive and transparent work environment, your Service Advisor and Technician can give you an hassle-free experience from the time you drive up to the time you leave.
“I love how thorough The Shop is. Their vehicle condition report is so informative and helps me understand what is going on with my car. Adi does an amazing job explaining everything and making sure you get the best parts to fix your car.” - Lydia B