I have long suspected that service writers at dealerships receive a commission. It seems they like to suggest or even “scare” a customer into additional amintenance work. Any truth to this?
[b]Many Service Writers Are Involved In “Profit Sharing” Programs, Yes.[/b]
Also, they have working rapport with the technicians. Technicians appreciate and in many cases need “gravy” jobs to help give them a decent pay check. Some jobs that pay an hour’s worth of labor take much longer tan an hour to perform. Other jobs that pay an hour’s worth of labor take less than an hour. Mechanics need some of this “additional maintenance” to make a living. Most of it becomes quite routine and can be done quickly.
P.S. When I was a dealership employee, the service department was not a money-maker for the dealer, but a necessary part of selling new cars. Therefore, an effort to keep the losses down by selling service was expected. I don’t know if this is still the case.
Yes. I worked as a service writer/advisor, we would get a base salary and would get a commission on everything we sold. There was a great deal of pressure to up sell everything we could, especially maintenence packages which where big money makers for the dealer.
Of all the sales techniques that exist, fear is probably the most effective.
The service writers I’ve always worked with drew a salary or worked strictly on an hourly pay scale with no commission involved.
I don’t have a problem with trying to “upsell” service if it is genuinely needed and believe me, about 90% of the vehicles that roll through the door need things that the car owner is not aware of.
This should be separated from the technique of selling things like a fuel injection cleaning on a 10k miles car that is running perfectly. That is bogus.
Unfortunately, commission is a necessary evil. Without a commission involved there is little incentive to work. Without commission you would have service writers loitering around at the coffee pot all of the time and BSing instead of working unless the writers are conscientous enough to work without being ridden.
At one dealership I worked at the entire mission in life of one writer was the United Way. He spent about 25% of his time hounding the techs for donations, dropping sublte hints to customers about donating, and yakking on the phone trying to to get someone to chip in.
The other writer would handle about 10 tickets to the one being written by the UW nut. He should have been fired a 100 times but management liked him.
Makes me wonder if United Way is paying a commission…
They do receive different types of commission and there is nothing wrong with upselling if it is legitimate.
Scare tactics are used by people with a lack of ethics.
I agree… it’s a necessary evil. I also agree that there isn’t anything wrong with it as long as the up sell is a needed repair.
During my time as a service writer I wasn’t the top performing writer as far as up sell dollars but I wasn’t the lowest either. The techs and management were always trying to get us to up sell as much as we could on every vehicle. I tried to balance it with what was needed or what was a safety issue.
Although it was a while ago, the service writers in the dealership I worked at would convince customers they need to get their universal joints repacked with new grease every 35K miles (most cars were rear wheel drive then). I remember there was pressure from the dealership owner to push for these kinds of extra repairs.
The thought of disassembling a perfectly good universal joint simply to put some new grease in it boggled my mind. Yet I repacked many of them as it’s difficult to turn down work.
I was young and it was my first eye-opener into repair places pushing unnecessary work.
Back in college, I worked at a chain auto service center that belonged to a big chain. Our service writer was a scum bag who would say anything to make a sale. He would also not hesitate to try to bully dissatisfied customers who came back after techs had done shoddy work on their cars. That service writer had been there for many years, so apparently his practices where not considered unacceptable to the chain.
I left there and went to work for a small independent shop. The owner had been in business on that same street corner for 30 years and, other than me, his three techz had all worked for him for more than a decade. I’m not saying that techs never made mistakes or overlooked things that resulted on additional expense to customers, but the indy shop was far, far, more honest and fair with customers than the chain.
Just my personal experience.
Reminds me of a cartoon-
Picture a gas station situated at the edge of a metropolitan area. They have a sign visible to travelers heading out of the city into the rural countryside that says-
(before the next station)
The caption reads: You’d be surprised at how many paranoid people we pull in with that sign…