The Role of a Service Writer in Auto Repair Shops
Service writers play a critical role in helping customers understand the estimate and repair process. As a service advisor, you’ll walk guests through any vehicle concerns the technicians find and then make relevant repair and maintenance suggestions.
Your team will put faith in you to drive business for the shop, and your customers will trust you to help them make the right decisions.
Being at the center of customer and team relationships is a position that comes with a lot of responsibility, and team captains aren’t made overnight.
Learning how to become a service writer starts with learning the ropes and getting comfortable with the basic technical skills needed to thrive in an auto repair shop.
What level of education do you need to become a Service Writer?
If you want to know more about how to become a service writer, but you’re afraid education requirements might hold you back, we’ve got good news!
There aren’t any particular education requirements for this position. That being said, a high school diploma or GED and some relevant experience in the auto industry are pretty common among most service writer job candidates.
You might also consider earning a technical degree in automotive technology or a traditional degree in automotive engineering, mechanical engineering, or business to gain a competitive edge in the job search. And if attending technical school or a traditional college is outside of the budget, earning a certificate might be a more viable option.
Taking an online course through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence can make your resume stand out for a fraction of the cost of a traditional education while also increasing your earning potential over time.
More important though for service writers are the intrapersonal skills related to the job. Service Advisors are front-line and customer facing, and the role has the opportunity to really help shops create an amazing customer experience.
Not to mention, with cloud-based shop management systems, shops have the opportunity to empower their service writers to provide exceptional service by simplifying their workflows.
Now is a Great Time to Start Your Service Writer Career
Committing to a career path isn’t always easy, and a lot goes into making such a big decision. If you worry about getting stagnant in your career, you can rest assured that this is a position that comes with a lot of upward mobility.
Being a service writer can open the door to several other positions such as service manager, branch manager, or general manager.
In fact, now might be a good time to think about jumping into the independent auto repair industry as a whole.
Our latest Industry Index Report noted that automotive employment in 2022 increased by 3.5%, and grew to over 915,000 men and women working at general repair shops, vehicle dealerships and gasoline service stations, according to the Auto Care Association.
Start With the Fundamentals
Here’s how to establish yourself as a service writer and team captain at an auto repair shop:
1. Become Customer Obsessed
Service advisors directly deal with the customer, and are therefore at least partially responsible for delivering amazing customer service.
Especially in the digital age when customer have high expectations, its important to put their needs first, to learn their world and their problems, and create a customer obsessed culture for your shop.
Powerful features in Tekmetric, like shared customer history for multi-shop users, enables service writers to view a customer's entire history with your business form every single location and provide a seamless experience no matter what location they stop in.
2. Learn the Lingo
Becoming a stellar service writer goes one step further than possessing basic communication skills.
To be successful, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of the industry’s technical jargon to facilitate communication at the shop and translate complex automotive concerns from the technicians’ findings to the customer.
3. Stay Focused
From calculating labor costs to ordering parts, service writers need to understand basic computation skills. In this industry, reputation and trust are an essential part of the customer experience.
Forgetting to carry a one or add a zero on the estimate can damage your relationship with the customers that support your business.
Thankfully, modern shop management systems are packed with features to help shops manage parts inventory and apply the right markups every time.
4. Manage Your Time
Auto repair shops are a fast-paced environment. As a service writer, your work schedule will always be full between booking appointments, addressing customer concerns, and working with technicians to keep repairs on track.
Because you’ll be overseeing several different repairs simultaneously, it’s crucial to know how to prioritize tasks and delegate responsibilities in the most efficient way possible.
5. Get Organized
Service writers are responsible for establishing the repair order rhythm and keeping a balance within the shop.
Whether your shop’s RO process is tied to pen and paper methods or digital software, you should know exactly which cars are in the shop at any given time and where they’re at in the repair process.
You’ll need a handy system for keeping track of estimates and work orders to ensure necessary data doesn’t get lost.
6. Know How to Problem Solve
Service writers are responsible for guiding customers and team members through any bumps in the road during the estimate and repair process.
Whether you encounter low inventory, late shipments of parts, or other unexpected labor delays, knowing how to keep your cool and make quick decisions under pressure is essential.
How Modern Shop Management Systems Support Service Writer
With a cloud-based shop management system in place, service writers can streamline workflows, communication, analytics, and customer experience to create cohesive process.
Streamline shop communications
Tekmetric enables service writers to communicate with team members and customers on a unified platform, simplifying job tracking and prompt query responses.
Enhance the customer experience
Tekmetric's two-way texting and easy-to-read invoices allow customers to approve work and pay digitally. Plus, powerful features like default inspections help to build repair orders in seconds, freeing up service writers to focus on the customer directly.
Improve with detailed analytics
Tekmetric provides data analytics and reporting features that can help service writers make informed decisions about their operations, such as tracking performance metrics and identifying areas for improvement.
Set Your Shop Up For Success
Ultimately, Tekmetric helps service writers run their operations more efficiently and effectively, allowing them to focus on providing quality service to their customers.
And when customers feel they can trust your shop, they'll come back the next time they need something repaired in a hurry.