Zurich’s Service Advisor program addresses market opportunity

Oct 29th 2018

Earlier this year Zurich North America launched its service advisor training program in an effort to support dealerships' fixed operations teams. Zurich is hosting events in 28 cities in 2018 and plans to expand the offering in 2019.

Collaborating with Zurich in this endeavor is nationally recognized service advisor trainer Steve Shaw. Shaw, a professional speaker and trainer, authored the book "Master of the Waiting Room" that incorporates the professional service advisor's sales approach.

“We recognized a market need to support our dealers in fixed operations,” Vince Santivasi, head of direct markets for Zurich North America, said. "When developing a solution, we researched many options. Steve stood out to us with the flexibility of seminars, online training and in-store option. He has been a solid fit for our program and has built a strong reputation in the market for delivering results. The feedback we have received from dealers during the initial pilot and since our launch in July has exceeded expectations."

Shaw stated that his methods provide real-world solutions to real-world problems.

"There is a great demand to have real-world service advisor training that actually works in stores and not just ideas or theories," Shaw said. "Through Zurich’s service advisor training, we are presenting approaches that deal specifically with actual scenarios that exist in dealerships today. The classes provide real solutions and training on 'Why Customers Buy,' how to 'Present the Multi-Point Inspection,' (and) 'Maintenance Menu Presentation.' The class concludes with the 'Best CSI and Social Media Strategies.'"

The sessions will ensure that each participant leaves with the skills to achieve exceptional customer satisfaction, Shaw asserted.

"Service advisors who attend these sessions are shown step by step what to do and what to say to the customer so they become buyers," Shaw said. "That's what this training is all about. When customers buy, they are happy."

Customer service goes beyond just selling car; it means ensuring the buyer has everything he or she needs, Shaw said.

"It's important for service advisors to understand that there are items that are required for their customer’s cars," he said. "The service advisor job is to present the services that are needed along with the other dealer offerings. Our training provides the best approach for service advisors to provide this information to the customer.”

Every aspect of the training has been carefully designed to offer the tools and resources service advisors need to make an immediate impact upon their return to the dealership. A recent service advisor went back to the dealership and sold over 80 alignments in the month, even though the entire team's monthly goal was to only sell 30 alignments. She simply followed the three-step maintenance process presented in the training.

“Dealerships that have fully implemented thetraining and selling system have seen a typical increase of 0.2 to 0.5 labor hours per repair order,” Shaw said.

A second dealer complimented Zurich after sending its advisors to the training, noting an immediate, dramatic upswing in fluid sales by using the simple word-tracking provided. Even those from his dealership who did not attend have picked up on much of the information and put it to work. A newly promoted service advisor at this dealership sold $5,000 in services during his first full day.

To supplement the classroom training, Zurich offers online service advisor training through its Zurich University platform. This training is available to Zurich F&I customers and reinforces classroom training while providing additional follow-up support to help ensure the attendees’ ongoing success.

The one-day training runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break. The average class size is 20 people, but they have had as many as 50 participants.