A Step-by-Step Guide to Handling Customer Complaints after Service Advisor Training

automotive service advisor career

It’s impossible to avoid complaints in the workplace, and the internet age has meant there are even more avenues for customers to voice their concerns with a particular business. Service advisors in an auto repair workplace have excellent interpersonal skills and know the most effective way to handle these tough situations.

Nobody ever wants to hear criticism of their work, but there’s no need to panic when it happens. It’s all a matter of implementing and following a step-by-step process during each situation. Keep your cool and follow this simple advice to ensure that initially unhappy customers eventually leave the garage with a smile on their face.

Get all the Details Before Proposing a Resolution

Find out as much as you can about the customer’s complaint when they first bring it up. Determine exactly what happened, when it happened, and who in the company they may have been interacting with at the time. Don’t be dismissive when you first hear the complaint. Most customers aren’t angry when they come forward, but they can easily become more irate if they feel their complaint isn’t getting attention.

Graduates of service advisor training know to look at the situation from the customer’s point of view. They may be upset about delays with car repairs, and don’t understand why it’s taking so long for a replacement part to arrive. Auto repair is your area of expertise, but probably not the customer’s. Treat their concerns with respect and calmly explain why a misunderstanding may have occurred.


Follow the same advice when handling online complaints
Follow the same advice when handling online complaints


Determine if You Can Find a Middle Ground with the Customer

Once you’ve found out all the necessary details about what happened, and determined that their complaint is legitimate, then find out what they want to make up for it. A lot of the time, they just want acknowledgement that a mistake was made, and an apology. Sometimes customers will look for a full refund or a discount on future services. Determine what the company policy is for certain situations. You could receive multiple complaints about similar incidents, so check out whether there’s a uniform course of action to deal with faulty installation of parts, repair delays, and other problems.
Asking them about what they want allows them to feel part of the resolution process. The customer feels like they’re being listened to, and they will be more likely to return to your business once this situation has been sorted out.

When and How to Apologize in a Service Advisor Career

Once you’ve determined that the customer’s complaint is legitimate, you’ll need to apologize on behalf of the entire company. It may not have been your fault, but you’re representing the company. Assigning blame to your colleagues isn’t the right thing to do when talking to the customer. Assure them that you’ll do everything possible to ensure it won’t happen again, but make sure that’s not an empty gesture. Notify senior management about the complaint, so they can make any necessary changes behind the scenes.

Take Notes if the Complaint Must Be Passed on to Senior Management

Not all professionals in a service advisor career have the authority to resolve every single complaint. You might need to transfer the query to higher management, but take down as much information as possible before doing so. Management will want a synopsis of the complaint first, before interacting with the customer. This can be done by writing down notes or typing them out formally before sending them up the food chain. If you are in a position to resolve the issue yourself, it’s still a good idea to take down a few important notes so they can be kept on file.


Try your best to leave on good terms with the customer
Try your best to leave on good terms with the customer

Looking for the right place to get your automotive service advisor career started?

Check out Automotive Training Centres for more details about our programs.

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