Key Questions Every Service Writer Should Be Able to Answer

Every person on your Marine or RV dealership team is important. But to customers, the Service Writer acts as your dealer’s ambassador, making them your service MVP. How confident they are in the face of customer questions strongly affects your brand as a whole. It sounds like a lot of pressure to put on one person, but some training and practice beforehand can help them win the service game.

If you are trying to show your customers that they come first (and most Marine and RV dealerships are), here are some questions that your Service Writer should be able to answer to offer the best Marine and RV solutions.


How Often Should I Bring My Unit in for Servicing?

How Often Should I Bring My Unit in for ServicingGetting started on the right foot in terms of servicing shows that your dealer is proactive. A great answer to this one is: “To properly maintain your RV and to catch any issues your RV could have before they escalate into major problems, you should bring your RV in for service annually.”


Why Should I Service Here at This Dealership?

Why Should I Service Here at This DealershipIn Daniel Pink’s book, To Sell is Human, he says that we are all in sales, no matter what the title on our card or name badge says. According to dealership industry expert Chuck Marzahn, your average Service Writer makes about 20 touches per day.

Help your Service Writer understand what makes your dealership different, so that they can communicate that to the people that they interact with every single day.


What are You Going to Do?

What are You Going to DoThe role of a Service Writer is to correctly interpret customer requests and tech recommendations. It is the art of deciphering and turning that into a cost and time estimate. The Service Writer can connect with the technician beforehand based on notes they may have gotten off of a phone call or e-mail. If the Service Writer and technician work together from the beginning, they will all be in synch on “game day.”

Afterwards, it is a best practice to send a follow-up e-mail to the customer explaining what will happen next, in case they missed any details, or they want to share the estimate with family members.


How Much Will It Cost?

How Much Will It CostThis question will often come into fixed operations on the phone. The key is to change that question into a conversation about the actual repairs that need to be done. In person, the Service Writer should be capable of making a list of what the customer wants and give a flat-rate estimate.

Knowing the flat rates for everything other than electrical work and water leaks is a great start. For those exceptions, it all starts with diagnosing the issue, which comes at a price.


When is It Going to Be Done?

When is It Going to Be DoneThe answer is… it depends. But giving customers a time on when they will get their unit back is better than leaving them guessing and messing with their holiday plans.  The Service Writer can also become familiar with parts, including their OEM, and how long it takes to deliver and receive them. A time, even if it has to change in the future, is better than keeping customers in the dark.


How is My Service Going?

How is My Service GoingSometimes, a customer will call in to ask for an update on how the repair or maintenance is going on their unit. Shuffling papers and frantically searching the computer for notes in response does not make for the best impression.

According to Scott Mahon of Outdoor Travel, he sees integrating technology as key. “When a customer phones in, you can look up the work order and you can see all the technician notes without having to fumble through paperwork,” he says.


What is It Worth?

What is It WorthIf you do trade-ins at your dealership, the amount of service that the unit has received affects the value. While this is not in the Service Writer’s main role, it is good for them to know. Jeremy Ketelson of Ketelson RV gives the sales team a view into what is going on in the service department as well.

“Sales also has visibility,” he said. “If an individual wants to trade in their unit, we are able to see what’s been done on the service end prior to making the deal.”


Last Word

With these tips in mind, we hope your service writer is now a stronger ambassador for your brand and is really contributing to your team. To get more research-based and practical advice, please see our Service Writer guide.

Download Service Writer Guide Now.

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