Are your customers being sold on the facts?

Jan. 1, 2020
?The biggest issue in the industry today is that most service consultants are non-technical,? Carquest Technical Institute?s Chris Chesney told AAPEX attendees Thursday during his ?Communicating with Confidence:  Service Consultants and Technici

“The biggest issue in the industry today is that most service consultants are non-technical,” Carquest Technical Institute’s Chris Chesney told AAPEX attendees Thursday during his “Communicating with Confidence:  Service Consultants and Technicians Working Together for Vehicle Owners (And Increasing Profit for Repair Shops)” presentation. 

Technicians in the audience nodded their heads, remembering the repair orders assigned to them with little or no information provided to help them diagnose the customer’s problem. Service consultants were in agreement as well, as they recalled all the instances when they’ve tried to digest the technician’s explanation of a problem involving a complex vehicle system, and then pass that on to a customer in layman’s terms.

“They (service consultants) don’t have the technical expertise,” adds Chesney. “And that makes it difficult to sell (a needed service or repair) to a customer based on fact.”  That encourages many service advisors to rely on pat, or canned, approaches instead, with limited success.

In this one hour condensed presentation, Chesney stressed the need for training and in-place processes that would address communications in three areas. First, is the interaction between the customer and the service advisor when the car first arrives at the shop.

“If the service consultant doesn’t interview the customer appropriately, the chances of meeting their needs is slim,” says Chesney.

The next focus is on effective communication between the consultant and the technician. The consultant must be clear in communicating the customer’s concern and accurately relay the symptoms experienced. In turn, the technician must be clear in his or her explanation of their findings and use terminology the consultant, and the customer, can understand. Thisled the class to the third major weakness, explaining the factual need to the customer without bowling them over.


One tool that Chesney demonstrated was the Virtual Vehicle program offered by Carquest.  This Internet-based program uses virtual animations to show a customer what went wrong and why a repair is being recommended. It is a database of more than 300 simulated failure modes that can be used onsite or sent by e-mail to a customer’s office or smart phone, making it easier to explain service recommendations accurately and close more business.

Chesney is the Director of Technical Solutions and the Carquest Technical Institute. He has 34 years’ experience as a technician and leading educator in the automotive service industry. He has been an ASE Certified Master Automotive Technician since 1972 with L1 certification since 1994. He has authored many training programs and has personally taught thousands of technicians across North America.

To learn more about the full Communicating with Confidence course offering and other CTI programs, visit To try out the Virtual Vehicle as a possible tool for your business, go to


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