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Service Writer

Education and Training: National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence Certification preferred
Average Salary: $39,000 to $58,000
Job Outlook: Good

A service writer is also known as a service advisor, and these people work in the automotive industry. A service writer schedules automotive services for customers and helps handle the communications between customers and the company.

One of the main things that a service writer does is to speak directly with the customer, recording their concerns and questions and interpreting them correctly so that service technicians can effectively diagnose and solve the problem with a customer’s car. Once the technician has checked the car, the service writer is responsible for helping the customer understand what’s wrong. This takes excellent communications skills, since the service writer must put some very technical terms into plain language that an automobile owner can actually understand.

Because of this, service writers are often responsible for creating cost estimates for customers, handling customer complaints, and contacting customers if service technicians need more time or find extra problems with a car. They are also responsible for communicating about extra work and getting customer approval before that work can be performed.

Education and Training Requirements

Most businesses require that a service writer have at least two years of experience in a dealership or repair shop, and these advisors are usually better suited for the job with certification from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence or the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation. Classes in general automotive repair, business, sales, and customer service in high school or at a technical or trade school can be helpful.

Much training for this position takes place on the job, as a service writer must learn the specifics of his or her company’s policies and pricing. However, a general knowledge of car maintenance and great customer service skills are a must-have before starting a job as a service writer.

Getting the Job

Service writers may be hired from a certification program or from the ranks of auto repair mechanics, depending on the business doing the hiring. They may also apply for jobs by simply filling out an application in person or online.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

With some experience, service writers often go on to take on higher-level service positions, including service manager and service director. These individuals must show a high level of teamwork and communication, as well as customer service. Some service writers get out of the automobile industry altogether and end up in other customer-service oriented positions, for which their experiences suit them well.

Working Conditions and Environment

A service writer spends most of his or her time at the front desk of a dealership or auto repair shop. They are there to greet customers and must be tidy-looking in order to make customers feel at ease. With that said, though, a service writer will often go to the actual repair area to speak with technicians in person or to check on the progress being made on a customer’s vehicle.

This is not a particularly stressful job, though it does involve dealing with customer complaints, which can be stressful for some individuals. A service writer is likely to work normal business hours, but weekend work may also be required, depending on when the repair shop is open.

Salary and Benefits

On average, a service writer makes between $39,000 and $58,000 per year. This mainly depends on where they are working, as larger organizations often pay their service writers more.

Service writers can work as full time or part time employees. Full time employees are likely to have access to health insurance and retirement plans, as well as paid time off.

Where to Go for More Information

National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation
101 Blue Seal Dr. SE, Ste. 101
Leesburg, VA 20175
(703) 669-6650

National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
101 Blue Seal Dr. SE Ste. 101
Leesburg, VA 20175
(703) 669-6600

Professional Automotive Technicians Association
PO Box 5220
Deptford, NJ 08096
(856) 309-8502

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