What is the “Level of Expectation”?? (Part 4 of 4) – Service Drive

15 Sep

In (Part 1) of this blog, we talked about the experience you receive when you go to a restaurant for lunch.

In (Part 2) of this blog, we talked about the “Level of Expectation” process in your Sales Department.

In (Part 3) of this blog, we talked about the “Level of Expectation” process in your F&I/Business Manager’s Department.

Now….lets talk about setting the “Level of Expectation” in your Dealership’s Service Drive.

The “Level of Expectation” allows you to guide your customer through a series of steps that are clearly outlined for their understanding and review.

Your customer will know exactly WHAT will happen, WHAT ORDER it will happen in, HOW LONG it will take and the information they will RECEIVE to make an intelligent purchasing decision in a TIMELY fashion!!

Today’s customers demand a process that is both professional and transparent!

Today’s customers also want the process to go as quickly as possible!

Service Drive processes vary from dealership to dealership throughout the country.

Let’s outline an example of a Service Driveprocess and how to set the “Level of Expectation for your customer and employees!


The customer enters your Service Drive/Lane.

Upon the initial greeting of the customer, your Service Adviser begins to explain what will transpire from this point going forward.

  • Collecting data on both the vehicle and the customer – 5-10 minutes
  • A thorough Multi-point inspection of the vehicle in the Service Drive/Lane – 5-10 minutes
  • A complete understanding and listening of what the customers vehicles Service concerns may be – 5-15 minutes
  • Service Advisor updating all customer records in the computer – 5-10 minutes
  • Service Advisor relaying to customer an approximate amount of time to service the vehicle – 5 minutes

This initial process can take anywhere from 25-50 minutes.

The Service Adviser then must set the “Level of Expectation” for when the service is completed on the customer’s vehicle.

  • A review of all services performed on vehicle and their appropriate charges (active delivery) – 5-10 minutes
  • A review on what items may need repair on the customers next service visit – 5-10 minutes
  • The setting of the customer’s next scheduled service appointment – 5 minutes
  • Customers payment for services – 5 minutes
  • The escorting of the customer to their vehicle and thanking them for their business – 5 minutes

This part of the process can take anywhere from 25-35 minutes to complete.

DON’T let your customer get frustrated and upset by “thinking” that the process is taking too long!

Remember, the customer has no idea of what the process is or how long it takes unless YOU tell them. And isn’t a calmer customer more easy to speak with than an upset and frustrated customer??

Will you have point of sale material around your Service Driveto aide your team in conveying yourDealerships Service Drive processes to the customer?

  • Banners
  • Table toppers
  • Posters
  • Video explanations on Service Advisors computers
  • Video explanations on your Dealership website

By providing a “Level of Expectation” in your Service Drive, it will do two things.

  • It will give the customer a clear and professional expectation of what will transpire on their visit and how long it will take.
  • Your Service Advisor will clearly, professionally and consistently give the same exact presentation and process to all of the customers.

By setting the “Level of Expectation”, your Dealership will quickly become proficient, consistent and professional!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital




Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “What is the “Level of Expectation”?? (Part 4 of 4) – Service Drive

  1. Randy Mccleskey

    October 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Jim I know you said you have a great deal of automotive experience and I will take your word for that but based on your comments regarding service drive expectations I have to question your service drive experience. Your suggestions simply aren’t doable in todays hurry up lifestyle. Regardless if a customer is told what to expect your time frames are unrealistic and they have not just dropped in to planet earth and gone to a dealership for the first time. I am trying not to be disrespectful but no one in the service department will give this any validation. I will be happy to send you a service advisor time calculator if you would like. Again, I apologize if this sounds disrespectful, that is not my intent. Possible I am maybe misunderstanding the process. Based on your numbers an advisor could assist 4 customers a day and still perform all of his/her other duties. If a dealer is running 40 cars a day that would require 10 service advisors. While I am an advocate of communication and advisors spending time with their customers it can be done properly in 10 minutes and I would be happy to explain why and that they should average 12-14 customers per day for best efficiency in reaching all benchmarks.

  2. jimkristoff

    October 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm


    I appreciate your comments.

    You are not being disrespectful. I am happy you raised the question!!

    I have utilized this process in my own Dealership with great success.

    If you tell a customer that it will take 20 minutes and you do it in 5 minutes they are much happier than if the perception was the other way around.

    The whole idea of setting the level of expectation is that when you EXCEED this expectation, the customer is much happier.

    Its ALL about perception!!!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: