Automotive Service Writer Job Description
Automotive service writers serve as the liaison between an automotive technician and a customer. They are excellent communicators who can easily translate technical language into layman’s terms for customers. They work for local automotive mechanics and large car dealerships that have service centers. Automotive service writers are knowledgeable about vehicles and the steps taken to repair them. Their work setting is a combination of mechanic garages and customer service desks. This is an entry-level position that doesn’t require any formal education. Automotive service writers typically work full-time hours, and they report directly to an automotive mechanic.
Automotive Service Writer Duties and Responsibilities
While an automotive service writer’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Automotive service writers greet every customer that walks through the door. They direct them to the appropriate department, if relevant, and answer any questions about facility amenities, such as where the bathrooms are located.
Identify Reason for Customer’s Visit
Automotive service writers speak directly with the customer to determine exactly what they need. Sometimes customers aren’t sure how to articulate what is wrong with their vehicle, and the automotive service writer helps them communicate their problems.
Create Work Orders
Once the automotive service writer determines what the customer needs, they create a work order to deliver to an automotive technician. This work order may be handwritten and delivered by hand or entered into the computer and delivered electronically.
Liaise Between Technician and Customer
Automotive service writers facilitate the communication between an automotive technician and the customer. They explain the steps taken to fix the customer’s vehicle in a way that is easy to understand. They also relay customer questions to the technician and deliver answers as necessary.
Manage Billing and Payment
Automotive service writers manage the entire billing and payment process with the customer. They input the service provided into the point of sale (POS) system and accept the customer’s payment. They may also set up payment plans when customers can’t pay the entire balance in one payment.
Automotive Service Writer Skills and Qualifications
Automotive service writers possess great interpersonal communication skills, and they are comfortable switching between technical automotive jargon and layman’s terms. Employers prefer to hire candidates who have previous experience in an automotive or customer service environment. Employers also look to hire automotive service writers who have the following skills and qualifications:
- Automotive knowledge – automotive service writers are familiar with vehicle terminology and have a base understanding of the ways mechanics fix vehicles
- Customer service experience – automotive service writers are skilled customer service representatives who know how to talk to customers with a high level of professionalism and clarity
- Ability to drive – since automotive service writers drive vehicles in and out of the garage, they must possess a current, valid driver’s license. They should also know how to drive both automatic and manual transmissions
- Sales skills – automotive service writers are skilled salespeople, as many employers require them to sell additional products and services to customers
- Communication skills – automotive service writers are skilled communicators who can speak clearly with both non-technical customers and skilled automotive technicians. They can communicate well via both written and verbal mediums
Tools of the Trade
Automotive service writers should be familiar with the following tools to succeed in their day-to-day job routine:
- Auto repair software (AutoFluent, Shop Boss, AutoServe 1)
Automotive Service Writer Education and Training
Most automotive service writer positions require a candidate to have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Industry-specific certifications such as Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) or vehicle manufacturer-specific certifications are required for advancement, especially if the automotive service writer wants to become a technician.
Automotive service writers typically receive on-the-job training to learn a shop’s specific standard operating procedures and software.
Automotive Service Writer Salary and Outlook
According to PayScale, automotive service writers make an average of around $39,000 per year. Those on the low end of the scale make less than $25,500 per year, while those on the high end make more than $63,000 per year. Most automotive service writers receive benefits from their employers, but the number and quality of the benefits can vary greatly depending on the size of the auto shop. Some automotive service writers may earn performance-based bonuses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), customer service representatives will experience 5 percent growth in job outlook by 2026. Automotive service writers fall under this category and will likely experience that same level of growth.
Read through some of the following resources to learn more about becoming a successful automotive service writer:
Automotive Industry Professionals Worldwide – this LinkedIn group boasts over 300,000 automotive professionals who hold a variety of different positions all over the world. Here, you can share your own knowledge and connect with other automotive service writers to ask questions and network
Modern Automotive Technology – this book is a must-have for any automotive shop. It includes eight different sections that each correspond to the ASE certification areas. If you want to become an automotive service writer, this is a great place to start learning the technical aspect of repairing vehicles
The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service – written by a former Disney executive vice president, this book helps readers become better customer service representatives with 39 helpful rules
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