Dealership mechanics beef that service advisers often tell customers repair work will require less time than it actually does, but advisers dispute that claim.

Technicians say about one-third of customers are given unrealistic waiting times by service advisers doing write-ups, according to Carlisle & Co.’s  Annual Automotive Technician Survey.

The consulting firm calls that a problem because expected repair-completion time is a big factor for consumers in deciding which car-service provider to pick.

Mechanics are exaggerating, say service advisers. They estimate they’re accurate 83% of the time.

Mechanic-service adviser communications is a stand-out issue in the survey of 9,000 service technicians from 15 auto brands.

The service adviser typically is the first point of contact for customers bringing cars to dealerships for repair or maintenance work.

It’s vital advisers provide informed and accurate initial diagnoses, Carlisle says, noting that time is money for mechanics who work on the meter as well as dealers who charge by the hour for service work.

Yet, surveyed technicians say 43% of repair orders require additional clarification from the adviser, costing each technician 30 minutes a day of follow-up time.

Based on that, Carlisle estimates a typical dealership with 12 technicians at $60 an hour, each losing 30 minutes a day, results in about $90,000 of lost service revenue each year.

Survey results show a widespread need for auto manufacturers to implement more formal training programs at their dealership operations, the consultancy says.

“Technicians represent the critical link between the service customer and their product satisfaction and repurchase loyalty,” says Harry Hollenberg, a Carlisle partner.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com