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Old 07-19-2006, 02:00 PM   #1
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Why should less than 100% quality and customer satisfaction with RV manufactures and dealers be acceptable to RV owners? Could it be that our RV manufactures, dealers and occasional RV articles have conditioned us to expect less? This is not to say that all manufactures and dealers are guilty, but based on my experiences, discussions with other RV owners', bulletin boards and occasional articles in RV publications, quality and customer satisfaction continues to be an ongoing issue. Nowhere close to 100%.

Beginning with the walkthrough, you are told it is not uncommon to have "some" problems with your new purchase, but not to worry...your RV manufacture and dealer will stand behind these problems for the normal coach warranty of 12-months and usually 36-months on the chassis. Now the stage is set. We are told to create a punch list of the problems found and your dealer will fix the problems. So we start our list that can easily be multiple pages after the shake down cruise. Our punch lists look something like this: leaking windows, loose or missing trim, inoperable appliances and electronics, room slide issues, loose or broken hardware, carpeting and tile issues, engine and chassis issues...on-and-on. So armed with our list we confront the very sympathetic service manager who glances at the list and declares these are normal RV manufacturer issues and will be covered under warranty and proceeds to check your RV in for the repairs...which can take days, weeks and sometimes months. Unfortunately for the RV owner they will be without the use of their RV for who knows how long before the repairs are made and the RV is back service. My point is this: Obviously warranties are necessary and are worthwhile, however, with the proper quality control on the assembly line most of these items could have and should have been avoided. Plus, a quality dealership should have found and fixed most of these items prior to customer delivery.

If RV owners continue to accept less than quality products and services from RV manufactures and dealerships, improvements will never be made and quality will slip even farther. The automobile industry let quality and service slip and look what has happened to them. It is not too late for the RV manufactures and dealerships to take action. Every manufacture and dealership in the RV industry has an equal opportunity to gain Competitive Advantage by merely focusing on quality and service with the ultimate goal of 100%. They may never reach 100%, but doing the job right the first time will get them much closer. There is also a hidden value in doing the job right the first time, better margins and increased sales. The RV owner will also come out a winner. Less time spent at the dealership and more time on the road.
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Old 07-19-2006, 02:00 PM   #2
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Why should less than 100% quality and customer satisfaction with RV manufactures and dealers be acceptable to RV owners? Could it be that our RV manufactures, dealers and occasional RV articles have conditioned us to expect less? This is not to say that all manufactures and dealers are guilty, but based on my experiences, discussions with other RV owners', bulletin boards and occasional articles in RV publications, quality and customer satisfaction continues to be an ongoing issue. Nowhere close to 100%.

Beginning with the walkthrough, you are told it is not uncommon to have "some" problems with your new purchase, but not to worry...your RV manufacture and dealer will stand behind these problems for the normal coach warranty of 12-months and usually 36-months on the chassis. Now the stage is set. We are told to create a punch list of the problems found and your dealer will fix the problems. So we start our list that can easily be multiple pages after the shake down cruise. Our punch lists look something like this: leaking windows, loose or missing trim, inoperable appliances and electronics, room slide issues, loose or broken hardware, carpeting and tile issues, engine and chassis issues...on-and-on. So armed with our list we confront the very sympathetic service manager who glances at the list and declares these are normal RV manufacturer issues and will be covered under warranty and proceeds to check your RV in for the repairs...which can take days, weeks and sometimes months. Unfortunately for the RV owner they will be without the use of their RV for who knows how long before the repairs are made and the RV is back service. My point is this: Obviously warranties are necessary and are worthwhile, however, with the proper quality control on the assembly line most of these items could have and should have been avoided. Plus, a quality dealership should have found and fixed most of these items prior to customer delivery.

If RV owners continue to accept less than quality products and services from RV manufactures and dealerships, improvements will never be made and quality will slip even farther. The automobile industry let quality and service slip and look what has happened to them. It is not too late for the RV manufactures and dealerships to take action. Every manufacture and dealership in the RV industry has an equal opportunity to gain Competitive Advantage by merely focusing on quality and service with the ultimate goal of 100%. They may never reach 100%, but doing the job right the first time will get them much closer. There is also a hidden value in doing the job right the first time, better margins and increased sales. The RV owner will also come out a winner. Less time spent at the dealership and more time on the road.
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Old 07-19-2006, 02:22 PM   #3
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I have to say that our dealer also gave the spiel about making a list of problems and they will fix them, but they went over themselves with a fine tooth comb before we picked it up. When we got there, it was in the back and they said that everything was fine. It was. We did not have any problems and have not. Just the normal "we are new and have no idea what we are doing" issues. Of course, we a paid about a $200 "dealer make ready fee", which should not have been, but they definitely "made it ready".
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Old 07-19-2006, 05:38 PM   #4
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The punch list seems to be a common thread. this could be a long running topic. This is our 1st rv too. I'm a residential designer/builder. I'm very unhappy to have to spend more time maintaining the rv than I do a house. Most of the failings of rvs seems to be the oem items the coach builder simply installs. Too much of it has just not been designed/engineered well enough for the application. Ie, generators and ac units that have to be run too often to keep working properly. The noise level of many things is also unacceptable.
I have yet to delve into what exactly the rv industry assns do. One would hope they would have test facilities etc. The construction industry has no shortage of such facilities, including gov, specific materials suppliers assn, etc. Indeed we have seen the best new products come out of that test-research. Perhaps one way to enforce quality control would be if the Rv assns had some enforcement "bite" to assure the coach bldr is up to snuff to keep their approval rating or membership. I deplore the idea of needing yet more laws, however, either by law or assn rules: if the coach bldr or chassis mfgr were required to reimburse the rv owner for time lost, travel expenses, and to make loan pymts while rig is unavailable to the owner, things might straighten up quickly. We can add to our list of complaints half baked products. The hurry to get to market to recoup investment and correct later on demand is deplorable. I'm not shy in telling them they have one chance to fix everything they know to be substandard. The next purchase will be from their competitor. The need to keep mfg cost to the lowest to be the most competitive possible is likely to be fueled by the tax deductability of warranty repair vs higher cost of a correct product initially. A correction here could also do wonders.
Last from my view point, there is far too much take it or leave it mentality. Going with that is "how dare you think you can live without us"
Example: I recently got my delayed registration warranty date set up. The company customer service is supposedly famed at being friendly, courteous and concerned. When I'd confirmed the reg is good I, nicely informed the lady I'd be passing on burning the $3.50 a gal gas in my tank to make 2 100mi trips plus weighing rig to satisfy the company the parts are a necessary replacement per their policy. They can save their money and I'll do it myself. Her tone changed noticably as she said "I can do as I please". Push enough co. buttons and sooner or later you'll see their true colors.
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