By Jeff Jefcoat, F118344
Members of the Commercial Council of FMCA come from various sectors of the motorhome industry. The council has members who represent motorhome manufacturers, custom coach conversion companies, component manufacturers, bus shell manufacturers, motorhome dealers, chassis builders, suppliers, and campgrounds.
Last year the Commercial Council created a special subcommittee to develop ideas to try to find out how FMCA member families feel about their motorhomes. The subcommittee held a conference call and prepared a survey designed to gather information regarding customer satisfaction as it relates to motorhome quality and service. This survey was distributed to motorhome families who attended the FMCA convention in Perry, Georgia, this past March. Almost 300 owners took the time to answer the questions and share written comments about their respective experiences.
I took a special look at the answers provided by owners of motorhomes that were two years old or newer. The following statistics were gleaned from the results of the questions related to the area of satisfaction with service during the warranty period.
1. Timeliness of scheduling appointments for service: 67% satisfied; 33% dissatisfied.
2. Availability of parts: 68% satisfied; 32% dissatisfied.
3. Time required for making repairs: 60% satisfied; 40% dissatisfied.
4. Repair corrected first time: 58% satisfied; 42% dissatisfied.
5. Cleanliness of motorhome when returned: 73% satisfied; 27% dissatisfied.
6. Repairs made were completed satisfactorily: 71% satisfied; 29% dissatisfied.
A general synopsis of the written comments follows:
- The better chance for satisfactory service is at the factory instead of the dealer.
- More than 35 items required service in the first six months.
- Improve quality of motorhomes leaving factory.
- Quality control seems almost nonexistent. I do not believe the design team has ever spent a night in a motorhome.
- The RV industry is where the automobile industry was in the ’60s and ’70s. There is no pure quality assurance. Management talks the talk but does not walk the walk.
- We need just one source to contact with service problems, rather than engine manufacturer, transmission manufacturer, chassis manufacturer, cooling, heating, etc.
- Training of service personnel needs improvement.
- The only clean area in the dealership is the sales office.
Do these comments and suggestions apply to every dealer and manufacturer? No. Many motorhome owners are quite satisfied with their experiences. Following are other comments shared by motorhome owners who completed the survey:
- Our dealer of choice has sold us two RVs and has a very professional and courteous staff.
- The manufacturer is a great company.
- Two major items occurred, one just out of warranty and the other years out of warranty. The manufacturer paid fully for these items without question or fuss.
- We have only had dealings with our coach manufacturer. They have always been quick, courteous, and helpful. If everyone took care of their owners as our coach manufacturer does, you wouldn’t need this questionnaire.
- This is our ninth motorhome since 1981, and they have all given us great service.
- This is our third new motorhome from the same dealer, and we’ve been very satisfied with their honesty, service, and prices.
I personally believe that every CEO in the motorhome manufacturing industry really has a strong desire to provide quality control and customer satisfaction and has company policies that should help to achieve these goals. I also believe the industry as a whole is working toward this, evidenced in part by the annual RV owner satisfaction survey the industry has been conducting and sharing with the manufacturers, and by the emphasis on training of RV technicians. Since a motorhome actually is a house and motor vehicle combined, it is a complex piece of equipment that requires maintenance to ensure long life and dependability.
FMCA members are in a great position to share feedback with manufacturers and dealers as these companies work toward achieving greater customer satisfaction. What other industry can you think of where consumers have a direct opportunity to share ideas and comments with industry leaders, including company presidents and CEOs, as FMCA members do at our international motorhome extravaganzas and area rallies? I know these folks are listening. Change doesn’t always take place overnight. But someday I feel sure that all motorhome owners will be able to climb behind the wheel of a new motorhome with confidence that it will provide years of trouble-free service.
New, Lower Price For Electricity In Hutchinson
The fee for the electrical hookups that are being offered to FMCA families for the Hutchinson motorhome extravaganza has been lowered to $90 per coach. This change took effect after the registration forms had been printed for the magazine, so it is not reflected on those forms but did appear correctly on FMCA’s Web site. Refund checks for the difference are being issued automatically to anyone who sent a check that included the original $130 fee, and those paying by credit card were charged the lower fee.
Notice of Annual Membership Meeting
The Family Motor Coach Association’s annual membership meeting will be held during FMCA’s 68th Premier International Motorhome Extravaganza at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas, on October 3, 2002.
Help Us Update Our Records
Although FMCA members’ phone numbers are for FMCA business use and not for publication, please remember to notify the FMCA Membership Department if your area code or phone number has changed. Similarly, if any other information has changed — your address, zip code, e-mail address, etc. — please let us know.
Changes may be reported in several ways. Contact the Membership Department by calling (800) 543-3622 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can make changes to your membership records via FMCA’s Web site — www.fmca.com — by logging into the “For Members Only” area.
We are adding e-mail addresses to our membership records. These addresses will be maintained for FMCA business use only. If your e-mail address is not currently on file with us, please be sure to provide it. It is preferred that members submit their e-mail addresses by logging onto the “For Members Only” area of www.fmca.com. However, members without Internet access can e-mail the address in the following way:
Subj: Update e-mail
FMCA Membership Number (no spaces) (e.g., F123456)
E-mail address (e.g., user name@provider name.com)
In addition, please check the Stoppin’ Spots listing that last appeared in the January 2002 issue of FMC (page 1021). This listing includes FMCA members who have volunteered in the categories of Stop Over, Come Visit, Mechanics Helper, and Pinch Hit Driver. It will next be published in the January 2003 issue. If you would like to be added to or deleted from the list, or if you have changes to make to your contact information, please contact the Membership Department as noted above. The deadline for making changes to this listing for the January 2003 issue is October 31, 2002.