Monday, December 5, 2022


Is expecting good customer service in the RV industry too much to ask?


I remember my dad’s parting words as he dropped me off for my very first paying job. I was hired to babysit my cousins for the summer. Even though I was just 12 years old, I still remember Dad’s words as clearly as if he was speaking now: “Do your best.” Those three simple words have helped form my work ethic ever since.

If my dad could talk to the RV industry today, I’d love to hear what he’d say to the designers, manufacturer line workers, salespeople, service mechanics, and everyone else who has a hand in cranking out and repairing RV after RV.

Do your best

If every person did their best, what would our RVs be like? We wouldn’t have to worry about parts falling off or wearing out before we’ve finished our first trip. We could count on correctly connected electrical and plumbing lines and appliances mounted with safety and functionality in mind. And we’d know that every detail of our rig was checked and rechecked until everything was done right.

What RVers want

A while back we asked our readers, “What would you tell RV manufacturers if you could talk to them?” Many, many people addressed the quality, pride, and attention to detail that seems to be lacking within the RV industry. In the mad rush to make as many rigs as possible, quality suffers. Yes, the demand for RVs is overwhelming. But these rigs are traveling on our highways and through our towns. More and more people are living full-time in RVs. Companies must take responsibility for the safety and durability of their products.

Customer service

Along with quality issues, several readers lamented poor customer service. “It’s all good,” said RJ. “Until you need something fixed. Then the dealership seems to forget that I was the one who paid big bucks for the rig they sold me.”

Remember “The customer is always right?” Or “Service after the sale?” These words seem to have lost their meaning. We just had our RV checked. After a bit of negotiation, it was determined that the warranty would indeed pay for the needed part. However, labor costs were not covered. Our labor bill? More than $700! This after the dealership had our rig for seven weeks in the height of the travel season! I understand that the demand for repairs is high and I believe that mechanics should be paid a fair wage, but I doubt that my primary care physician earns $190 per hour. I could be wrong, but gosh! The hourly rate seems very high! I’m happy the landing jack is fixed, but did I mention that they still don’t know why the dryer (that they installed) keeps tripping the breaker?!

Who’s responsible?

Where does the buck stop? I asked our dealership. The harried gal at the service desk seemed intent on processing my payment and moving on to her next customer. I talked to the salesman who sold us the RV. He couldn’t talk right then. He had a client coming in. The guys in the service bays haven’t had time off in weeks, and get daily pressure from bosses to “move it along!” Everyone seemed stressed. I’m sorry they’re stressed, but I’m stressed too! When you pay so much and get little in return, it’s disheartening.

Are we asking too much?

Work ethic. Pride in workmanship. Customer service. All these phrases mean little if they are not backed up by competent, devoted folks who honestly care about their industry. All that RVers want is a fair deal for a quality rig that, with affordable maintenance, will last.

Is that too much to ask?


RV service centers and stores are out of parts. Now what?


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John Koenig
27 days ago

As long as buyers are mostly clueless re quality, the builders will continue to push out “PRETTY” RVs that are often crap. A FEDERAL Lemon Law that covers RVs is desperately needed.

28 days ago

For those of you waiting for your RV to be serviced, you can take solice in the fact that with the price and availability of diesel as it is, you probably wouldn’t be taking it out much anyway. After completing a 3 month tour of the midwest and mideastern states, we noted that while the campgrounds were near capacity, fewer RVs seem to be actually moving around. Our neighbors were more often workcampers than vacationers.

Jim Johnson
28 days ago

Customer Service has to be almost as lonely a job as a local small town politician’s that gets maybe a $50 stipend when he or she attends the monthly public meeting, but deals with citizens at all hours every day. It’s a lot of pain for little gain, and people tend to forget that. I darn near always start out with “I know you are just trying to do your job. Don’t take my frustration personally, but I am asking you for your help” – which in many cases I am asking them to direct me to someone within the organization that has decision making power. Of course these days you have to be able to talk to a person rather than a voice mail box or worse an undertrained artificial stupid software platform.

I agree with other comments about work ethic and the lack thereof. Often it is the employee, but more often it is the attitude of management either implied or implicit that the employee’s job is to answer the phone and not bother the manager with customers’ issues.

28 days ago

Is expecting good customer service in the RV industry too much to ask?


When you have an INDUSTRY as a whole that has demonstrated for YEARS their lack of customer service to expect anything better can best be described as INSANITY!

Glen Cowgill
28 days ago

The blame here starts with Grandma. OK, I am going to get killed, but it is true. Remember little Johnny who could do no wrong in Grandma’s eyes? The kid down the block who ran through your beautiful flower bed with his scooter?
He is now the guy who is fixing your RV. Remember little Cindy who was caught stealing at the candy store? She is now your parts department manager.
Ok, you get the point. Mommy and daddy threw them out and told them to get a job. They heard Joe’s Campers were hiring so there they went. Gotta have money for rent, eat and buy clothes for the newborn.
Was little Johnny and Cindy taught to do a job right at home? Probably not. I can say that my four kids are gainfully employed doing very well. why? Like in the article, they were taught from a very young age to do chores and earn their way. Remember you are dealing with the age of entitlement and corporate greed. Yes , I own stock and want a cut also for my investment.

28 days ago
Reply to  Glen Cowgill

well said

6 months ago

Now with thousands of recalls how can the dealers ever get ahead and provide timely repairs to the other customers? I am so glad I bought a Tiffin. Very little delay for service and I always go to Red Bay, worth the drive if I can’t fix it myself.

Thomas Moeller
8 months ago

Worst customer service I’ve ever had to deal with!

1 year ago

General RV has great customer service. Make an appointment and that is the day they will look at it fix it or do the service, or they will tell you when they can if it is more extensive. Love General RV Grand Rapids MI they have other General stores in the midwest.

1 year ago

You r not asking to much. I’ve tried paying more to get a better product. It doesn’t work. We’re told it’s because the units are trailers down the road. I have a boat that I trailer long distances. If it was made a an rv it would have sank long ago.

Scott Ellis
1 year ago

“Your best” takes time. How much more are you willing to pay for your RV?

I can’t imagine being happy with any RV that you’re not ready to fix and capable of fixing yourself.

1 year ago

I think you have spoken for the majority of RVers. We have lost so many important qualities in this country. When did we forget how to include quality and pride into what we do? Call me old, but I was raised to try for a much higher standard than what we see today. Sad.

Roger McCall
1 year ago

As everyone knows, the root of all the problems begins at the Factory. The poor quality work there has a ripple effect throughout the industry. I’m sure the employees of the dealership INTEND to give you good service, why wouldn’t they? The issue is that they are just completely overwhelmed. They are human and can only do so much. So until the quality of construction improves, nothing else is gonna get any better.

1 year ago
Reply to  Roger McCall

I think it begins not at the factory but at headquarters, where they design far too many new models and variations every year, and set production goals way too high. We love innovation, but the companies need to slow down and make fewer designs, and let the factories take time to build them right. Some of the quality advantage of Airstream or Tiffin or Northwood comes from just sticking with their designs longer.

I’ve heard that argument about us insisting on cheap product and they’ll go broke if they crafted things better. Baloney. We’re not talking rocket science here. We know how to build a cabinet and run pipes and wires properly, and I doubt careful work would add $1000 to the cost of a rig. Never mind it would take away countless headaches and costs the dealers have—how much money and time is wasted by us hassling with service writers over lists of problems. The dealers should start insisting on better quality for their own sanity, never mind ours.

28 days ago
Reply to  wanderer

Wanderer: You nailed it!

These things start in the board room and executive suites and ripple down from there. While I’m not sure that all line workers give a rip, impossible quotas and demands rippling down from above put the line folks in a very difficult position.

1 year ago

$190 an hour? Yes, your doctor probably does bill that much or more. But that is gross income, before taking out rent, support personnel, equipment, insurance, licensing, benefits, taxes, and all the other costs of doing business. And your doctor probably doesn’t know exactly what caused the pain in your backside either – after all, he’s still just practicing.

1 year ago

If you ever in Wisconsin and spending a few weeks camping near Bonduel, Wisconsin Miller and son’s rv repair has taken care of fixing my camper.

Dr. Michael
1 year ago

“Do your best.” Those three simple words have helped form my work ethic ever since.

When I attended St. Marks School (about 50 years ago), I always earned good grades. On one report paper, Sister Lucy put in the comments section “Does required work, nothing more.” Since I saw that, I have given 150% all the time. Those were the words that took me through the decades to practice medicine.

On customer service- If it is not ingrained in the people at the company and comes down from the ownership, then forget it. Every leader, every employee must have that feeling of ownership (and authority) to take care of every customer. If you want an RV example of this, go to NIRVC (any location) and try to get poor service. You can try, but it is not going to happen.

Stephen L Steele
1 year ago

People won’t pay for good service. They will price shop to save a dollar. Then complain because they got terrible service, or a terrible product. You get what you pay for. If you want better, pay for better.

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 year ago

That’s true, Stephen. My saying is, “You get what you pay for. You don’t get what you don’t pay for.” Have a good afternoon. 🙂 –Diane

Michael Galvin
1 year ago

When we’re trying to get good warranty service from the place we bought the rig, we’re not price shopping.

Bill g
6 months ago

Then your saying they do crappy work, there is another saying. If a job is worth doing, then it’s worth doing right. You can’t let them people screw you over.

1 year ago

It’s a real shame, fair play, fair pay and fair business practices have been replaced by the throw away mentality and take advantage of all you can. Business leaders are not truly leaders, otherwise such shoddy workmanship and poor performance by subordinates would not be tolerated. Hire qualified people, not just a warm body. real people wanting to deliver good service, for which they are financially compensated . Professional Managers should be more than a good friend or salesman. Don’t permit your first line supervisors and their supervisors to abuse your market Don’t permit your employees to support poor practice and marginal performance. Take a hard line on honesty, fairness and delivery of GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE. Don’t allow that to be just a marketing line

Bill g
6 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

The problem is your dealing with the mobile home industry. There service after the sale, sucks. And the people that sell them are just like unscrupulous used car salesman, I used to sell them for about a year, and ended up quiting because my company kept screwing my customers over, then I was the one that had to deal with it

Thomas D
1 year ago

The whole blame goes on the “bean counters”. Profit before quality or service. Buy the cheapest, use untrained labor, set production goals that are hard to meet and at the sales end outright lie about just about everything. My current rv had molding that was falling off. The fix, slightly longer staples. Workmanship was good, just needed staples that were 3/16″ longer. Manufacturers cost? Maybe 20 cents. Cost to everyone involved, hundreds. Part of the cost was 400 mile round trip to have it repaired. Around $120 just for fuel. This problem didn’t show up during PdI, it took shaking down the highway to reveal itself. It was something I could have fixed myself, but why? Let them bite the bullet.

1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas D

I have no love affair with “bean counters” but their direction comes from upper management. They are also employees and do not act independently.

1 year ago

“do your best”
i wish they had on our 09 Cedar Creek! I have repaired, reinforced, a great many sloppy factory issues that would have cost them very little in dollars and time during the build stage.

Lil John
1 year ago
Reply to  Wayne

Same here Wayne! I have never owned an RV I didn’t have to spend time fixing. The frustrating part is that 90% of the problems are traceable back to the designers/engineers.
Then you add in the sloppy workmanship when the thing is put together and you end up with a box full of mistakes and problems. Imagine if you did not know a thing about repairing it and had to spend money for labor? For some of us that would be prohibitive.

1 year ago

Shout out to Johnson RV in Sandy OR. I have had excellent results from their service department several times over the past 7 years. .

david preece
1 year ago

that’s great to hear. probably because t is family owned and not part of the Great Corporate System ie, Camping World, Gander RV, Holiday World, etc.

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