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Old 07-18-2016, 07:39 AM   #1
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Lets up the communication and drop the pain

The RV Industry Death Spiral thread seems to highlight a need that someone could fill and make a potential killing in the industry. There needs to be a way to engage more repair personnel in a more timely manner. Right now most mobile repair services are not engaged with supporting new hardware unless the owner is willing to pay out of pocket. One of the main reasons is an inability to communicate with the manufacturer in a timely manner. By timely I mean right now and interactively. Mobile repair services able to go on site and work on a rig. They are not tied to a bay and can handle all but the biggest problems faster than a dealer.

The challenge here is that the industry has not upgraded their support network to use mobile technology. I can setup a bill pay system on my phone, use a meeting program to meet with a person real time and show them the problem first hand. I can take snap shots during the meeting, highlight what I'm talking about and then both participants can mark up the image while talking about it real time. A quote for work can be issued immediately and agreed upon right then and there. On top of that, the meeting can be recorded and kept as a record or referred back to as needed. No need for reams of paper or long and confusing email threads.

The technology exists to allow a manufacturer rep and a technician to deal with an issue real time and there are free applications out there that would allow them to use a 200.00 android tablet to do it. I do this daily in my job so it would be a snap for me to pass this idea on. If anyone from FR on this forum would like to chat about this post or would like me to demonstrate this tech and its setup please PM me. I would be more than happy to setup a webex meeting and walk you through this idea and its potential applications. It could really boost customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Imagine the press you would get both on the customer and dealership side of things if the factory was able to respond in minutes instead of days or weeks? A dealer has a part and wants to verify it's the right one? Take a snap shot and PM it to the parts dept while in a chat. You can compare notes and images to make certain that the right part is delivered.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:44 AM   #2
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Dreams...

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Old 07-18-2016, 08:06 AM   #3
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Sigh.

Would you please run for President?

The technology exists to make a PORTABLE and AUTOMATIC HD dish that works with direct TV. It's easy to describe. An automatic motor, an internal GPS, a list of the satellite locations for Direct, a program to coordinate where you are currently via GPS with the view of the sky for that time period for that location, and a dadblamed on/off switch!!!!

But it ain't gonna happen apparently. If it ever does, DISH is doomed........ LOL

But I love your thinking. We are all sighing at the un-inevitability of your idea! Yet that's where real change originates........in a dreamer.

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Old 07-18-2016, 08:31 AM   #4
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It's no dream...

I just got out of a meeting with folks in Israel and Ireland troubleshooting a problem on servers in Ireland and India. None of us could lay our hands on the hardware and all of us had a dependency impacting the broken process. We sorted the issue out in less than 30 minutes and had a plan of attack for a complex software issue that was breaking a critical build process. I would think that the same could be done here. Having the human communication is step one. The next step would be on board diagnostics similar to what many of the automakers are rolling out today. The diagnostics could allow for monitoring to light up idiot lights for required maintenance, pass information on to the manufacturer to assist in diagnosis and warranty support or shut down systems to protect them from damage. Alas automakers control the entire environment within their vehicle while an RV is too distributed for that to be a viable option but that doesn't mean we can't try to improve on communication between the people using readily available technology. It may start ugly until grievances are identified and worked through to both dealers and manufacturers satisfaction (with communication comes more transparency which tends to force skeletons out of the closet) but ultimately I think it could make both their lives better which would the customer experience that much better.
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Old 07-18-2016, 08:34 AM   #5
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You are missing one key element.

They don't care.
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:09 AM   #6
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In a simplistic way, I've already done this. I had an issue with a part on my TT a couple of years ago. Having a good relationship with the service dept of my dealer, I contacted them and supplied them with photos of the issue, all using a simple smartphone. That was on a Saturday. By Monday, parts were ordered and a time scheduled to bring the TT in for repairs.
Sure, the Manufacturer wasn't involved, but it just shows how some of this is already being done and I applaud the OP for bringing this to our attention. However, as one poster pointed out, they (the manufacturer) doesn't care - or at least don't APPEAR to care. If so, they would be jumping all over this.

Just my $0.02
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeysotp View Post
You are missing one key element.

They don't care.
X2
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Old 07-18-2016, 10:15 AM   #8
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You are missing one key element.

They don't care.
Sheesh folks. The post has only been up for a little under two hours . They're central time. The coffee is probably just starting to kick in.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:40 PM   #9
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It would be very cool , can get my coach into dealer, not a problem, one of the largest in the country, an il'll sit in a bay for a week or more waiting on simple communication, it's crazy an time lost for everyone , dealer is very good, you give them your list months ahead of your appt. so they can prepare, but something always comes up an it's always communication . Whole industry needs a quality control overhaul , followed by full 2 year warranty on all manufactures . The whole process could be so much better, it just needs to be address, if not the spiral continues,
How do you get it from here to reality. I really like this great thinker .
Thanks for the post.
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:55 PM   #10
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HappyGuy, your ideas are excellent.
However, as you can tell from the replies, and the lack of them (so far) from any FR reps, you're dreaming.
I think I know the answer, but haven't you ever wondered why FR service departments are so unwilling to service any rigs that weren't purchased from them? After all, they are in the RV service industry. Private shops will only usually deal with the customer re: payment, who then has to get what they can out of FR in reimbursement, when dealing with warranty issues. Follow the money.
As they say, you're confusing FR (and most likely most other manufacturers) with someone who gives a s....
The only other industry with a worse reputation that I have dealt with are the TimeShare bandits.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:01 PM   #11
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Well someone grew a set............... or more than likely finally just gave up.

Two consumers accuse multiple companies of breach of express warranty in car purchase | Louisiana Record
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:02 PM   #12
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One question..........an honest one.

If you have a, say, four year old unit, out of warranty..........is it still a problem to get local dealers to work on your unit?

In other words, is all the negativity about dealers doing work strictly a warranty issue? If so, that puzzles me.......since warranty is only a year (or 2) and all these units being discussed here cannot possibly all be that new.

If the dealers simply don't have competent repair shops, that's another story.

I wonder which it is.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:25 PM   #13
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Ours, a 2006 SunSeeker 3100SS, is long out-of-warranty. We bought it in November 2015, our first RV, from Happy Daze in Sacramento, Calif. After getting a few issues fixed (generator, hull-plate sprung, table leaning over) that the dealer agreed to, we haven't had any major issues. They dragged their feet on the repairs, which, it seems, is the norm.

For things we've had added, like a surge protector and a front-mounted hitch receiver, we just bought the parts, took them over and had them install. We're near the smaller branch location, in Livermore, which probably operates differently than the Sacramento one, 120 miles away. We made an appointment and showed up with the parts and the motor home at the appointed time and were out within hours.

Admittedly, these were minor issues and were stuff that we paid to have done; not sure how they would handle a roof-resealing or major repair, or how they handle warranty work.

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Old 07-18-2016, 02:25 PM   #14
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IMO
This shot has to fired much higher than a rep. Those guys are so busy swimming , trying not to drown in all this. A company has to be created an a workable model created an presented, an it all takes money . Where is Marcus Lemonis ?
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BandJCarm View Post
One question..........an honest one.

If you have a, say, four year old unit, out of warranty..........is it still a problem to get local dealers to work on your unit?

In other words, is all the negativity about dealers doing work strictly a warranty issue? If so, that puzzles me.......since warranty is only a year (or 2) and all these units being discussed here cannot possibly all be that new.

If the dealers simply don't have competent repair shops, that's another story.

I wonder which it is.
I think back to a commercial some years ago about a customer calling about his car. The owner assured him that he had three of his best men on it right now. You can imagine the scene if you have never seen the commercial.

Three coverall wearing men eating their lunch on the dust covered car.

In EVERY case we have engaged FR reps, the problem has been tracked back to overworked or incompetent dealer back shops and not the appropriate division warranty or parts department.

Folks, dealers will tell you anything but the truth. I am sure that while you are cancelling camping trips due to missed "in commission" dates, they will not tell you that they have not even put a man on it to find out what parts they need to order.

it is FAR easier to blame some unseen "the factory" boogie man than be upfront and let you know that it is going to be a month before they can free up someone to even look at your camper.

Worse, ordering the wrong repair part numbers seems to be rampant even when they finally get around to looking at what needs to be done. "They shipped the wrong part" covers A LOT of sins.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:41 PM   #16
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I agree with the OP completely and do the suggested regularly on my job as a automotive electrical design engineer. The tech exists and works well. But as stated by others unless they can show profits from implementation it will never happen. As most companies only answer to stock holders and not the customer. Now if Mr. Buffet would like to make his investment in FR show more dividends he could make it happen.


I also read the article in the thread on the downward spiral of the RV industry and my first thought was all FR needs to do is hire a few good bloggers to be on this site to help out the customers between the dealer and FR. It would be an easy first step and a way to implement the tech without many training issues for existing employees.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:50 PM   #17
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I read the Death Spiral series and have trouble conveying my feelings. First of all I fully acknowledge that some people have spent a lot of money on lemons and have every right to be outraged. Some rv's are poorly designed and produced. Just like some cars or couches or kettles. However I'm uncomfortably laying all the blame on the dealers or manufacturers. When I read complaints of rv's tied up at the dealer for long periods of time for minor or cosmetic problems I shake my head. Many of the issues so dramatically outlined in "Death Spiral" also exist in the automotive industry. Untrained/low paid employees working flat rate on warranty codes cut to the bone. I believe in at least some brands the selling dealer is the only one forced to lose money on warranty rates for squeeks and rattles that are time consuming to troubleshoot.

In my opinion two of the biggest issues leading to the current "Spiral" are low interest rates and the expectation of perfection. Everyone now it seems can carry the cost of a pricy unit but perhaps a lot are skating on thin ice. The concept of paying for a repair and submitting an invoice for reimbursement is almost unworkable. I heard the other day of a long awaited trip being cancelled because of a fridge failure. Others would have bought a bar fridge and some coolers with ice and carried on.


Not sure I'm expressing my ambivalence well but I believe that being a realistic tinkerer and all round handy person with a few extra bucks in your jeans goes a long way in making the rv hobby more enjoyable. I'm not ready to buy in to the "Death Spiral" just yet.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:50 PM   #18
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It's no dream...

... Having the human communication is step one. The next step would be on board diagnostics similar to what many of the automakers are rolling out today. The diagnostics could allow for monitoring to light up idiot lights for required maintenance, pass information on to the manufacturer to assist in diagnosis and warranty support or shut down systems to protect them from damage. Alas automakers control the entire environment within their vehicle while an RV is too distributed for that to be a viable option but that doesn't mean we can't try to improve on communication between the people using readily available technology. ...
But then, there are those of us who don't put our lives (or our cars) on the Internet.

I agree that communications could be improved, but I'm not too thrilled at the thought of my RV being so needlessly over-complicated as cars have gotten.

We've have to make several unnecessary "repairs" to our car because the (censored) computer couldn't tell the engine was turning, so it wouldn't fire the spark plugs. Someone I talked with recently was sitting in the dark with their new rental car while they waded through computer menus, trying to figure out how to turn on the headlights. For something that really should just be a switch on the dashboard...

K-R.
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Old 07-18-2016, 03:33 PM   #19
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And of course out of the goodness in your heart you are willing to pass this technology on at no cost for the betterment of your fellow man correct.
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Old 07-18-2016, 05:09 PM   #20
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There are open source solutions which could be used for a proof of concept but if you wanted to scale to the size that would be required to service the industry you would of course need to engage one of the larger service providers like WebEx or GoToMeeting etc. I use the technology, I don't sell it. I personally like my job and I'm a crappy salesman but when I see a problem with a potential solution I tend to speak up.
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