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Old 11-15-2006, 10:23 PM   #1
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airstream starts polling customers about the 'dealer service' experience....

this really isn't off topic but i couldn't find a great place to put this thread...

we need a sub forum for service or dealer experiences and the vendors forum now has a new description so that's not the place....

i though this was important enough to start a new thread...

anyway here is what happended TODAY!

i checked my voice mail from last week and found a message from a/s in j/c basically saying...

" our records show you had warranty work done recently on your trailer and we'd like you to complete a short survey on the experience"

message included a name and extension...

i contacted them today...

"hello someone called me to complete a survey" i began...

"oh sure, you had warranty service last week and we'd like to ask you about it" was the reply...

"how do you know who i am, i've not given you a name yet" i joked...

"oh we only called one person last week so i've got the info right here" was the explanation...

"have you got time for a few questions about your service?"

"sure" i do...

"great, so here we go..."

(i will omit my replys but here are the questions as asked...)

1. describe the dealership/service department appearance, was it clean? did they have a separate service area with bays indoors? was there a sales showroom too?

2. was the service writer friendly? did they address all your needs when writing up the work order?

3. did they schedule the service when you needed it done? how far out was your appointment made? did they keep your appointment or was it rescheduled on your arrival?

4. was the work done in a timely fashion? if they estimated the time, did the work take more or less time than the estimate? were there any delays?

5. was there a waiting area for you and your family? did they have a waiting area with chairs and coffee? were you able to stay at the dealership while the work was done or did you have to leave?

6. are you satisfied with the repairs? did they do all of the requested repairs or is there more to do at another visit? was there anything they could not do or didn't do?

7. are you unsatisfied with anything regarding the warranty service experience?

8. was this dealer your 'selling dealer' or did you go to a different dealer that where you purchased your trailer? if so why?

so that was the survey and i answered all the questions.....

then i asked the j/c person a few questions.....

"when did you start doing these surveys" i asked.
"last month" he replied.

"how many surveys are you doing?" i asked.
"a random sample; we hope to do 5-10 per dealer" he replied

"why not survey every customer, there aren't that many and 5-10 is a really small sample size per dealer" i said.
"well that's what we decided to do, 5-10" he repeated

"i think this is a great idea" so good luck with it and i sure wish you'd called me about the 2 really really horrible dealer service experiences i had last year"....i baited him....

"well we just started doing this last month. thank you for your help with the survey" and "goodbye" he closed....
"can you tell me the names of the 2 dealerships where your service experience wasn't good?" he took the bait....

so has any one else been surveyed?

FINALLY this is a step in the RIGHT direction by the factory regarding dealer service experience....

comments anyone?

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:35 PM   #2
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I think that this is a "baby step" in the right direction. I tink that they could do better than 5 surveys per dealer. Gosh, this is the computer age, they should be able to survey every instance of warranty work. After all, it's Airstream's reputation that is on the line. Airstream has very loyal customers; they should strive to keep them.
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:47 PM   #3
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The methodology is cosmetic at best. Prehaps some dealers will try alittle harder. Every purchase and service should end with a survey form with a postage paid envelope to AS. This is not rocket science. GMC tracks every sale, my local GMC dealer follows up every service job with a questionaire a week latter.
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Old 11-16-2006, 05:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Over59
The methodology is cosmetic at best. Prehaps some dealers will try alittle harder. Every purchase and service should end with a survey form with a postage paid envelope to AS. This is not rocket science. GMC tracks every sale, my local GMC dealer follows up every service job with a questionaire a week latter.
I agree they could do better...I suspect they have a bean counting statistician at the bottom of this BTW everytime I take my Ford to one dealer I never get any survey's but take my wife's 7 year newer truck and we always get one. The other dealer we always get a survey doesn't matter what vehicle you take there. BTW these surveys are usally phone with a follow up written one. The one time I had a major issue it was followed up with a call from the Service manager and a couple of coupons for free oil changes. I have sometimes wondered about the total corporate structure at Airstream...On one had they appear to be a real corporation on the other I have seen better run mom and pop businesses

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Old 11-16-2006, 05:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman

(i will omit my replys but here are the questions as asked...)

1. describe the dealership/service department appearance, was it clean? did they have a separate service area with bays indoors? was there a sales showroom too?

2. was the service writer friendly? did they address all your needs when writing up the work order?

3. did they schedule the service when you needed it done? how far out was your appointment made? did they keep your appointment or was it rescheduled on your arrival?

4. was the work done in a timely fashion? if they estimated the time, did the work take more or less time than the estimate? were there any delays?

5. was there a waiting area for you and your family? did they have a waiting area with chairs and coffee? were you able to stay at the dealership while the work was done or did you have to leave?

6. are you satisfied with the repairs? did they do all of the requested repairs or is there more to do at another visit? was there anything they could not do or didn't do?

7. are you unsatisfied with anything regarding the warranty service experience?

8. was this dealer your 'selling dealer' or did you go to a different dealer that where you purchased your trailer? if so why?

cheers
2air'
I'm glad they are doing something like that. It's a good idea, and a start in the right direction.

However, I'm puzzled as to why they'd ask questions such as #1, 5 & 8? Don't they already know this? If they don't, then they've got bigger problems that should have been addressed a long time back - say 75 years ago. -- Perhaps on question #8, the person might be a second owner that isn't tracked within Airsteam's database?

John
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Old 11-16-2006, 06:18 AM   #6
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When I worked for Land Rover, dealers could get up to $3000.00 from the company ( after the sale) based on their CSI ( customer satisfaction index). I think that it's a pretty common practice in the automotive industry.It was based mostly on a customer survey after sales and was also tied to the quality of service. That's a lot of money and it was very good incentive to keep the quality of the sale as well as the service as high as possible. This may be something that Airstream is either doing or thinking about doing. When you hit the dealers in their pocket book things will start to change.For Land Rover dealers this money alone could finance the building of their new showrooms.
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:06 AM   #7
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Let's see, probably several hundred dealerships at 5 samples per each, that's maybe a couple thousand samples. That would make a pretty picture for a snapshot. At 1/week collected, though, it is not a snapshot. The time factor would significantly dilute any conclusions that could be formed for corrective action, I think.

Interesting questions. Qualitative, subjective, several that should be measured by other means (Airstream should know the facilities before they sign on or renew a dealer), did not address the nature of the problem (e.g. quality issue or breakage), no apparent referent or standard,

Hey!, this sounds like WBCCI. Feel good effort, step in the right direction without a good definition of where that direction is supposed to lead, half hearted effort, no decent measures that can lead to any constructive learning - is there something about aluminum that is to blame for this?
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:37 AM   #8
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thanks for the reading and replies....

comments...

-i'll have to count (got the current dealer list at home) but way less than 200 dealers...150 or so...

last week may have been slow so only one call...

i get the impression they are just getting this survey process going...

they should know facilities BEFORE signing a dealer but shops change. i've been in 2 that were real rat holes....but were building (or planning) new shops.

also i suspect a/s gets random comments about facilities....good or bad.

they may be using the factory s/c as a benchmark. also some dealers have a formal campground style overnight area with full hook ups, while other just run an extension cord and hose out to the parking lot...

"On one had they appear to be a real corporation on the other I have seen better run mom and pop businesses "

wahoonc...these are my thoughts exactly. anyone spending time in j/c will learn this is really a pleasant small town and a small town company. i doubt they hired any survey experts or customer satisfaction folks to cook up the questions or methods...a few folks likely sat in some meetings and started this process....

i am glad they are doing this.

customer surveys/communication is ONE area where thor could bring its sizeable strength to help. all the rv divisions should be tracking customers and survice experience....

until recently i don't think a/s corp has realized or tried to influence dealer service networks.

they need to (perhaps they are) understand that EVERY service dept/dealer reflects on the company and name brand...

many of us have experienced dealers who won't provide warranty work because they didn't sell the trailer or shops that do shoddy work or use substitute parts, silicone on the exterior and so on....

so i think some of the questions reflect feedback they've been getting from customers, on issues like dealer of origin, time for appts, rescheduled service and so on...

here is what's funny about the call to me...

--i was still at the dealership, having the work done; it took two days as expected.

--the surveyer told me that most people aren't home when he calls, so they call back to complete the survey

--they still don't have a toll free number. so customers must call back on their own nickle...

--i suggested 2 him that this means only those really happy or sad may return the call. "we don't have a toll free # anymore" was his comment...

--also suggested they add mailers and ONLINE followups for this process...
"good ideas" he replied, we hadn't thought of that!

golly gee whiz i love small town folks!

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craftsman
When I worked for Land Rover, dealers could get up to $3000.00 from the company ( after the sale) based on their CSI ( customer satisfaction index). I think that it's a pretty common practice in the automotive industry.It was based mostly on a customer survey after sales and was also tied to the quality of service. That's a lot of money and it was very good incentive to keep the quality of the sale as well as the service as high as possible. This may be something that Airstream is either doing or thinking about doing. When you hit the dealers in their pocket book things will start to change.For Land Rover dealers this money alone could finance the building of their new showrooms.
I worked for Ford, and later for Fiat, and that exits throughout the auto, ag, and construction industry in one way or the other. Now if it were only implemented in the RV industry, that's decades behind the times in many respects (except for the cost of a new RV...)...

Not only is there a financial incentive given to the dealer for customer satisfaction (ever get a letter from you auto dealership telling you to let them know if you are unhappy in ANY way with their service so they can make it right for you BEFORE you answer any survey from the parent company?) but there are also other incentives given to the dealer - things like extra discounts on parts or wholegoods, that are based on the completeness of such things as the dealerships continued training of his service technicians, whether the dealer owns and maintains certain tools needed to make repairs, the completeness and cleanliness of the dealership facilities., and on and on.

The only way the RV industry will catch up is for us, the customers, to demand it. It is surveys like this that are but one step in a many step process that will get us there. However, as a group we've got to change our attitude from that of expecting to have some quality and service problems with our new RV's (how many times have we heard that everybody expects to have some problems) to that of expecting to buy a new RV that has no quality problems.

John
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Old 11-16-2006, 12:25 PM   #10
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whoops, looked like I stepped in it, again ;-) Sorry 'bout that. - picking nits on numbers when I suggest things relating to orders of magnitude is what tells me so.

For those interested in this sort of thing, see RV News On Line - The Voice of the RV Industry

This isn't rocket science. It's not bleeding edge, either. It's basic business.

As another example, take a gander at the title of the Airstream employee who has a new column in the BB starting this month. That title normally goes to a geek and geeks don't normally right general PR type columns for newsletters. (the November BB has a lot of fodder for incompetence arguments in many departments IMHO, but that's for another place).

As for dealers, we've (our Unit) been discussing our new arrival - Mountain Family RV in Reno. Brand new, several Unit members bought from them, service and support have been good fodder for campfire discussions. Some good, some notso ... and we talk to the owner, too. Takes work, patience, and hope that progress will be made over time.
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Old 11-16-2006, 01:41 PM   #11
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hey bryan, i don't think ya stepped in anything...

we agree the sample size is small but still useful given the nature of the survey.

just did a talley and as of aug/2006 there are 82 dealers and authorized service centers in the airtream universe....

so even doing 10 per is less than 1000 customers...

5 per would be only 400 surveys...that IS an order of magnatude too few, imo...

but it is a starting place and i'm happy they have started contacting customers about service experiences...

i point out the actual dealer count because so many think the network is larger than it really is...

i hope that new dealer in reno works out well...reno is on my travel list for the coming year...

cheers
2air'
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Old 11-16-2006, 08:34 PM   #12
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I'm glad they're doing it too. Perhaps they got the idea from the dealer where I bought my AS. Every time I took the trailer back for warranty service, I got a phone call approximately one week later, from a survey service contracted by the dealership, asking similar questions about quality of the work, customer satisfaction, timeliness, courtesy, facilities, etc. The last question was... "Is there anything you would like to add?".
Well, of course there is...
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:32 AM   #13
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Here is my take (.02) from talking to my a local airstream dealer who quit selling Airstreams this year. History, this dealer has been selling Rv's for over 40 years with a good local reputation. He says Airstream is about to go through a big change in management. Maybe the surverys is a start of the changes. I am not sure why He quit selling airstreams but it was not because of lack of volumn. He was a cash dealer and is very independent. He sold Airstreams at HIS price. He is small but had a large volume. By the way...I tried to figure out how many airstream dealers there are in the US....Less than 100. Airstream built approx 1200 trailers last year. Low volume...???
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