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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Frustrations Of An Avid RV'er

Almost Done With The Snow!
    I'd like to think the information I've been presenting here is useful to at least 1 or 2 folks out there. In my quest to find the latest and greatest, or at least the more interesting than not, I have to do a lot of research and contact various manufacturers and vendors of all sorts of things.

You'd think they would jump at the chance to make friends with a new customer that's already interested in their product or at least want to extol the virtues of the stuff they make or sell.....

You'd be wrong.


Factory Work
Seems that I get mostly blase' and nonchalant treatment from them. That's if I ever get a call back at all. At first I am just a simple consumer looking for information, then on subsequent calls I morph into a writer looking for answers for his readers. I mean, they should treat everyone with respect and  enthusiasm. They don't. Sad really. I'm reasonably sure this isn't just the RV industry. No one seems to like what they do anymore. No pride in the workplace. I LOVE what I do... I enjoy coming up with interesting things to talk about and tinker with, most times using the same products and services I talk about here. I am NOT looking for free stuff. In fact I pay for things regularly. It lets me be unbiased. Believe me, I could write tons of articles about stuff I hated or broke or some other reason it didn't do what the marketing said it would. I like to say nice things about people.

I heard a wonderful saying recently,

"If you love what you do, you'll never spend a day at work."  Pure genius.

The TV
Yes, I'll admit it was on a TV commercial, But the sentiment is very true. There was a time in this country that workers had pride in what they did. The things they manufactured had more than the hourly wage value for them. The United States could say it made the best consumer and commercial products in the world. Not everything, mind you, but most things. Made in America had a cachet, a guarantee of quality and customer
service that seems to have evaporated over the years. I am NOT saying every company is like this. Indeed, some RV companies are a pleasure to deal with. I purchase a whole lot of merchandise in any given year and the companies that get my hard earned dollars are the ones who treat their customers with respect AND make a worthwhile product.

It's quite easy to make friends with your customers. Does it take any extra time to be pleasant on the phone or to be sincere? Especially when you say, "I'm sorry you were on hold for an hour." Not really. Yet another old saying goes, "You can attract more flies with honey than vinegar." I have no idea how that one started, but it's true. Being sweet will always win out over rudeness and a prickly attitude.

I know times are rough. The economy isn't what it was. People are hurting all over. All the more reason to treat everyone fairly. The best advertising a company can receive is an unsolicited compliment from a customer. You can't really BUY that kind of honest opinion. (Well the more pessimistic folks will say even THAT is on sale!) Either way, in a world of "in your face" marketing tactics, the lowly word of mouth is still king. Enough people like your stuff and use it successfully, the more you will sell.

Simple really.

Tell me what YOU think!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com



12 comments:

  1. You're so right in many ways. We seem to remember disinterested companies and tell others of their poor products or treatment. I've grown tired of giving bad companies 'free' publicity. So now I tell my friends only about the companies that are worth talking about. I read your stuff all the time. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Manfred of the Desert,
      It's sad that it isn't isolated to one segment of the market (or world) it seems to be a trend these days. When I find a product and/or company that goes "that extra mile" I really get excited. Maybe it's because it's so rare?

      Thanks for reading!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

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    2. Hi Rich,

      First of all, I also read all your posts and really appreciate the information.

      You are right, this is not just the RV industry. People don't enjoy their jobs anymore. I think it's probably a combination of stress from the economy (and how it affects them), concern over their future that they can no longer see clearly, and, unfortunately, a general malaise that goes beyone the borders of the US. As we see the numbers that show the rich are getting richer while the rest of us are hanging on...or slipping off...people start to wonder if the extra effort is worth it.

      I'm a high school teacher who was just informed that next year I will only be working (and paid for) a half-day. Since I'm considering retirement, I'm still undecided about what I'll do next year. But the younger workers who see me cut back (and 6 other teachers laid off), wonder if all their hard work is worth it.

      With apologies to Mr. Rogers, it's not a good day in the neighborhood...

      Wayne

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    3. Wayne,
      I had the feeling this has been a growing problem since our manufacturing base was cut back so dramatically 20+ years ago. The "let the next guy worry about it" attitude simply doesn't work and the next generations are getting the short end of the stick.

      I hope your situation improves and everything works out for the best. You could always retire and RV more :)

      Thanks!!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

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  2. When my husband and I were on active duty, if we received poor service or were treated unfairly (he is a Vietnam Vet and I am Vietnam Era Vet and it still affected us in the '80's.) it would take less than 30 days for that place to close. Word of mouth from one GI to another, one wife to another was all it took. The commander or post didn't have to put it on the do not frequent list.

    With RVer's and the internet, that is all it would take with some of these companies. It is like when you buy something from e-bay, after you receive the merchandise you fill out a survey. If they receive too many complaints about a vendow, they get kicked off the e-bay list. We worked hard for our money and want the best we can afford.

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    Replies
    1. Anon,
      I wish there was a reliable way to let the vendors and manufacturers know they aren't making any friends. There are websites that do have the information about them, they just don;t seem to take it seriously.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

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  3. With products manufactured offshore, workers often are not familiar with the mechanics of what they sell. Or the actual manufacturers don't want to bother talking to the end user where they would get valuable design feedback. In fact I believe many manufacturers don't even use their own products! How else could a major RV toilet manufacturer design the bowl with that too horizontal area toward the rear that requires an external sprayer to move things along?

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    Replies
    1. Anon,
      Absolutely! Customer service should have a working knowledge of the products they serve. or at least have a method to find out the information for you.

      Often, it's simply the cheapest path that creates the most profit. Usable products come second.

      Again, sad.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

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  4. The idea of work needs to be reinforced. I too am a teacher and see that today's focus is leisure and recreation. As an avid rver myself, I truly enjoy my time off and out in the wilderness. However, it takes work to receive the R&R, it doesn't come free, even if you work for yourself.

    Work ethic is a mindset, and I think we ourselves are responsible for bringing it back by letting people know that work is a good thing. Look forward to Monday as a new beginning, not a drudgery. Friday for me says it's an end and maybe one where I didn't accomplish all that I wanted during the week.

    I have no problem reminding those that provide me service of some kind, be it a convenience store, repair shop, etc., I deserve a smile, a friendly hello instead of nod of the head. To get there, you just need to start doing it.

    Have you ever noticed how recent immigrants to a new country face customers? They do it with a glimmer in their eye, the desire to please people knowing that attitude will pay off. The real go-getter.

    It isn't cool anymore to be nice to people anymore. The gangster look and the bad attitude is in. We can change that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. living.boondockingmexico,
      Incredibly well said! Success begins with an attitude. It really doesn't take any longer to be pleasant.

      Complacency is a real problem.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

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  5. It's as though our country's pride was thrown out with the "Made in the U.S.A." label. Part of the problem may be that people are just barely scraping by but, that's only a part of it. I think the larger issue is that we're failing to teach our kids the value of work. Parents (not teachers) have to do this.

    I developed my work ethic through my family's business. Something a customer told me on my first "paid" job has stayed with me. Part of the job was to make small talk while customers waited on their food.

    A couple pulled up in a big RV and I commented that they were driving my dream home. The gentleman told me that it took two things to be able to travel. One is time, and the other money. Then he looked at me and said "The only way to make enough money for an RV is to earn it."

    You could tell that he was trying to convey a message and wasn't being difficult. It hit home. The message is with me even 30 years later. Of course, I don't have much time or money but, I do have a great used travel trailer. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gayle,
      What a wonderful story. My own RV is a 1991, but it gives me the freedom to "decompress" at a moments notice. This freedom can't have a price tag attached to it. Sure, it's nice to have unlimited free time and a bottomless pit of funds to draw from, but one can be happy with a lot less.

      I've been on both sides of the fence, believe me...lots of money usually comes with lots of angst. Just enough...now that's another thing entirely!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

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