RV PRO

February '21

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78 • RV PRO • February 2021 rv-pro.com • What percentage of the internet inquiries for parts and acces- sories have been filled? Of these, what percentage were filled from stock? • Do you offer a wish list option for your customers? These wish lists are similar to bridal registries that customers provide to their family and friends for guides when deciding to purchase gifts for special occasions. And, since we are speaking about your customers, what are the … Customer Expectations? How do you know what your customers expect in 2021 with respect to parts and accessories? Some things to think about could include: • Given that many people seem to be more cautious with regard to sanitary conditions, does your parts manager plan to increase his levels of those goods and equipment that relate to cleaning and sanitizing an RV? • Educating your customers with the supply chain conditions as they currently exist and providing updates as these conditions change. This could be done via email blasts, your company web- site, and/or signage in your facility. Most people appreciate being informed about situations that directly impact them. Consider the situation where a plane is delayed from taking off. If the pilot informs the passengers as to the reason for the delay, most pas- sengers are more relaxed. • Having your RV sales team determining the usage pattern for each customer at time of purchase and offering to schedule routine maintenance visits in advance based on the usage pattern. This could assist your parts and service managers with scheduling the goods and labor needed, which could enhance the opportunity to have that maintenance service performed – when the customer wants it. Customer Changes? The information that I have gleaned from columns in RV PRO and from conversations with some of my RVing neighbors is that many customers in 2020 were first-timers. Who are these first-timers? What are their needs? How have you changed your parts and accessories offerings to meet their needs? For instance, have your parts associates created checklists of goods and materials that could assist these first-timers in having pos- itive, fun RVing experiences? These checklists could be headed as: Must Haves, which could contain sub-headings such as sanitary, convenience, storage, etc. Popular Accessories, which could be aligned with the particular type of RV and which many other customers have purchased for that type of RV. (These might be turned into wish lists for future purchases.) Given that your associates are the face of your business, what about any possible … Employee Changes? What changes have you made to the days and hours of oper- ation? What modifications have you made to the days/hours for which you have scheduled your employees? For example: If you operate your RV business on a six-day week with the hours starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m. for the service and parts departments, have you considered offering three, 12-hour days for the personnel working in those two departments? (Yes, they are long days, but those associates only need to make the drive to work three times per week instead of five or six.) Also, these shifts might assist some of your personnel with school-age children to oversee the remote schooling during this pandemic. Of course, COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and dis- tribution has begun, yet most medical professionals familiar with the situation predict that it will be mid to late 2021 before many in the population receive those vaccines. So, the precautions to mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus might remain in place for most of 2021. For some of you, it might be difficult to recruit, hire and retain talented personnel. Offering benefits such as flexible hours could be the added enticement for your employees and prospective employees. Changes – Temporary or Permanent? Some of the changes you have made, or will be making as a result of this global pandemic, might be temporary. However, some could become permanent depending on legal mandates, or based on improvements you have noticed to your RV business operations as a result of implementing these changes. Perhaps you could schedule a staff meeting with all personnel required to attend. The purpose of this meeting would be to review operational changes that have been implemented and to decide which should be retained. You might also include a brainstorming session to identify other operational changes that might benefit your customers, your employees, and your bottom line. The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus stated: "The only constant in life is change." Your challenge is to be willing to do so as the conditions require. Training your parts associates to record all demand for parts and accessories can help the parts manager determine if any of these items need to be stocked, or stocked at greater levels.

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