Customer service - the art of survival.

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Jim

Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
998
Location
North Carolina
RV Year
2009
RV Make
Tiffin
RV Model
Phaeton QTH
RV Length
40
TOW/TOAD
2016 Jeep Rubicon Hard Rock
I watched one of our members dealing with defective steps on a very expensive coach, which ended with the manufacture deciding they wouldn't repair it because the coach was (slightly) out of warranty. In my opinion, that was a fatal error, one that will be realized sometime in the future when this current RV mania starts to wind down. But for now, it was a few hundred dollars that they didn't have to shuck out. Somebody at Newmar made that decision. Someone that, in my opinion, is being paid way too much.

I read that thread about the steps, and I wondered how many sales they will lose because of it. I may (or may not) be a future Newmar buyer, but I can tell you when I see a missed opportunity, and this was most certainly one of those times. What I will remember forever was that Newmar didn't consider this consumer valuable enough to protect with the investment of a few hundred dollars for repaired steps. Mind you, these are steps with a known high-failure history. That's what stuck in my mind and will always be there whenever the Newmar brand is mentioned.

On the other hand, Chewy has been mentioned several times on this forum, and in every thread I am left with a feeling of admiration of the company. People, who for whatever reason, found themselves with unneeded Chewy products, were issued refunds and told to donate the food to the charity of their choice. Such a simple and mutually rewarding thing for them to do. And unlike in Newmar's decision to ignore its customers, I will always speak highly of Chewy and refer their product and customer service to everyone.

So how big a mistake did Newmar make? IMO, those steps Newmar declined to repair will cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in future sales. And those products that Chewy donated to charity will make them many hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future.

Just my .02
 
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Joined
Jul 29, 2020
Messages
560
Location
AZ
RV Year
1983
RV Make
Alpinelite
RV Length
26'
TOW/TOAD
2016 Ram 1500
Fulltimer
Yes
@Jim Your $.02 is much more valuable than that. I can only hope that the manufactures CEOs have found this site.
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
977
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2020 Ford F-150
Sounds familiar. My own experience hasn’t been much different, which is why we are on our way to a dealership right at this moment to begin a new journey.

I never expected to feel this way about Newmar given everything I’d read about the company in the 18-months of nightly forum reading and posting leading up to my purchase and delivery. Alas, just before my FPU date Newmar sold to Winnie and we all collectively wondered what that meant for the Newmar experience. My gut tells me we are starting to find out. I think that Winnie is looking at Newmar’s warranty expenses and getting tougher about it.

At the time of my purchase, I expected to be upgrading to a DSDP or LADP within 5-7 years, yet here I am going to look at 5ers because I’ve come to understand that they won’t be looking out for me and that’s fine. I’m just going to take my business elsewhere and not pay the premium for a product that the manufacturer doesn’t stand behind. With the next purchase my expectation from the manufacturer will be zero and I’ll be okay with that, because I won’t be paying for those unrealistic expectations. I’ll still try to get what I can out of whomever I go with though, just won’t be upset when they tell me to take a hike
 
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Joined
Jul 29, 2020
Messages
560
Location
AZ
RV Year
1983
RV Make
Alpinelite
RV Length
26'
TOW/TOAD
2016 Ram 1500
Fulltimer
Yes
Sounds familiar. My own experience hasn’t been much different, which is why we are on our way to a dealership right at this moment to begin a new journey.

I never expected to feel this way about Newmar given everything I’d read about the company in the 18-months of nightly forum reading and posting leading up to my purchase and delivery. Alas, just before my FPU date Newmar sold to Winnie and we all collectively wondered what that meant for the Newmar experience. My gut tells me we are starting to find out. I think that Winnie is looking at Newmar’s warranty expenses and getting tougher about it.

At the time of my purchase, I expected to be upgrading to a DSDP or LADP within 5-7 years, yet here I am going to look at 5ers because I’ve come to understand that they won’t be looking out for me and that’s fine. I’m just going to take my business elsewhere and not pay the premium for a product that the manufacturer doesn’t stand behind. With the next purchase my expectation from the manufacturer will be zero and I’ll be okay with that, because I won’t be paying for those unrealistic expectations. I’ll still try to get what I can out of whomever I go with though.
@MapNerd
I hope that you send this to the CEO for them to mull over as they go forward. Your input to this forum about this has likely killed many future sales for the coach.

It is important to note that fit and function on a trailer need be different than on a coach. If you have seen a load of trailer frames go down the road you can see the flexing. This is not the same on a truck frame as it is much more ridged. RVs I have been told are built to withstand a earthquake of 6 on the scale because it needs to withstand that when on the road. To keep the twist down to a minimum your hitch should swivel in all directions

I buy old because I know how hard it is to get good help. I would say these days, but I think it has always been that way. The owner of a company just has to settle in an up market and weed in a down market. Just the way it is. I can't blame anyone but myself if I leave a sharp corner or splinter a piece of wood and continue to use it,while making a cabinet. I know my mistakes and look at them daily even with the measures I use to cover them up. But like you, I don't have to look at the price and wonder what I was doing when I purchased it.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
732
Location
Orinda, CA
TOW/TOAD
2015 Jeep Trailhawk
Fulltimer
No
@MapNerd i think you are right as when you go from a family owned business and you become a subsidiary of a holding company, there are target numbers you have to deliver to stay in the good graces of the holding company leadership.
All the goodwill and doing what is right cost money where someone has to make the decision where do we draw the line of taking care of our customers. Sadly it’s the American way of corporate America and in the end Wall Street and investors decide what you really worth.
Keep in mind, the holding company compensation plans for the anointed ones at the top is typically some arrangement of stock or options or both. Their own net worths are driven by their decisions so they can ride off into the sunset with usually millions of dollars.
Way at the bottom of this long food chain are us the paying customers who spend our hard earned money to buy these RV’s that cost more than a home in some parts of the United States.
We deserve better but I highly doubt we will ever get better service or quality because why? People keep lining up at door ready to take the place of the owner getting rid of his RV because of the sheer frustration of ownership and getting what they rightly deserve. A quality product that manufacturers will stand behind regardless of any issue especially under warranty. This is truly one of the most interesting industries to observe as poor quality and or service runs rampant. YouTube is overrun with people and their stories or you meet someone who has a story to tell.
Sadly there’s a limit and it’s driven by personal wealth attainment in the end. @Jim you mention Chewy and if you watch, at some point they will be forced to change their operating model because someone(s) is sitting there up above saying make more money for me first.

Here is an interesting read and you can’t deny what you read or have heard in this article.

 
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Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
2,567
Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Mountain Aire 4047
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2014 Honda CR-V
I think Newmar still builds a good coach, but...sadly...I'm beginning to embrace some ot the thoughts expressed in this thread. I suspect that the "defective steps" issue mentioned may be mine, though others have had similar problems.

Since we bought our first Newmar in 2015, we have been fiercely loyal to the brand. We had a great experience with our 2014 Ventana LE and Newmar stepped up on the few issues we had (even after it was more than "slightly" out of warranty). When we decided to upgrade, we looked no farther than Newmar and ordered the Mountain Aire. We picked it up not too long before the sale of Newmar to Winnebago was announced.

As a coach, it, too, has been relatively free of problems, but the ones we've had have been challenges to get fixed. And, this has occurred primarily on Winnie's watch. I can't say for sure that things would have been different if the Miller family still owned Newmar, but "if it walks like a duck, flys like a duck and quacks like a duck, it most likely is a duck!"

We are probably on our last motorhome, so it won't make much difference to Newmar's bottom line, but should we decide to buy another coach, it will be a toss-up whether we would go with Newmar again. If I have to be responsible for fixing the problems anyway, it would open up a whole new universe.

TJ
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
977
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2020 Ford F-150
I hope that you send this to the CEO for them to mull over as they go forward. Your input to this forum about this has likely killed many future sales for the coach.
I would if i knew his email. I trust that they monitor this forum as I have pointed it out to them on multiple occasions ans would assume others have as well.

I would imagine that many of my previous posts likely helped to make sales as well as I was an ardent defender of the brand for probably the first half of the of my ownership even as I experienced problems and resistance to getting them fixed. Then I grew quiet and at this point I just decided to share my own experience.

Like @TJ&LadyDi I still believe that Newmar builds one of the highest quality coaches one can buy for a reasonable amount of money and with any RV one should expect issues, Newmar being no exception. But I bought a Newmar and paid the premium of a Newmar justifying it as paying for peace of mind.

I have no hard feelings about it at all though in reading my posts, you may read it with a different tone than I intend. The people at Newmar are fine people. I just think with the sale to Winnie, I’m discovering what has changed and I think most likely, the folks at CS would do what they know in their heart is the right thing to do in every situation but too often, find their hands tied.
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
327
Location
Fredericksburg, VA
RV Year
2005
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
KSDP 3910
RV Length
39
In my most humble opinion, the sale to WGO has had less impact than Mahlon stepping down, at least thus far. Those intra-family handoffs don't always go well. I have heard that Bob Tiffin has handed over and taken back Tiffin twice now.
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
497
RV Year
2019
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Dutchstar 4369
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2013 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Crewcab / 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
I have heard of these issues with Newmar for years. My personal experience has been the opposite. Earlier this month I went in for service. The primary reason was the Girard awning repair. This was considered warranty from the beginning, no questions asked.

While there I asked for several additional items, fully expecting to pay.

* front driver mcd power shade was not rolling up properly, and was made worse by my attempt to repair.

* wanted upgrade to the pressure switch sensor. I was reasonably happy with the updated KIB strips, but after seeing @ARD post regarding the new design, I could tell instantly this was a far more reliable design.

*asked for privacy valence to be secured better.

I left coach with Newmar and went to my daughters house for a few days. I returned Thursday to pick up coach and tech went over all repairs with me. They replaced the mcd power shade, replaced both black and grey tank sensors, and fixed awning.

I was the first retrofit of the grey tank sensor.

The tech forgot my request about privacy valence, and that was to be expected since I verbally requested at drop off.

All other items where performed as goodwill.

No charge.

I cannot explain the lack of consistency. I expected to pay for all but the awning.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2020
Messages
560
Location
AZ
RV Year
1983
RV Make
Alpinelite
RV Length
26'
TOW/TOAD
2016 Ram 1500
Fulltimer
Yes
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
732
Location
Orinda, CA
TOW/TOAD
2015 Jeep Trailhawk
Fulltimer
No
I would if i knew his email. I trust that they monitor this forum as I have pointed it out to them on multiple occasions ans would assume others have as well.
@MapNerd fwiw a few years back I was having a lot of issues with a previous Newmar coach and I sent a letter fed ex to Matt Miller. surprisingly, I did get a phone call from some people at Newmar and the issue did get resolved. I can’t guarantee it will work but may be worth a shot.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
2,567
Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Mountain Aire 4047
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2014 Honda CR-V
In my most humble opinion, the sale to WGO has had less impact than Mahlon stepping down, at least thus far. Those intra-family handoffs don't always go well. I have heard that Bob Tiffin has handed over and taken back Tiffin twice now.
Mahlon was certainly quality-focused, both on the product side and the customer service side. A very dynamic and interesting guy to be sure. And, interestingly enough, even after he "retired," he has been a "presence" at Newmar. I don't know if that continues under the new ownership, but I doubt it.

When we were in Nappanee in July 2019, an older gentleman walked up while I was in the service bay building talking with the crew leader working on my coach. He didn't say anything; just waited on the periphery. When the crew leader and I had finished our conversation, Mahlon approached and asked if I was being well taken care of. He didn't give his name; just asked about my experience. We chatted for a few minutes before I realized that this gentleman (in the true sense of the word) was Mahlon. He was just "out walking the shop" and taking the pulse of what was going on.

I am sensing that this kind of personal touch is fading at Newmar. Matt Miller is not much of a "people person" in my assessment and keeps himself isolated from customers. That wasn't Mahlon's style. He was "hands-on" In every respect; knowing his product and how it worked, and knowing (and caring about) his customers. "Times, they are a-changin'."

TJ
 
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
499
I am not sure what governs the individual response outside of sheer profit driven from above. Perhaps how the customer approaches the situation, perhaps who responds from the company.

My previous coach was a Forest River. Nothing like Newmar in quality of build. However, the coach had numerous issue, and several severe issues which weren't confirmed unti9l long after the warranty was out. When I addressed these issues with customer service, it was agreed that the roof needed replacing for two different reasons. I made the suggestion calmly, that the easiest thing to do would be to return it to the factory to have everything done at once, 24 issues. Btw, they did a wonderful job of correcting all of the issues free of cahrge, which involved repainting the coach. I will never forget their commitment to making things right. When I sold the coach, it was as close to perfect as one could get.

Now the person in charge of CS at the time went on to head up another division of the company, where he became famous, for his regular participation in the owner forums, and his quick response to customer issues, even to the point of having things re-engineered in accordance with customer input. Unfortunately, I cannot afford the line that he represented, but would have put that on my top list next to Newmar if I could, just because I( knew I had the backing of upper management.

On the other hand I have heard of other customers who have had horror stories to tell of their experiences with the same company. So, who knows.

The FR coach in the same price range as the Newmar I purchased I did not consider to be as high quality. I don't know if I will ever be able to buy another coach or not but I will be watching both companies closely. That gentleman now has oversight of quality of all of the MH lines. Watch out Newmar the may move up to be stiff competition. The new ones are much improved in terms of looks. For fun I may go examen one at a dealership to see if there has been any improvement in workmanship.

Don't get me wrong Newmar has done a stellar job with me, but I am still under warranty. Time will tell.

Btw, my shock bushings were shot when I bought th other brand new coach. Not knowing much about these things, I did not do anything immediately. When I called Ford on this issue, I was told I was one day out of warranty. I would have to pay for new shocks. Really? Yes the warranty starts when the MH company purchases the chassis from Ford, not when the customer purchases the finished MH. Buyer beware!

Folks in the high offices don't seem to take into account the long term ramifications of how they treat a given customer, for good or bad. Usually, one with a bad experience will tell 20 people where one with a good experience may tell 5-10. But, with the internet the bad experience, usually published 5:1 over the good, goes out to thousands of people. How many dollars in sales lost????

Example, I had such a bad experience at one campground, that I published the horrible review on every campground review site I could find. It has probably been read by thousands of people. The end!
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
977
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2020 Ford F-150
I cannot explain the lack of consistency. I expected to pay for all but the awning.
This is probably the most frustrating thing of all. Newmar has never offered to do anything for me in good faith without me first raising hell when they try to object, and they’ve certainly never done anything for free that they didn’t have to.

Troubleshooting my wetbay, I had to remove my panel and pegboard, broke my faucet when I accidentally stepped on it and cracked my pegboard. Emailed them this morning asking them to add all of that to my workorder - I fully expect to be asked to pay for it because I just do not get that kind of preferential treatment that you get. Hopefully, that boroscope I ordered from Amazon will arrive in the next few days and allow me to prove that there is a little plastic disc in the tank - because it still drains slowly. No longer a trickle but half the volume it should drain at.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
3,887
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
I believe the goodwill differences at Newmar are when working with tech's/group leaders directly vs. the phone folks. Sometimes it pays to just wait until you get there and discuss some issues with your assigned tech and bigger issues that require days being blocked out for your service coordinated with the scheduler/service advisor.

Remember you gray tank is opaque, you'll need a lighted setup I presume.
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
977
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2020 Ford F-150
I believe the goodwill differences at Newmar are when working with tech's/group leaders directly vs. the phone folks. Sometimes it pays to just wait until you get there and discuss some issues with your assigned tech and bigger issues that require days being blocked out for your service coordinated with the scheduler/service advisor.
I recall the forum sentiment about my diamond shield tear at the front bumper being similar to what you are saying. During my service visit when I pointed it out the response was “Sure, we’ll get the diamond shield guy over here to take a look at it for you and see what it’ll cost to replace. Lucky that it’s just that small piece on the bumper you’ll need to replace.”

“...Diamond shield guy says it’s gonna be $400. We’d recommend you not do it. It’s probably just better to let it get torn up a bit more before you spend that”

This happened right in front of my tech, with his group leader standing next to him. It wasn’t on my work order to address, I pointed it out in passing taking the approach you prescribe, not asking for anything and just saying it was something that bothers me a bit, hoping they would just offer to take care of it.

HA! Wishful thinking.Thanks Newmar. Way to step up...again.

Remember you gray tank is opaque, you'll need a lighted setup I presume.
I did order a lighted, IP67 waterproof boroscope.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
977
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2020 Ford F-150
Also, got the response back for the wetbay and pegboard.

“We’ll send you a quote. Please sign and return if you agree to the charges.”

Who the heck are you all bribing?
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
3,887
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Sorry to hear of your experiences and maybe that's the way it is now. In my 3 years I've experienced nothing but great customer service from Newmar. Some things I expected to pay for, and were expensive (cough new rear left basement door when the pedestal lurched out of the ground and hit me). All of the tech's far exceeded my expectations doing everything I had listed without hesitation and were very friendly greeting me (and my dog) each time I returned. They are replacing my upholstery which is great, sad it has to happen and I have to make a trip up, but so be it. I have two things for them to fix, one my fault, one theirs, both of which I signed estimates for, all good here, no complaints.

It doesn't change anything for you, it's unfortunate. I know others have had their share of issues as well, I recall the 2016 Dutch Star front axle saga which was before my time but apparently was a huge fight to get resolved. The 2016 FWS issues they stepped up for from what I've heard.

Hoping for better times for you ahead whether with your Newmar or rvNext.
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
436
Location
Florida
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
CanyonStar
RV Length
39' 11"
TOW/TOAD
Demco KarKaddy 460SS and VW Passat
Fulltimer
No
While our Newmar CanyonStar is much less complicated than a DP, we have had excellent service from Newmar. Typically we have had all annual service done at the Newmar Service Center. We have found that if you stay to factory installed items and routine maintenance, the Newmar work is the best you will find and at a reasonable price.
The only issues that we have had with their work is when we ask for something custom or non factory. Newmar has always stood behind their work and corrected any deficiency.
Some parts have failed outside of warranty and the various manufacturers have either stepped up with replacement parts or not. This is not Newmar's issue.
Recently I contacted the folding door MFG as the door panels have begun to separate. The MFG FEDEX a new door, no charge, to me even though the part is out of warranty.
Newmar will install at next visit for the standard labor rate. No issue there.
Much of the current turmoil at Newmar is due to the ever changing landscape due to state government Virus restrictions and new ownership. This is IMO temporary.
We were at Newmar Service Center during the transition to new management. During this visit the state government began issuing virus restrictions. It was chaos everywhere.
New corporate policy announcements from Winn for Newmar where issued hourly. The policies, like much of the actions in the Country, where unnecessarily broad brush and made no sense when you tried to implement them. The clash in cultures between Win and Newmar was very obvious.
Having spent 40+yrs in a Corporate environment with many acquisitions, this is more typical than you might think. Until the corporate policies are vetted, discussed/agreed upon at the local level and then integrated into the plan, issues will remain.
The transition from a private company to a public company is very difficult. Then add a layer of disparate philosophy in business practises during an acquisition, very different cultures, it becomes a very confused work environment. Consequently the contacts with Newmar personnel through phone and email may become difficult.
As we move through the scheduling of this year's visit in March, Newmar has been very professional and responded as quickly as I expected. Having been on the other end of the phones calls for many years, I may have more empathy for the Newmar staff then many other customers might have.
Remember the posts you see are only a small fraction of Newmar owners. If nothing is going wrong, those owners will never post or even review a forum.
Are problems annoying, you bet. These are complicated machines, a compilation of parts from many different companies with various problems of their own.
Enjoy the ride.

My $0.02.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2020
Messages
560
Location
AZ
RV Year
1983
RV Make
Alpinelite
RV Length
26'
TOW/TOAD
2016 Ram 1500
Fulltimer
Yes
Remember the posts you see are only a small fraction of Newmar owners. If nothing is going wrong, those owners will never post or even review a forum.
Are problems annoying, you bet. These are complicated machines, a compilation of parts from many different companies with various problems of their own.
Enjoy the ride.
@JoeHogan has a great post. It is however a problem when someone has had many unresolved problems already and has lost faith in a company. The add put out is the nightmare of the company and they should remember this. @MapNerd has stayed quiet for a long time and only upon giving up on Newmar did he start being vocal. One must also be aware that only a handful of complainers are legit with their complaints. Others You can tell because they don't have a good history with their tongs. In my view @MapNerd 's history spells credibility and this is a bad thing for Newmar.

I can only belive that Western RV would still be around, had this same thing not taken place with acquisition by a holding company years ago.
 
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