For the 16th consecutive year, the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) will ask dealers to express their level of satisfaction with their manufacturers and/or specific brands, confidentially, through the association’s Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey.
RVDA’s Industry Relations Committee made major changes to the DSI survey in 2007 to make it more useful for dealers communicating with manufacturers. Dealers and manufacturers agree the changes put in place then are extremely helpful in pinpointing strengths and weaknesses, so the 16th Annual DSI follows the same format with minor tweaks put in place in 2008 to make it better, according to a news release.
The DSI is not a scientific study, but measures dealers’ attitudes about their manufacturers’ performance in eight key areas identified by RVDA’s Industry Relations Committee. The key areas include:
- Sales support
- Sales territory
- Vehicle design
- Vehicle reliability/quality
- Competitive price/value
- Parts support
- Dealership warranty support
- Overall dealer communications
One of the changes in 2008 involved asking dealers to pick which of the eight key areas listed above is the most important factor that helps their dealership sell RVs. They also were asked to pick the second- and third-most important factors.
Last year, dealers picked competitive price/value, vehicle reliability/quality, and vehicle design as the three most important factors in helping them sell RVs. Using 2008 as the baseline, the results of this year’s DSI will help determine whether dealer attitudes change over time as to the most important factors in helping them sell RVs.
Dealers also rate the brands they carry based upon their performance in the eight key areas listed above. The ratings are on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 equaling outstanding and 1 equaling poor. Brands rated by at least 15 dealers, and receiving scores on the eight criteria that average 4 or above, will receive the RVDA Quality Circle Award.
Because the way in which manufacturers and brands are rated has not changed since 2007, dealers and manufacturers now can see whether a particular manufacturer or brand is trending up or down, in terms of its performance in the eight key areas.
Last year, 13 towable RV brands built by four manufacturers and four motorhome brands built by three manufacturers received Quality Circle Awards. Four hundred sixty-eight dealers responded to the DSI survey in 2008, for 2,547 brand ratings, an average of almost 5 1/2 per dealer.