In the 14 months since Lippert Components Inc. acquired Camping Connection, the mobile RV repair business has experienced steady growth – more than doubling the number of technicians on staff – and officials look to expand even further.
With locations in Kissimmee, Fla., and Myrtle Beach, S.C., Camping Connection now has 17 mobile technicians with several other trainees in development, reported April Klein-Carroll, LCI vice president of customer support services who oversees Camping Connection.
“Some of the highlights in the past year include upgraded systems, new service vans and tools,” Klein-Carroll said, noting the company is working with local vocational schools to recruit and train more technicians. “The most rewarding thing has been to watch the teams grow and develop together.”
The manager at each of Camping Connection’s locations told RVBUSINESS.com that the past year has been marked by substantial investment into the business by LCI.
“The most impressive changes would be the massive increase in resources available to us now. From company vehicles to software, computers, technical training, and human resources, we now have a much easier path to success,” said Roger Cunningham, manager of the Myrtle Beach facility.
“LCI has also been able to open many doors with OEMs that we were unable to attain prior to the acquisition,” he continued. “With the increase in financial resources behind us now, we have access to better tools, equipment and modern technologies. And, on the human level, the resources supporting our team now are immeasurable. My entire staff feels like the sky is the limit. We are achieving great things daily, and we all know that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible.”
Mitch Schwarzwalder, manager of the Kissimmee location, cited the new fleet of modern service trucks as one example of LCI’s commitment to Camping Connection. A close second, he added, is the marketing department that is helping drive Camping Connection as a national brand.
One of the more recent developments that Schwarzwalder singled out was the new app that allows customers to schedule a service appointment right from their smartphone or tablet. Once the customer clicks the button, the app automatically creates a repair order in the Camping Connection system, and the customer’s location is cross-referenced and confirmed to facilitate the most efficient service possible.
“There is also the addition of the new dispatch program,” Schwarzwalder added. “While it has been a work in progress, it gives us the ability to schedule a job and assign the techs digitally. And, from the tech’s perspective, it’s very convenient to be able to complete a work order at the time of services, bill the customer and send them their invoice all without the need for a piece of paper.”
As they grow into larger facilities, Klein-Carroll noted that LCI’s Camping Connection locations will not only operate as service and repair shops, but also as regional training centers.
“We have trainers and mobile technicians all over the country at any given time and get a lot of positive feedback for service we provide,” she said. “We have seen first-hand how we can move the needle by investing in the back end of the business. Our call center takes approximately 50,000 calls per month and around 30% of those calls are retail customers. We believe by being a better resource for our customers and adding more regional service capacity with highly trained techs, we can have an even greater impact for those customers by continuing to expand our service and education efforts.”