Years ago there was a radio show in Dallas that featured a character called “Sam From Sales.” Sam’s proud motto was that he was “the salesman who sells from both sides of the desk.” The humor of that statement is obvious, but when you really think about it, that claim also has incredible depth. To be truly successful in sales, you need to understand everything from both the perspective of the company and the customer. And in the RV industry, they are often overlapping. Working in the RV industry, you frequently don different hats. Sometimes you’re the customer, sometimes you’re the salesperson, sometimes you’re the service advisor, and sometimes you are all that and more in just one day. Rick’s RV Center in Joliet, Illinois is the perfect example of a dealership providing this kind of all-encompassing service. Jim Freeland is the Business Manager of Rick’s RV Center, but his foray into the RV industry began 16 years ago on the other side of the desk.
In 2002, Jim ventured into Rick’s RV Center as a customer. Since it was his first time purchasing an RV, he was almost entirely relying on the knowledge and expertise of the team at Rick’s, and he couldn’t have had a better experience. Jim explained how he “was impressed with the product knowledge and genuine desire to help [his] family select the best floorplan according to [their] needs.” In fact, one of the things that impressed him the most was how the owner, Rick Rizzo, was so involved in the process. And since Rick’s RV Center opened in 1984, they’ve been providing comprehensive service, with Rick at the helm leading by example.
Long before Jim joined, it was really just a “one man show;” the service was just like it is today: all-encompassing. Back then, Rick did just about everything, “from hitch work to repairing RV’s.” Over the last 34 years, Rick’s RV Center has had tremendous growth. Now they have over 40 employees, and Jim says “probably about half of them are either family or previous Rick’s RV Center customers,” just like Jim. For about 2 years after Jim purchased his Jayco travel trailer, every time he would go into the store for camping supplies, Rick was always there. And Rick would always ask when Jim was going to come work for him. In 2004, Jim finally took Rick up on his offer and today Jim is excited to say “It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!”
Due to the fact that many of their employees originally began as customers, Rick’s RV Center is uniquely qualified in providing all-inclusive service. They fully understand what it is like to be on the other side of the desk. They understand how daunting buying a new RV can be, especially for first time owners. That’s why they go above-and-beyond to ensure that they do everything they can to provide for their customers, earning them both the Jayco’s Founders Award and the RV Business Top 50 Dealer Award. They genuinely care about the service customers receive after the actual sale. Some sales people can be shortsighted; they focus only on the immediate sale and neglect the customer service that should follow once the sale is complete. However, Jim and the rest of the team at Rick’s RV Center understand that it’s the service customers receive after the initial sale that is arguably the most important part of the sales relationship. And they ensure that the customer is wholly provided for by offering multiple Coach-Net products: RV Protect Service Contract, Hazard Protect Tire & Wheel Protection, and 24/7 Protect Roadside Assistance.
Jim and the Rick’s RV team know from personal experience that difficulties encountered when RVing can be unexpected, but not unforeseen. By offering all three products to their customers, they ensure that their needs will be fully met whether they have a flat tire while set up in a campground, experience a mechanical breakdown on the side of the freeway, or simply need a broken component repaired or replaced. Furthermore, as RVers themselves, they understand the frustration of being stranded on the side of the road, and the stress of having to come up with money to pay for the repair or replacement of a pricey RV part. Not only do they help save customers money, they relieve the stress of the situation by providing a unique service that is not reimbursement based. So on top of not having to pay any money in the moment for an unplanned tow or tire replacement, Rick’s RV Center also makes sure that their customers receive the absolute best service no matter how far from the dealership they may have driven. Jim says that “the feedback I have received from our customers about Coach-Net has been nothing short of fantastic. The response times and follow-up that our customers have received exceeds normal roadside expectations by a longshot.” And it’s this type of service that turns so many of Rick’s RV Center customers into lifelong friends and future employees. Just like Rick’s RV Center, “Coach-Net is fantastic [and] will do anything within reason to take care of [the] customer.”
Rick’s RV Center has built its solid foundation upon this kind of dedication and compassion for the customer. Since Jim and so many others on the Rick’s RV team know what it’s like sitting on the other side of the desk, they possess a greater comprehension of the customer’s needs, and consequently a better understanding of how to do their job. It’s because of their personal experience as a customer, they recognize that their job isn’t really about being a sales person, or business manager, or a service advisor; their job is to take care of the customer and do everything within reason to ensure the customer has an exciting and stress-free adventure.
Thank you, Jim and Rick, for choosing Coach-Net as your partner in providing all-inclusive service for your customers. Thank you, Rick’s RV Center, for being your customer’s connection to carefree RVing.