Remember that all-consuming, practically overwhelming excitement you had as a little kid when you discovered something truly special? There used to be a steakhouse not far from Coach-Net’s office that featured a giant metal slide stretching loudly right smack in the middle of the restaurant flanked by lines of wide-eyed children eagerly waiting to shriek and shrill as they slid down the slick ramp. The first time I saw it, I couldn’t wait to try it for myself. But even if it wasn’t a seemingly out of place children’s slide, maybe for you it was the brand-new park with all sorts of crazy obstacles for you to scale. Or the giant, twisting play-place bursting with color at your local fast food restaurant. Or maybe you know that feeling from when you first walked through the towering entrance of your favorite theme park surveying the pure magic dancing before you. Wherever it was, whatever may have inspired it, I’m sure you know that feeling of utterly unstoppable anticipation. And the apex of that feeling is when it surprises you in an unexpected place and sometimes at an unexpected age. That was how I felt when I walked into Burlington RV in Sturtevant, Wisconsin and feasted my eyes on the custom-built RV themed play-place beaming like an oasis of childlike fun. Burlington RV is built on a foundation of family-oriented fun, and after decades of doing business, they still manage to spark that familiar childlike excitement in practically any person who walks through their doors.
President and CEO, Tim Wegge, remembers exactly when his father was inspired to create a lasting legacy of family fun. They rented a pop-up camper for their family of seven and it was then that Tim’s parents realized they wanted to help others experience the thrill of the outdoors. They caught that bug of excitement and dove headfirst into the RV industry. And although Tim went off to college and spent 8 years in Arizona learning about life outside the family business, he inevitably returned to Wisconsin unable to resist the lure of the RV life. He had amazing experiences outside of the family business, but his love for the industry and his “father’s insistence on loyalty to the family business” eventually brought him home. That’s what makes the RV industry different from everything else. It’s not about some sort of obligation to work in the family business; rather it’s more about showing loyalty to doing what you love and sharing that passion and delight with your own children. Tim realized his experience growing up in such an incredible environment was something that he truly loved and wanted to share with his own family. So in 1988 Tim returned to Burlington RV and one of his first orders of business was making sure that Burlington RV wasn’t just a place for his family, but a place for all families.
When Tim’s children were little, they would spend hours at the dealership while the family worked. This sparked an idea that has become the cornerstone for everything that Burlington RV is built around: Family Fun. Tim built a larger than life, RV themed play place for his children, and all the children of Burlington RV’s customers to enjoy. He could have built a normal play area that you might find in any random shopping mall or large business complex. But he didn’t. Burlington RV is focused on sharing their passion for the industry and inspiring the love they have for RVing in everyone who walks through their doors. With this custom indoor playground, Tim and the team at Burlington RV have the ability to inspire the fun and excitement of the outdoors by starting with their youngest customers; they want to connect with the customers that are most often overlooked by businesses because they’re not actually the ones who are buying. That one fact sums up what Tim and his team are all about. They’re not focused on the sale. They don’t simply cater to customers that they perceive as “important.” Burlington RV understands that the best memories and experiences you can have in an RV always include your family and friends. And that means you have to show the customer that every single person in their family will love having an RV to explore new and exhilarating places.
I’ve had the privilege of working with numerous people in various departments at Burlington RV. They are all incredibly friendly. Tim and his team of managers do an amazing job of selecting the absolute best people who have a passion for being friendly. When you walk through their doors, you honestly feel like family. It’s warm and inviting and every single person excels in making you feel like you’re at home. Additionally, they all clearly take their jobs seriously and their commitment to Tim and Burlington RV is readily evident. Their level of customer service is some of the best I’ve seen in any industry and their salespeople thrive on making you feel comfortable and excited about the idea of owning an RV. But even the best salesperson can struggle to inspire the same kind of genuine elation that only an actual experience can provide. It’s one thing to tell you about that slide in the nearby steakhouse, it’s another thing to actually watch people sliding down that shiny metal slide in the middle of a bustling restaurant. And it’s a whole different experience zooming down that slide yourself. That’s where Burlington RV’s customer playground excels.
Burlington RV takes the idea of RVing, having fun with your family, and they make it real and tangible. You can hear the giggles of small children climbing around the converted Winnebago and that joy permeates the entire store. Burlington RV’s focus and primary objective is to transform the customer’s entire RV experience from the time they spend in the dealership selecting an RV to their actual experience of using the RV out on the open road. They want their customers to feel carefree, just like a child exploring a sky-high playground. And that’s why Tim is so dedicated to providing his employees and their customers the tools necessary to create a carefree RV experience. He gives his employees every tool they might possibly need to be successful, and he even gives his customers the tools they will undoubtedly need to have a successful road trip.
Last year Burlington RV made a commitment to provide every customer a one year Coach-Net roadside assistance membership because Tim realized having reliable roadside assistance is an absolute necessity for every RVer. “When the unexpected happens and you are broken down, having someone to call to get you out of trouble is so incredibly valuable.” RVing can be an absolutely magical experience. It often is laughter and excitement just like when you were a kid exploring the new playground. But I think any RVer can agree, that when it’s good, it’s good. But when it’s bad, it can be really bad. It’s those bad moments that you don’t want to be caught alone and on your own. That’s why Tim provides every customer one year of roadside assistance with Coach-Net.
And not only does he sell RVs, Tim is an actual RVer so he knows what it’s like to be out on the road and suddenly needing help. “My wife and I spent February and part of March traveling across the country from Wisconsin to Florida to Arizona and everywhere in between. And, yes, we had Coach-Net and we used it!” Being partnered with Coach-Net allows Burlington RV to not only give their customers peace of mind, but to also give Tim and everyone else at Burlington RV peace of mind “knowing that 24/7 [customers] can get the answers they need to any RV problem they may have.” When Tim is traveling in his RV he is at total peace, and a big part of that is because he knows that even though he and his wife may be out on the road enjoying the outdoors in near solitude, they’re never actually alone. Tim says the best advice he can offer to any dealership, whether they’re a new partner or if they’ve been offering Coach-Net to their customers for years, is “make sure ALL your customers receive a Coach-Net membership as part of your dealership’s commitment to their care.”
Tim and his team truly go above and beyond to make sure their customers have an exceptional RV experience. No detail is too small, and no person is too small to be overlooked. The RV lifestyle has a place for every person, no matter their age. And we love that Burlington RV has made it their personal mission to showcase the fun side of RVing through their all-encompassing commitment to customer care. Thank you, Tim, for reminding myself and everyone who walks through your doors how truly magical RVing can be. Thank you, Burlington RV, for being your customer’s connection to carefree RVing.