In 2020, a pivotal shift occurred in the recreational vehicle (RV) industry, spearheaded by the RV Industry Association (RVIA). The Board of Directors approved a voluntary, recommended best practice concerning RV model year changeover, aiming to streamline and enhance the RV buying experience.
This initiative was born out of a necessity to alleviate a prevalent source of confusion that consumers encountered when purchasing RVs. The approved best practice ardently recommends that RV manufacturers implement their annual model year and major product design changes between July 1 and August 31 each year.
The inception of this Board-approved practice was meticulously designed to be implemented from 2021 through 2023, with subsequent annual evaluations by the Model Year Task Force. In a meeting held in September, the Model Year Task Force met and reaffirmed its endorsement of the best practice recommendation.
This endorsement was not only a testament to the task force’s commitment but also a reflection of the industry’s collective effort to uphold and enhance consumer experience through clear, consistent model year identification and valuation, as per the News & Insights report of the RVIA.
Model Year Task Force Chair and President of Alliance RV Coley Brady emphasized the collective effort of the RV industry in improving the customer experience on various fronts. The reaffirmation of the best practices recommendation for the model year changeover period significantly aids consumers in distinguishing between model years.
“This is a win for all RV industry businesses too as it allows RV dealerships to manage their inventory and communicate model year information to shoppers more efficiently,” said Brady.
Moreover, a consistent model year enables component part suppliers to more efficiently produce and stock the changing part needs of manufacturers. Financial institutions can establish RV valuations with greater accuracy, further mitigating potential confusion at the time of purchase.
The practice, therefore, not only simplifies the consumer experience but also streamlines operations for dealerships, suppliers, and financial entities, ensuring a smooth transition between model years and design changes.
While the RVIA has taken a significant step towards enhancing consumer experience, it is pivotal to explore how such practices are mirrored in other industries and how technological advancements can further bolster this initiative.
According to a Harvard Business Review report, technology can be leveraged to create a better customer experience, sometimes by introducing friction that enables customers to reflect on their choices, which might be relevant in the context of RV purchasing and model year transitions.
In the broader spectrum of customer experience enhancement, McKinsey underscores the importance of redesigning the customer experience (CX) organization and operating model as a crucial success factor for every CX transformation.
Drawing parallels with the RVIA’s initiative, it becomes evident that an effective operating model that prioritizes customer experience is paramount in ensuring sustained success and customer satisfaction in the industry.
The RVIA’s initiative, while specific to the RV industry, sets a precedent that could potentially influence best practices across various manufacturing sectors. The meticulous planning, implementation, and subsequent evaluations of the model year changeover practice underscore the significance of a unified approach toward enhancing consumer experience.
The RVIA has not only prioritized consumer clarity but also facilitated smoother operations for dealerships and suppliers, thereby establishing a practice that is mutually beneficial for consumers and industry stakeholders alike.