“Thanks to Heartland RVs for partnering with me for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.”
Back in 2015, I wrote an article for the Heartland Highlights (a quarterly newsletter) about the new service center that opened in June of that year, and I wanted to do a follow up to see how the new service center is fairing.
Two years ago, I interviewed Jim Fenner, (V.P. of Customer Service and Quality), and Jim was gracious enough to meet with me and answer a few questions again.
The 'new' facility opened on June 22, 2015. We had work scheduled and were due to arrive on the very first day that the center opened. We ended up being the second customers to arrive…Comer's in front of us and van Opstal's behind.
Fast forward almost 2 years. This past May 8th we took our home on wheels in for a spa treatment and were pleased to find our friends Dorothy and Eric van Opstal were there as well. It was like a little service center reunion!
When we arrived, we pulled into one of the five full hook-up RV sites located behind the facility. We knew which one to pull into since there was a sign with our name on it at the front of the site.
These full-hook up sites are a huge blessing for RV owners who need to have work done. In addition to the sites, there is also a gorgeous customer lounge with a TV, couches, tables, refreshments and even a book exchange to make your wait as comfortable as possible.
We had two other Heartland owners arrive after we did, and as Heartland owners tend to do…we gathered…we chatted…we laughed…and we ate.
Dorothy fed all of us dinner Sunday evening (our appointments were for 6:00 a.m. Monday morning), and we utilized the customer lounge as a sort of a mini rally. We even had Heartland owners that were in the area and knew that we'd be at the service center stop by and join our impromptu gathering!
Funny how 10 people who didn't know each other before could pick right up like we'd known each other for years. Our Heartland family is really good for that!
I met with Jim Fenner after we checked our Landmark Key Largo in and had a really nice visit with him…again. He answered a few questions regarding the service center and then took me on a short tour of the call center, the warehouse where merchandise is stored for customers to purchase, and the service department to use when working on rigs (decals, trim, flooring, wallpaper, etc).
The 'old' service center is located right across the street from the new location and is currently being used as a warehouse for items that need to be shipped to the new Idaho factory.
An interesting fact: rather than having the trucks that transport goods out to the Idaho facility 'dead-head' (empty) back to Elkhart, Heartland has chosen to use good business sense and uses refrigerated trucks so that they can transport produce (potatoes and other vegetables) back to the Midwest. Go Heartland!
The 'old' facility had just four service bays while the new facility has 12 spacious service bays and 3 check-in bays. Of course, with the additional space the service team is able to work on a significantly larger number of campers than it was able to before.
Prior to the 'new' service facility opening, there were nine service techs and five support staff; those numbers have since grown to 16 service techs and 7 support staff.
While it is recommended that customers seek assistance from their selling dealers first, the service team at the Elkhart facility can do most work with the exception of insurance claims, extended warranty work and any modifications outside the normal build, i.e. customizations.
When scheduling service appointments the teams schedules a certain number of slots and then also leave several slots open for emergencies. Safety issues have a high priority for scheduling and 'wants and needs' are secondary and often recommended to be taken to a dealer.
Any Heartland owner, whether they are the first owner or the third owner of a unit, is eligible to have work done at the Heartland Service Center. It also doesn't matter if you own a fifth wheel, bumper pull, a Landmark 365, Prowler, Trail Runner, North Trail or a new Terry Classic, it can be worked on at the service center in Elkhart.
It is always best to try working with your dealer to have any work done, but if you need assistance from Heartland, call customer service at 877-262-8032 Mon-Thurs 8am-5pm, Fridays 8am-4pm EST (please be sure to have the last six of your VIN for faster service).