Customer stories - meet Graham & Lynne Kirby: “It’s a good, friendly and reliable service.”
blog / opinions / holiday / family
The Kirbys started caravanning nearly 30 years ago as it provides the ideal set up for great family holidays.
They’re on the committee of the West Hampshire Centre, which is part of the Caravan Club, and when there’s not a pandemic, they’re very active in organising and taking part in rallies all over the country.
WHAT’S YOUR HISTORY WITH WINCHESTER CARAVAN & MOTORHOMES?
We bought our first caravan in 1992 after a trip to the Caravan Show in Earls Court where it was held back then. We met a Swindon-based dealer there and later bought from them. We used them for some years until my dad mentioned Winchester Caravans & Motorhomes to us, (then Chichester Caravans) so we decided to give them a look.
Right from the start we felt at ease. We’ve always dealt with James Mainwearing, the sales manager; he’s friendly and approachable every time we visit or if we get in touch with a query. He’s helpful in every situation and has a lot of knowledge, built up from years in the industry. The owner, James Southwood is great too, and it was the fact that my father bought many caravans from James and was happy with the service that made him recommend them to me.
We bought a Swift Ace Globetrotter from Winchester Caravans & Motorhomes in 2003 and have never looked back! We trade in our caravans every few years to upgrade, with our latest purchase being a Bailey Unicorn Cadiz in 2018 - our ninth caravan! We’ve remained extremely satisfied with the service over the past 18 years and look forward to our visits to the showroom.
DO YOU USE THE WORKSHOP AND ACCESSORY SHOP?
Yes we do. We have all our services and any maintenance work done in the workshop and the outcome has always been very positive. Our service was due at the beginning of the year and I was especially impressed to discover that they were offering a door to door service! As no customers were permitted on-site due to the COVID restrictions, a member of staff came and collected our caravan, took it off for its service and returned it, completed and fully cleaned, later in the day. Fantastic! It has given us peace of mind that when we are able to get out and about again, it’s ready to go.
In previous years when I’ve had my van serviced, Trevor - the Aftersales Manager - has gone the extra mile to ensure that I can fit the drop off and collection times around my work commitments, which is really helpful too.
We’ve also used the shop many times over the years, buying all sorts of accessories. Everything they’ve supplied us with has always been just what we needed, supplied quickly and at a good price. They even accept part exchanges on awnings which is great, as it gives those looking to change their awning a simple way of getting some money back on their existing one, as well as giving those in the market for a second hand awning a reliable place to buy one from.
IS THERE A PARTICULAR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE THAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MIND?
In 2009, we bought a new caravan from Winchester Caravans & Motorhomes and set off on a trip to France soon after. Shortly after our arrival, we discovered that our 12v charger had stopped working, so I rang James to let him know. He asked for our holiday site address and said he’d see what he could do. He liaised with Trevor and within 3 days, we’d received a replacement charger to our holiday location! What amazing service - it’s things like that that really stand out and make you realise what a great dealership they are.
All our experiences with Winchester Caravans & Motorhomes have been positive - even if we’ve had a little niggle with something, it’s always been sorted really quickly and we’ve gone away happy. Another example was when, just before part exchanging one of our caravans, I managed to dent it and I was worried it would affect the part-ex. Trevor was great then too, still taking it in, repairing the dent and taking care of it all for me. They’re great at communicating with their customers, which is key to a good relationship.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT CARAVANNING?
I love everything about it! I started caravanning with my family when I was 10 years old and always enjoyed it and found it to be lots of fun. It provides versatile holidays and if you choose to get involved in a rally club too, it’s very sociable. My wife caravanned with the same rally centre as we did so when we had our own children, we brought them up in the caravanning lifestyle. We enjoy both long and short breaks, all over the UK as well as in France and it allows us to make the most of our time off and enjoy quality family time together
We’re actively involved in the West Hampshire Centre, which is part of the Caravan Club. We’re on the committee that runs the Centre and prior to COVID-19, we’d help organise an annual programme of rally events for the coming year that all members are invited to. The Centre has over 1,000 members and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people, make friends and enjoy group activities such as BBQs, quizzes, dinner-dances and all sorts of other entertainment. We’re really hoping that we can get back to our usual schedule in 2022 as we’ve really missed it. Fingers crossed!
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR 2021?
I’m self-employed so I usually take days off either side of the weekend to get away for long weekends as it enables me to fit work in during the middle of those weeks. In a normal year, we’ll do 12-15 weekend trips per year, with a few longer holidays thrown in as well if we can. Unfortunately last year was a quiet one due to the pandemic, but we did manage to get away a couple of times at the beginning of the year and then again in October, which was a nice 11-day break in Weymouth. This year we haven’t got anything planned until June, when we’re hoping the majority of the restrictions will have been lifted.
WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT WINCHESTER CARAVANS & MOTORHOMES?
We just like the people! It’s simply a good, friendly and reliable service and both James’ are so helpful. James M is very professional and always manages to help us find exactly what we’re after. We receive good quality products and exceptional service - we can’t fault it.
Buying a caravan is quite a big investment, but we always leave happy with what we’ve bought, happy with the part exchange and looking forward to enjoying the next van. We’re confident in the knowledge that the service will be impeccable from start to finish!
Browse our range of new and pre-owned caravans, as well as our new and pre-owned motorhome and campervan selection online today! Get in touch to chat to one of our friendly team members or to make an appointment to view. We’re now re-open for business and look forward to welcoming you soon!
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