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Carl Smith, Motorhome Technician

Carl Smith

Audio Visual Specialist Technician

Carl joined the Southdowns workshop team in 2009 adding his audio visual skills to the list of services the company can provide

Q When did you join Southdowns and how has the company changed during that time?
A When I joined the Southdowns workshop in 2009, a relatively small team of technicians was employed to work on both new and used vehicles at the Motorhome Centre in Painter close. Six years later, the workshop has expanded. Now we are located in premises at Alchorne Place and a much larger team works hard to meet the ever-increasing demand for servicing used vehicles and to provide the technical support needed for customer handovers.

Q How has your job changed over the years?
A We’re busier than we’ve ever been. I have less time to work on new vehicles because we are so busy servicing motorhomes for our existing customers. So even though we’ve got a bigger workshop and more people we’re still under pressure - booking is essential!
I am an electrician specialising in fitting a wide range of audio visual and security equipment in motorhomes, including add-on systems such as solar panels, reversing cameras, security systems and microwaves. I also use my carpentry skills to fabricate bespoke cabinets and shelving to meet customers’ own specifications but I don’t get the time to do as much of that kind of work as I would like. Due to the success of the company, more vehicles are now going through the workshop and that has increased the need to provide technical support to customers. The questions haven’t changed - it normally means explaining the control panels for the various systems to customers who didn’t take it all in when they bought their vehicle.

Many of the European motorhomes Southdowns sells don’t come with a manual written in English, so to try and overcome this problem we have made a short handover video for customers. Some people come armed with their ipad or tablet and video the handover themselves but the sheer number of customers now coming through the doors means that this kind of technical support now makes up a major part of what I do.

As far as technology goes, not much has changed in the last six years. TVs have got bigger, but the biggest innovation has been the fact that you can now boost your satellite signal with wi-fi. I now set up a lot of systems for customers so they can take advantage of local wi-fi as they travel.

Q Six years is a long time in one job, so what has kept you with the company?
A The motorhome industry is constantly updating and fine-tuning vehicles to improve the motorhoming experience for customers so that makes the job interesting. I get to visit the manufacturers that supply our vehicles on a regular basis which keeps me up to date. This year I also spent time on the Southdowns stand at the Camping and Caravanning Show at the NEC in Birmingham, once again answering customers’ technical questions and proving that when it comes to technical knowledge, the Southdowns workshop team is second to none.

Carl lives in Gosport with his wife Vicky and their daughter Jasmine.

See Also: See what Carl said to us when we last interviewed him in 2009