When Donald B. Rice, Sr. founded his tire dealership in Frederick, Md., in 1929, he quickly earned a reputation for honesty and good service.
It's this reputation that the people of Donald B. Rice Tire Co. have worked hard to maintain through the years as the company has grown
from a one-man store to nine commercial truck tire service locations and a retread plant, besides its corporate headquarters in Frederick.
And it's their work that led Goodyear to name Rice Tire as its Commercial Tire Dealer of the Month for October.
Rice Tire was chosen for providing customers outstanding service, while helping them to choose from among the Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly
tire brands. Rice has been carrying Goodyear tires since 1972. The honor also recognizes Rice Tire for helping customers make full use of
Goodyear services, such as fleetHQ and TVTRACK and G-TRACS automated retread tracking system.
Rice Tire also helps customers achieve more miles to removal and a reduction in their tire costs through tire retreading. Rice Tire uses
the pre-cure method at its retreading plant in Winchester, Va.
“It's a gratifying feeling to be chosen as commercial tire dealer of the month,” said Chris Chase, president of Rice Tire. “The last 18 months
have been a difficult time to be a commercial tire dealer, but we've survived just fine by concentrating on the customers' needs.
“By conducting fleet surveys with our customers we look to see what type of tires work best for their operations and ask lots of questions,” he
added. “Every fleet is different and every fleet owner has a slightly different expectation of tires and tire vendors.”
While courteous and timely service is important to Rice Tire's customers, quick response to their needs is the key, he said.
“Time is money in most any business, but particularly so in trucking,” Chase said. “Whether we are doing shop work for a customer or
replacing a tire on the road, the quicker we get the job done, the more money we can save the customer.”
Goodyear's roadside emergency service, fleetHQ, has been an important recent addition to Rice Tire's efforts to improve customer service. Before
the fleetHQ Solution Center began handling its after-hour calls, they were being answered by a local answering service that also works for
doctors and lawyers. Rolling after-hour calls to the emergency roadside tire assistance call center available through fleetHQ resulted in
improved call response for its customers, Chase said.
“Because the fleetHQ representatives get the right information, our drivers are able to respond to more calls each week because they have the
right tires when they respond,” he said.
With fleetHQ, Rice customers have one number: 866-fleetHQ (866-353-3847), to call for emergency roadside tire service throughout the United
States and Canada. And they pay the same price for their tires that they would pay Rice Tire. Through the program, customers are able to
control and track their expenses associated with emergency roadside tire services.
Rice also makes significant investments into the training of its employees. Earlier in October, the company sent four of its associates
to a three-day training session in the mid-west where the employees will learn more about Goodyear products. Goodyear also plans to bring
its commercial tire training program to the company's headquarters in Frederick, where more of its employees can learn about new product developments.
“We feel it's important that our employees are the best trained and most knowledgeable in the industry,” Chase said. “We also think quick
response to our customers' needs, as well as the innovative and quality products through the Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly lines, have been
crucial to the success of our customers and our company. Our relationship with the folks at Goodyear Commercial Tire has also been instrumental.”