LAS VEGAS—Goodyear's top two executives believe the tire maker has a special relationship with its dealers—and they want to keep it that way. After a year in which the tire maker suffered supply problems, both leaders spoke about restoring relations with Goodyear's dealers.
"I speak for the entire family—Goodyear, Kelly and Dunlop—when I say that we covet this relationship," Chairman Samir Gibara told dealers attending the company's annual dealer conference Jan. 18-21 in Las Vegas.
"I recognize the enormous responsibility we have to correct what is wrong and never stop improving what is right."
William J. Sharp, president of Goodyear's North American Tires unit, was equally conciliatory.
"I pledge to you that we are going to work very hard to rebuild those relationships, those friendships, that truly differentiate Goodyear from all others in the past," he said in his conference remarks.
Mr. Sharp also urged dealers to continue to view Goodyear as "worthy of your further consideration as a supplier."
Mr. Gibara noted that even in this age of instant electronic commerce, instant communication and quantitative measurements, excellent customer service still remains based on interpersonal, one-on-one relationships.
"I strongly believe that as long as there will be people making business decisions, there cannot be a viable substitute for personal relationships based on mutual trust and respect," he said.
Today, customers want more than a transactional relationship when they buy a product. Mr. Gibara said they want personal contact and attention and want to do business with companies that provide a human touch.
"I pledge to you today that we will continue to provide that human touch that has made our relationship with you so special and the envy of our industry, because no matter how much systems can standardize business transactions, every dealer remains unique."