The First Time
Hennessy R.I.D.E.s Into Battle Against Customer Comebacks
Hennessy Industries understands that customer comebacks are a part of business and that they happen every day. However, the equipment maker envisions a time when the need for a return trip is eliminated. And it says it has just the tools to help.
Its main weapon against the comeback will be the Coats XR 1800, a new tire/wheel balancer which Hennessy unveiled at a recent press conference in downtown Akron.
"Our No. 1 goal is to prevent comebacks," said Kevin Keefe, group marketing manager. "There’s no question that wheel balancing today is much more complicated than it was even five years ago. Lower profile tires, stiffer vehicle frames, tighter suspensions, closer brake tolerances and other factors mean there are more ways for vibration to cause customer dissatisfaction.
"In the past, specialized balancers that performed diagnostics were called ‘comeback’ machines because they had the ability to solve problems with customer vibration complaints. The Coats XR 1800 is the anti-comeback machine because it spots problems before they get to the customer."
The XR 1800 is designed to check every tire/wheel combination for conditions that makes balancing difficult. A complete diagnostics package runs with every tire/wheel balance and adds just two or three seconds to the process, Hennessy said.
The XR 1800 automatically takes the "A", "W" and "D" measurements, without the need for an outer arm, by using sonar sensors mounted on the machine and hood. The monitor features 3D graphics and help screens. The technician is prompted step-by-step through the process and the machine beeps every time a task has been completed.
The need for education was also a point Hennessy hammered home during its press conference. The company estimates that 60% of balancing errors are due to improper mounting.
"Our industry has changed radically, said Ron Newton, executive vice president of sales and marketing. "Besides just developing new equipment, we have to provide technician training and education and provide the ultimate in customer satisfaction."
Along those lines, Hennessy has two educational programs. The first is its R.I.D.E. program, designed to teach both technicians and consumers about car care fundamentals and how those actions can result in a smoother ride.
R.I.D.E. stands for Rotate your tires at required intervals; Inflate tires to the proper operating pressures; Diagnose ride control problems early; and Educate the consumer for economy and safety, and the service technician on the proper diagnostic procedures.
"Today’s vehicles, with custom wheels, sensitive suspensions, and lower profile tires are more prone to vibration and rough riding problems," said Mark Cramer, director of commercial marketing for Coats. "That’s where R.I.D.E. comes in. This program educates both technicians and consumers so everyone knows how to work together for the smoothest riding vehicles possible."
The majority of the program focuses on simplifying things for the dealer and seeks to build credibility and enhance the dealer’s position as a car care expert, according to Hennessy.
The second program is the Coats Balancing Solutions CD, an interactive program that showcases the company’s balancers and provides technician training, promotional materials and information about accessories.
"This industry is challenging because the dealer has to know all the changes that have occurred and he has to be knowledgeable about those changes," said Bob Heisner, vice president marketing. "This program is about more than just equipment. It’s about introducing new accessories and finding new ways of balancing."
Also introduced at the press conference was the Coats 9024E tire changer. Hennessy says the 9024E was designed to handle wheels up to 24 inches and protect expensive wheel finishes.