Customer Service Highlight – Discount Tire

Customer Service Highlight – Discount Tire

Customer service is a huge deal to me. When I experience great service, I shout it from the mountaintops; although, for what I’m referring to, the term “customer service” doesn’t suffice. I’m talking about the way a patron should be treated by a merchant. I’m talking about the reason I buy glasses from Warby Parker, tires from Discount Tire and computers from Apple (every ten years or so if I can afford it).

There are several things that factor into buying decisions, but the way I am treated sits right at the top. Discount Tire is a vivid example for two reasons. First, the way they treat customers is extraordinarily consistent across employees. Second, while they claim to have “discount tires,” I wouldn’t know because I’ve never had an interest in comparing price after my first experience with them.

At Discount Tire, unless every employee is working with another customer, someone will come out and greet you by the time you exit your vehicle. Every time. They will introduce themselves and ask something like “how can we help you today?” Every time. After I explained what brought me in, the guy who helped me today engaged me in some light-hearted conversation about my car, with a smile, while he checked the tires. This has happened every time. On the way inside, they will hold the door open for you. Every time.

The wrap-up is similarly consistent, but not at all robotic. “Mr. Myrick, you’re ready to go! Make sure to come see us again in 3 months or 3,000 miles for a rotation (included with the tires). Do you have any questions for us?” As I got my stuff together, he waited patiently with some friendly small talk so he could shake my hand and escort me to the door. He opened it for me as he thanked me for my business. My car was waiting a few feet away. This all happens every time.

I’m wired to be loyal. If I am treated well, I will stick around. I’ll also go out of my way to honor loyalty and likely even pay more, within reason. I doubt that I am the only person who feels this way so why have so few companies placed the priority on service that Discount Tire has?

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about “getting the right people on the bus.” I agree with him completely; however, there’s something really interesting about Discount Tire. Their employees are typically 18 to 25-year-old males who are not the type to own a suit and maybe not even a pair of khakis. In most industries, these guys would not be banners for stellar customer service. But they are at Discount Tire. That tells me that while Discount Tire may prioritize getting the right people, they definitely have a killer training program. I would go as far as to say that we could use some of their magic in education, both for our own students and in teacher preparation programs as well.

I’ll close with a comment about vision. I love talking about vision because these kinds of highlights in an organization often stem from a clear vision. Check out this excerpt from Discount Tire’s Vision and Values (no mention of tires):

One common thread running through the hearts of everyone within the organization remains the same – treat customers and fellow employees with respect and fairness. Care for those in need, always do what is right, work hard, be responsible and have fun.

This kind of service is not limited to their loyal customers by the way. The next time you have a problem with a tire they didn’t sell you, drop by a Discount Tire and see what happens.


1 Comment

  1. Travis
    Jan 5, 2015

    Thank you very much for your kind words. A link to this article was forwarded to my email this morning. Thanks for putting a smile on my face as well as many other people’s faces here this morning. We’ll keep working hard for you. – Travis, Discount Tire

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