Discount Tire’s Amazing Customer Service

Last Saturday I had big plans. Do absolutely nothing. I was looking forward to a laid back, lazy Saturday morning where I might do a little writing, do some reading and maybe play my new Playstaion 4 game I got for my birthday.

That was the plan. Reality was something else.

First it started with my wife reminding me my son’s car needed gas so he could go to his SAT prep class later that morning. I jumped in the car and away I went. Then the tire pressure light came on. It was cold so I hoped it was just that and as I got a little further down the road it would go off. Nope, it stayed on.

I fill up his car, drove to the air station and put air in the tire. The light went off and I secretly patted myself on the back for a job well done. Saturday was going to be alright after all.

I got home, proud of performing my fatherly duties and informed my wife of the disaster I had just staved off. As I filled my coffee cup I felt like a conquering hero. I mentioned we needed to remind Zach if he sees that light come on ever he needs to let me know because the tires need air. He’s been driving for a year but these kinds of maintenance lessons are opportunities for him to learn.

I grabbed my coffee and settled in to enjoy the rest of my morning.

Then Zach came downstairs. He went out to go look at the tire. I was sure he was going to admire my handy work and come in and celebrate his awesome pops. Instead he came in and said, “Hmm dad, there’s a nail in the tire.” I had not seen it during my manly inspection and was quite sure he was mistaken. I went out side to prove him wrong and share the thing he saw was simply a rock. I mean I have worldly knowledge of such things. Unfortunately he was right and I was wrong – something I will admit between you and me but not to him. He’s a teenager, can you imagine? I’d never hear the end of that.

Regardless, in all it’s glory, was a bright shiny nail. Drats! Saturday plans were definitely off track now.

While his mom went ahead and took him to his prep course, I jumped in his car and drove it up to Discount Tire. As I pulled in I noticed their parking lot was full. Not a good sign. I walked in and there was a line. Definitely not a good sign. I began to see my Saturday morning slipping away waiting for this stupid tire to be fixed.

When I got to the front of the line the associate from Discount Tires cheerfully greeted me. I had seen him interact with the previous customer who was in a bad mood and somewhat argumentative about his assessment that he needed new tires. Despite the difficult customer his enthusiasm and calm nature never changed. Now it was my turn.

I explained what had happened and he first said he was sorry. “I’m sure that’s not the way you wanted your Saturday to start. But don’t worry, we’ll get you fixed up.” I was impressed.

He looked at the tire and immediately saw the nail. “Roofing nail,” was his quick professional assessment. I of course concurred, trying to look knowledgable in such things. He quickly took measurements of all the tires and asked how my son liked the tires. I thought okay here’s a chance for him to sell me that we need four new ones. I braced for it. “These look in great shape. He clearly takes good care of this car. Don’t always see that with teenagers.” Wow! No up-sell or doom and gloom!

We went back into the shop and explained it was a fairly simple repair. I asked how long it would take and he said about 2-3 hours. There goes my Saturday morning. Having no choice I handed over the keys and walked to Starbucks to grab a cup of coffee.

45 minutes later my cell phone rang. “Mr. Harper this is Steve from Discount Tire, your vehicle is ready sir.” What? It’s been less than hour how is this possible?  He went on to say, “We know you have better things to do on a Saturday so we got this done for you.”

Man talk about customer service!

But it gets better.

When I walked back over from Starbucks, my car was out front waiting for me. I went in to pay and Steve was with another customer so another associate helped me. He said, “We got you all fixed up and you are ready to go.” I pulled out my wallet waiting for him to announce the damage. “No charge sir.”

“What? No charge?”

“No sir. You’ve brought all of your other vehicles here in the past and it was our pleasure to do this for you. Please keep us in mind when it’s time to replace those tires in, let’s see, in 30,000 miles.”

I was blown away. An absolutely incredible experience from start to finish. You bet your bottom dollar that I’ll bring the car back to them in the future because they earned a customer for life.

So why should you care? Because in every client or customer experience there are a few lessons that can be taken away and applied to your own business. Here are a few:

Treat every customer with kindness and enthusiasm. Even the tough ones.

Under promise and over deliver…always!

Empathize with your customer and their situation. Especially if there is a problem. Their problem is your problem.

Own the customer and their situation until conclusion.

Make every interaction with the customer a positive one. It is possible if you try hard enough.

Leave them so impressed with your approach to solving their problem that they will share their experience. 

Always remember without your clients/customers your business is nothing. So act accordingly!

Discount Tire’s approach to making a bad Saturday better inspired me to think how I can make my client’s day better in some way every day. Bet if you think hard enough, you could do the same for your clients or customers as well.

Ripple On!!!


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