Reinventing the Customer Experience
Discount Tire, a wheel and tire company in the United States with more than 875 stores, is one of the world’s largest independent tire retailers. Their stores are not a typical cash and carry with a point of sale, but have sales orders for every customer. These store systems work well for Discount Tire’s employees today. However, as the company is future-oriented, Discount Tire sought to improve its customer experience online and in-stores, and wanted to decrease customer wait times as an overriding goal.
To do this, Discount Tire approached SAP as a long-standing partner. Having seen the SAP Design Thinking booth at SAPPHIRE in 2013, Discount Tire wanted to understand Design Thinking better and make it part of their ongoing organization process.
Every once in a while, you know you have been part of something very special. The timing for those of us from Discount Tire could not have been much better as we were just beginning to build requirements for our new point of service, website and overall store experience. The exposure to a way of thinking that adapts and reacts to our customer's needs sooner than traditional methods could not have come at a better time,– says Steve Fournier (COO, Discount Tire Corporation).
Design Thinking with SAP_ Discount Tire Testimonial
Embarking On a Journey of Discovery
SAP and Discount Tire embarked on a journey of discovery. In order to acquire a first-hand understanding of the customer experience, the SAP Mobility team from Palo Alto went on site to observe the operations at Discount Tire’s stores. To further explore options on how to assist Discount Tire with their store operations and wait times, SAP conducted a two-day Design Thinking workshop with Discount Tire to examine how mobility might improve wait time. “This was really an eye-opening experience and enabled Discount Tire to look at their business in a different way. Discount Tire felt that their company needed to move forward in ways they had not previously considered”, recalls Shelley Schwartz, Retail Executive Solution Engineer at SAP. The second day was dedicated to a more open-ended problem finding; that is discovering unknown needs and generating ideas for their business in the future. SAP then delivered prototypes to simplify these complex ideas. Discount Tire was very committed to the Design Thinking process leading to fast prototyping and further development on the prototype as an app.
Humanizing the Way Business Is Run
After our impromptu get-together at Sapphire, we would not have guessed it would be followed up with something quite this special. I believe this opportunity gave both companies the ability to understand a little more about how each company's philosophy and culture while creating another solid building block from which to grow our relationship,– said Steve Fournier (COO, Discount Tire Corporation).
Following the committed and passionate working experience with Discount Tire, SAP expanded the collaboration to the entire customer engagement process. Discount Tire and SAP found human meaning for technology such as SAP HANA, hybris and Mobility to create value for the customers. “It was not about SAP products anymore, but rather about a broader topic. How do you engage with customers, kick off the uncertainty they have about technology and use Design Thinking to enhance the long term relationship?”, reflects Daniel Difruscio, Sales and Presales, Global Customer Operations at SAP. Impressed by the impact of Design Thinking, Discount Tire wanted to include these techniques in all of their business areas and invested in a personal journey of Design Thinking to maintain this strong customer focus. Discount Tire’s executives attended a boot camp at Stanford Institute of Design to dive deeper into the topic.
But there is more to it than that: Discount Tire even established their own Design Thinking office at the company site. To get further advice on how to operationalize Design Thinking from their side and help their employees to understand the value of Design Thinking, they asked SAP to host a workshop at their newly created Design Thinking center and to guide them through the steps of the process. “We wanted to take Discount Tire through what we do from a Design Thinking point of view and explore together what they could do in the future”, explains Daniel Difruscio. Discount Tire and SAP started prototyping around some tangible ideas that are still in the exploration stage.
This collaboration has successfully shown the impact of Design Thinking and how the techniques can be scaled at an organization so that every party can benefit from it.
The process of Design Thinking with its iterative nature and focus on empathy has made quite an impression on Discount Tire and our customer experience journey. The Discount Tire team appreciates all the effort put forth and every member of the team and looks forward to meeting the short and long term milestones we defined for ourselves.– Steve Fournier Sr. (COO, Discount Tire Corporation)