Putting Customer Experience First at 7-Eleven

From its humble beginning as the world’s first convenience store, 7-Eleven, Inc., continues its pursuit of innovative ways to cater to a new, digital-savvy generation of shoppers. As technology redefines how customers shop, the company makes sure to remain two steps ahead.

7-Eleven was the first retailer to serve hot coffee to go, be open 24 hours a day, and have a self-serve soda fountain. For years, their loyal customers walked into the stores and were able to redeem loyalty points through a punch card. If there was ever an issue, the store associate was there to handle any problem, but as times changed, so did 7-Eleven’s loyalty program and their 7Rewards system went through a digital transformation.

We recently sat down with Michelle Brigman, Director of Customer Experience at 7-Eleven, to learn more about the ways 7-Eleven puts customer experience at the forefront of everything they do. 

What is your main goal for customers visiting 7-Eleven stores?

7-Eleven’s heritage was built on a philosophy to have the products customers want, when they want it. That philosophy hasn’t changed. As customers’ needs change, we continue to innovate how we deliver those products and services, whether in-store or through delivery. We continue to test and learn through our 7Rewards loyalty program, new product platforms and our concept stores.    

How has customer experience evolved or changed this year?

COVID-19 has really changed the game. I’ll focus on three key areas:

  • Safety and cleanliness: Although always important, the bar has been raised and we were ready to act. We implemented physical changes in our stores like sneeze guards, social distancing markers, sanitizer stations and disposable gloves. These changes have been well received by our customers. Here is a link to more details on our safety measures: https://www.7-eleven.com/coronavirus-safety
  • In-store product mix: Our customers were depending on us to provide more household items, such as paper towels, toilet paper and diapers and we were quick to respond to this demand. 
  • Remote work: Our customer service teams went from working in our call center to standing up a work-from-home environment for our agents and this has been a tremendous success. I was so proud of how well we managed that overall transition.

What factors go into providing an exceptional customer experience?

Great customer experiences start with listening to understand customer wants and needs. From there, it’s our responsibility to deliver solutions that address those wants and needs. We use listening tools like Medallia surveys, social media monitoring and collaborative committees with our franchisees. We then gather insights to inform next best action for the organization, so we are continuously improving on the services we provide. The more our organization can collectively partner, the better our solutions.

What has been your biggest lesson learned in your professional career?

The best work happens when you bring others in. This means knowing your own strengths and surrounding yourself with people who complement the team. Be clear on the intent and give your people the autonomy to do what they do best. Creating a strong performing team is about clear objectives, diverse talent and trust. When you can unleash your team, great things happen. 

What tips do you have for other corporations regarding customer experience?

Take time to ensure your measures are from the lens of the customer. Oftentimes, we measure ourselves from business metrics and then wonder why we don’t see intended customer response. When you understand what experiences influence sustained customer behaviors, you can easily prioritize the most impactful initiatives, which drive loyalty, satisfaction and sales.

Interested in learning more about all of the ways 7-Eleven puts customer experience first? Join this MasterCast to hear Michelle talk about redesigning the customer experience and the impact their digital transformation had on its customers and bottom line.