7-Eleven began as a start-up near Dallas, TX in 1927. Today, 7-Eleven has over 49,500 stores and is the world’s largest convenience store chain. Mike Debnar, Sr. Director of Digital Guest Experience with 7-Eleven, shared in this video that the success all began “through the vision of one of our employees, who we call Uncle Johnny. He started selling things off the dock, like the proverbial milk, bread, and eggs.”
A Culture of Servant-Leadership
The employee culture at 7-Eleven hinges on the principal of servant-leadership, an idea that was brought to the company in 2005 by President and CEO, Joe DePinto.
Andrew Warden, Partner with Credera, worked with Debnar and shared how servant-leadership is executed at 7-Eleven. “The higher up you are in their organization, the more support and service you need to [give] to the people on your teams. I think that is an incredible dynamic and one of the things that makes 7-Eleven so successful.”
A Digital Guest Experience
7-Eleven engaged Credera to help with the strategy, plan, and structure of their Digital Guest Experience initiative.
According to Debnar, the goal of the Digital Guest Experience is to “digitally connect with our guests through mobile and ‘voice of the customer,’ [a method of] getting feedback from [7-Eleven guests].” Debnar also stressed, “The cornerstone of this initiative is Customer Relationship Management, better known as CRM.”
Through the Digital Guest Experience, Debnar and his 7-Eleven team are asking an important question: “How do [customers] help us reinvent our company everyday?”
Credera’s goal is to help 7-Eleven lead the charge in understanding what it means to be “digitally convenient.”
Warden explained this innovative idea further, “The same thing that they have done with the convenience store industry, they can do digitally…There are so many things that you can do. What we were able to do is [recommend] the things 7-Eleven should start with.”
7-Eleven is experiencing many rewards.
“What we are seeing is a high-level of engagement and excitement that is really starting to have a halo effect on other programs in our company,” said Debnar. “We can envision a future [with] the work we are doing…helping people navigate life better.”
“The cool thing about working with 7-Eleven is that you get excited about the work that you are doing and the people that you are doing it with,” said Warden.
To learn more about the exciting ways 7-Eleven is innovating, please read Leveraging Intrapreneurship: A 7-Eleven Case Study.