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Toyota New Zealand is a business franchise success story. With more than 29 dealerships across more than 60 locations across the country, Toyota vehicles (the Corolla and Hilux in particular) are cultural icons on our roads – a testament to the reliability, quality, and longevity of the Toyota brand in New Zealand.
The Opportunity: an iconic Kiwi brand seeks to deliver premium customer service
Toyota’s core business methodology is ‘Kaizen’, commonly known as a principle of ‘continuous improvement’. With Toyota’s belief statement, ‘a better tomorrow starts today,’ the business has always sought to make changes and improvements that improve their services, product offerings and business processes.
Because of this belief, Toyota had been actively collecting their customer’s feedback through traditional surveys and market research. However, given the inefficiencies of these methods, they were seeking to improve the process.
How It Happened: The rubber meets the road
Spencer Morris, Toyota’s General Manager of Customer Services Division, would mirror what most successful businesses would say, sharing that “customers will tell you everything you need to know about how to improve your business.” Insights into common customer service issues have always come from their customers themselves. Toyota wanted to tap into that, flowing in to the Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement, every day. That’s where Customer Radar came in.
After trialling Customer Radar at ten dealerships in late 2012, Toyota then rolled the technology out across the country in 2013. Almost immediately, there was an improvement in customer satisfaction, “and we managed to improve by learning what customers want, while continuing to grow the business,” says Spencer.
This use of Customer Radar technology in line with Kaizen philosophy has been helping dealerships since the start of the relationship. One dealership built a new service reception area, complete with a full-refurbished fit out, new furniture, newspapers, and WiFi, and took advantage of Customer Radar to ensure their new space was used to its fullest. “One customer said through their feedback that there was no login password on display, to use the Internet. It was a minor detail, but one which the dealer rectified and therefore enhanced the effectiveness of the efforts he’d made to improve,” Spencer says.
In this instance, as well as many others, the “voice of our customers was coming through strongly, guiding the way we improved,” Spencer says.
The Impact: Bringing Kaizen to life
Spencer says the customer feedback process has improved immensely since Toyota began using Customer Radar. “Dealers are much more engaged in seeking customer feedback, and feel empowered when they get positive feedback right away. When an improvement needs to be made, a fix can happen quickly, which means an unhappy customer doesn’t go off and tell their networks about a customer service shortcoming. Instead, we can turn it around and make it a really positive experience. It’s the speed and quality of the information that is provided, which gives us the opportunity to ‘put things right’ for our customers.”
Implementing Customer Radar has seen Toyota living their Kaizen philosophy in a modern and useful way. “The good thing is, if you get a detractor, there is an alert system that allows you to act right away. We are very happy with the results we are getting, and we are getting far richer data then we ever did before.”