A key phrase Toyota uses when referring to customer experience is “kaizen”, which means “good change” in Japanese. This ethos runs through its entire business model. Toyota is always willing to adapt and accept change to best benefit customers and provide a positive experience. The willingness to adapt is what keeps its business alive – and the strategy seems to be working, as Toyota displays a 71% positive rating, higher than the industry standard.
Toyota’s most recent move towards keeping with the times and driving positive customer experience includes the use of tablets in dealerships, alongside a swanky new app, to improve speed, ease of engagement and communication. The dealership sales teams use the app to match a person, via a series of questions, with their perfect vehicle. From the results, they can also easily recommend a series of personalised upgrades or accessories.
Handing control over to the consumer is often a great idea. - Highlight to share -
Handing control over to the consumer is often a great idea to help make them feel they are in control, although the business selects the format within which the consumer operates. The sales team has stood back and allowed the consumer to feel like they were in the driver’s seat of the decision-making process, all the while educating the consumer. It’s an age old concept – personalised recommendations – delivered in an innovative format.
In the United States, the race to perfect personalisation is well and truly on. Used car retailer CarMax has refined the search function on its website to bring the customer right through the decision-making process, and then allowing them to buy and have their purchase delivered to their nearest and most convenient collection point. This is a little like eBay’s move towards click and collect through Argos. This process focuses on delivering value to the customer without confusion and without the feeling of any real effort. Actually, it gives the feeling that the effort is being made on the part of the business rather than on the part of the customer (something you see in plenty of the most successful disruptors).
Customer service apps – help or hindrance?
Developing an app is often time consuming and can distract from straightforward customer service. However, if it’s something you can dedicate time to it can often really improve customer experience. It removes some of the human error aspects from the sales funnel and will also help define a customer’s journey through to a product or service. The data collected will further improve the customer experience.
Toyota, and the automotive industry in general, know that they have to focus on positive consumer experience, as they have seen a decline in ratings since 2012. With the streamlining of their online searching platforms in conjunction with the introduction of the interactive dealerships and app-focused experience ratings, the brand is showing a willingness to adapt and thereby deliver a more positive consumer experience. That’s what we’d call a good change.