TOYOTA HONOURS ITS TOP-PERFORMING RETAILERS WITH ICHIBAN AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE
Three of Toyota’s UK retailers are among 46 from across Europe which have received Ichiban awards for excellence in customer service. Hodgson Toyota Newcastle, Burrows Toyota Barnsley and Helensburgh Toyota received their honours at a ceremony in Rome last week, hosted by Toyota Motor Europe.
The awards are presented annually to retailers in 34 markets across the continent, in recognition of exceptional performance in customer recommendation in sales and after sales. Their name, Ichiban, is from the Japanese okyakusama ichiban, which means customer first.
In this their 10th year, the focus of the awards has been changed from customer satisfaction to customer recommendation through the provision of an exceptional customer experience. This is underpinned by retailers delivering services based on “doing what is right for the customer”. Europe-wide, around 2.300 retailers were eligible for the awards.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Johan van Zyl, President and CEO Toyota Motor Europe, said: “We don’t only want to be number one in the hearts and minds of our customers, we want our customers to be number one in the hearts and minds of everyone in our retailers. Customer recommendation is not a statistical exercise, it’s about connecting to our customers and creating one-to-one relationships with them.”
Gary Mulvaney, of Helensburgh Toyota, said: “We have a passion for looking after customers not just because they will come back, time after time, but when you are part of the community your reputation matters so much. Helensburgh Toyota is at the heart of our community. It is a welcoming place to be, for people to pop in, have a coffee, chat and where they are looked after. We have done it that way for nearly 40 years.”
Steve Davidson, of Burrows Toyota Barnsley, commented: “We are delighted to have been awarded an Ichiban award for a second time in three years and we believe our success is down to the whole team’s belief in going the extra mile with each and every customer. Ichiban means ‘customer first’ and that’s exactly how we treat every customer that walks into the showroom – every customer is important regardless of whether they come in for a warranty or service or to buy a new or used car. I believe that the fact that we care about every customer shines through in our service.”
David Lowes of Hodgson Toyota Newcastle said: “ We are very pleased to receive this recognition. It reflects the continuous investment by all the Hodgson Toyota Team to ensure that all customers have the very best experience at every touch point with our company.
Our company ethos of continual improvement with a human element ensures that we strive to understand our customer’s requirements. By doing such we can deliver their personal requirements at the highest level.”