Toyota centres in Ashford, York, and Carmarthen have each won an Ichiban Award for excellence in customer service, selected from among 2,500 of the brand’s retailers across Europe.
The Ichiban awards take their name from a Japanese word for “number one” and winners of the award are those retailers who excelled in delivering the highest level of Toyota’s “Customer First” mindset.
Vantage Toyota York won the Large Retailer award category. Darren Binge, Centre Principal, said: “The award is a great reflection of the hard work and effort each team member has put in during such a challenging year. The ethos of creating a great customer experience, rather than simply giving a great service, has really shone through and it is a testament to the team’s ability to not only accept the need to change, but to embrace it wholeheartedly. We could not be prouder of their achievements.”
Motorline Toyota Ashford (Kent) won the Medium Retailer category. The centre implemented many initiatives which helped improve customer service, including a click and collect film to reassure customers that the centre was a safe place to visit, a film to highlight the all-new Yaris, community engagement via colouring competitions, ’how to’ car maintenance films, and employee engagement programmes.
Matt Brown, General Manager for Toyota Ashford, commented: “Every one of our team is so proud to have won this prestigious award. 2020 was a year that none of us will forget and despite the challenges, the team worked tirelessly to deliver a safe, warm and welcoming experience, always putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. It is great that all our efforts have been recognised in such a positive way.”
FRF Toyota Carmarthen won the Small Retailer category. Tim Horsley, After Sales Manager, said: ” As a relatively new centre of just over four years, with a brand-new dealership in new-build premises, covering a large rural area, we realised we needed a much closer relationship with our customers. This is instilled in all staff from the moment they join us. We also took practical measures to enhance customer service. For example, we realised it could be difficult for customers to find their way around our facilities, so we decided to change the reception area and welcome desk to make them a prominent focal point when you enter the centre. We also made sure an advisor is able to talk to customers at all times.”
This year’s Ichiban award ceremony will be held virtually on 10 June with 44 award winning Toyota Retailers connecting to TME’s Head Office in Brussels. As one of the most important events in Toyota’s calendar, it will be given full recognition by Matt Harrison, President & CEO of Toyota Motor Europe.
Mr Harrison commented on the crucial role of Toyota’s Retailers in the brand’s distribution business, “Toyota Retailers are our key partners and brand ambassadors and we will continue to work together as one team to transform our challenges into opportunities. Creating a memorable customer experience is a key pillar of our Beyond Zero company mission and we must continue with our retailers to strengthen customer lifetime value in order to become a successful mobility company”.
Agustín Martín, President and Managing Director, Toyota (GB), said: “The past year has been incredibly challenging for all retailers and we know that across the UK our centres have been pulling out all the stops to enhance the service they provide, to reassure customers and to continue providing excellent cars and services. Our UK Ichiban award winners thoroughly deserve to be selected as the best in Europe, as they showed remarkable ingenuity and enthusiasm in finding new ways to engage with customers and to do business in the way customers want.”