Pépite-Café AMARC : May 2021

From the verbatim to action: feedback of Toyota France on the Voice of the Customer


Thursday 6 May 2021

from 9:30am to 10:30am


By videoconference

Thursday 6th May, we had the pleasure of organising a Pépite Café AMARC with our client Toyota France. We invite you to relive this event through the replay video and highlights of the speech by Simon Boulogne, CEX Projects Manager, Data and Tools:

The importance of memories in the Customer Experience

Simon Boulogne (Toyota) – A few years ago, the transaction value (and the great marketing concepts which were associated) took precedence over the customer experience. This view was quite narrow: if we take only these criteria into account, we forget the heart of it: the customer. Now, customer expectations are changing, and the value of the relationship and the social aspect are very important.

Nowadays it is very important to talk about memories: « What do customers remember about visiting our dealerships or your stores, your outlets? »

To be able to create a link, certain elements are indispensable for the brand (or the company) and for the customer.

  • For the brand, there are the following characteristics in particular:

1. Manage to create an experience with the location, decor and visual aspects

2. Work on « the plot »: what the customer is going to be told, which story will unfold. This step is very important because it will ensure your customer remains interested by what you tell them.

  • On the customer side, we identify a process of appropriation in a few steps:

1. “Nesting” : confront the concepts which were detected with those we already know from our experience.

2. “Exploration” : investigate the differences, the competitive advantages of a certain store compared with another.

3. “Tagging” : give a meaning and a value to everything that has been experienced. It is during this phase that a relationship can be created, because the customer will be able to make up their own opinion, with their own emotions, memories… In the end, their memories will be as important as the transactional speech they are given.

A local and national strategy

Toyota being present worldwide, you might imagine great global, transcontinental strategies. In reality, the command is actually given at a more national, territorial or even local level. Toyota’s strategie really unfolds at the dealership level: we call this the BRIT (Best Retailer In Town) strategy.

« BRIT » is a management transformation program aiming to inspire managers in the dealerships through the customer experience prism, on issues related to:

  • collaborators’ engagement
  • customer centricity
  • respect for the brand’s founding values
  • business development

The idea is to be the best car’s dealer in town and even the best retailer all sectors combined.

The goal of the Toyota France headquarters is to inspire the dealerships, instill passion and propel this mindset throughout the whole country. Constantly improving whilst drawing on the value of feedback remain a founding value of Toyota: the « Kaizen ».

Toyota France’s daily actions concerning the Voice of the Customer

Five recurring actions are carried out on a daily basis at Toyota France:

  • Drive the dealerships on the Voice of the Customer
  • Execute internal studies to understand expectations better on at different levels: product, associated services or experience in the dealership…
  • Refine our training programs
  • Target our actions
  • Score our customer experience differently

Concerning the last item, we believe that classical indicators which have existed for several years just aren’t enough to measure the experience.

Complementing the NPS with a specific indicator: the « Sentiment Score »

Among the must-have indicators, the NPS can’t fully reflect the emotion, the value of the connection behind an experience.

NPS also has cultural limits: depending on the country you are in, the perception of scores and figures might be different. Only considering the NPS also raises a problem of reasoning. In the end, the number is almost equivalent to a yes/no answer to the question: « Did it go well? ». And this lacks a lot of meaning and « expression ».

ERDIL’s team implemented a specific indicator: the « Sentiment Score » to complement the NPS. It gives a value to the meaning and the tonality of the verbatim. By comparing the scores related to both of these indicators, we realised there were some disparities.

For example, a client might give an NPS score of 9 following a generally successful experience, ans at the same time have a fairly neutral sentiment score. This can correspond to the client’s wish for additional elements to complement their experience.

This delta is what creates the value in using thses two indicators !

Driving the dealerships with positive and negative verbatim

To engage our teams with these indicators, at Toyota France we have a Performance Quality Team with 7 regional managers, who help the dealerships to organise and animate Kaizen BRIT meetings.

It is very important they raise awareness of these principles across all the dealerships because some people will be very enthusiastic about these issues and others much less receptive.

At Toyota France, our aim is to have a real homogeneity: we would like each of our dealerships to provide a quality experience to the customers.

To achieve that, we drive our dealerships by sending them positive and negative verbatim through personalised reports or specific events.

Thanks to ERDIL’s teams proactivity, we could involve our collaborators around Valentine’s Day. On this occasion, we sent to all of our dealerships customer feedback from ultra-promoters talking about love (in French).

Feedback from our collaborators was very positive, a lot of them loved the concept. For continuous improvement, negative verbatim are more commonly mentioned. Therefore; it was a perfect opportunity for our collaborators to be able to see everything that is going well and the good things that need to be maintained.

We also wanted to tell all our employees in the dealerships: there are customers who love you and who say so!

At Toyota, we consider negative verbatim not as punishment but as improvement areas. Thanks to ERDIL’s tool, we can sort these negative verbatim by concepts to trigger local action plans for the dealership.

Sending monthly reports to the dealerships through E-letters

Every month, customer experience and Voice of the Customer evolution reports are sent locally: Kaizen Brit E-letters. We include various insights like:

  • an editorial with the topic of the month focusing on improvement or differenciation areas for the collaborators who would like to look further into certain points.
  • a reminder of how the surveys are conducted, in particular, pointing out the event leading to the survey.
  • metrics such as the negative verbatim rate and the sentiment score
  • all the positive and negative verbatim associated with the customer journey

Based on all this information, dealerships will be able to implement initiatives in different areas such as:

  • collaborator engagement, with improvements to premises, available facilities…
  • customer centricity, with dedicated activities in the dealership, attention to the decor, staging
  • improvement and development of little gestures and daily attention towards the customers
  • creation of experiences matching the brand’s values.

Concerning this latest item, at Toyota we are well-known for our hybrid technology. Sustainable development is also very important for us. Implementing iniatives that are actually visable to the customer will reinforce our willingness to talk about these issues.

Our employees in the dealerships can also take advantage of an internal blog, « Experience by Toyota », in which they can find turnkey experiences. They may or may not come from the automotive sector or dealerships networks.

Voice of the Customer displayed at the heart of our dealerships

The Voice of the Customer is a concept that is so important to us that we have launched a national campaign:

« It is by listening to you, that we improve »

This campaign was created in order to raise awareness about the customer experience and Voice of the Customer issues in all our dealerships.

Our aim is to make people understand, in a logic of continuous improvement, the need to both acknowledge the customers’ emotions and create an unforgettable moment. It is also a reminder of the fact we listen to our customers and we use their comments to improve.

This campaign was used to decorate our dealerships’ offices so that everyone could grasp the importance of listening to the customer at Toyota and that this principle would be transparent for everyone.

If we had to sum up this action plan, it would be to show that in the end, what really matters is our customers’ smiles!