March 2018
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Will Toyota Turn This Into An Opportunity?

Toyota is such an impressive company that they might actually be able to take advantage of their current problems. While definitely not in a desirable position, they may yet surprise us – for risks also present opportunities. 

One obvious opportunity lies in their contact with all of the car owners whose cars need to be repaired. The recall process presents Toyota with a superb chance to impress their customers – as this example, on a somewhat smaller scale, may illustrate.

Recently, I went out to dinner. We had reservations, but a mix up meant that our table was given to someone else before we arrived. The restaurant immediately offered to get us a table at another one of their restaurants and then ordered and paid for a cab to take us there. Less than fifteen minutes after walking into the first restaurant, we were seated at the second happily ordering our drinks.

The mix up was their mistake, but the situation could have gone several ways. Their nice response had several key points. First, they did not waste time arguing about fault. We were there to eat dinner at a certain time and their solution meant that we could eat dinner at that time.

Next, their solution was seamless and required no effort from us. We did not have to do anything. They called the cab. They paid for the cab. All we had to do was sit in the cab. When we arrived, the second restaurant took us straight to our seats and took our drinks order. 

Finally, their solution was efficient. We barely had time to look at the menu before the cab arrived and we were on our way. The trip took less than five minutes.

Toyota’s customers are generally very satisfied. The story would not be half as big, if it had not happened to exactly them. Toyota has already accepted fault. If they deal with their problems seamlessly and efficiently, they have an opportunity to impress their customers.

Mistakes happen. How you react can make all the difference. Our memory of dinner was of a very pleasant meal that included a somewhat unusual start. We’ll be back, and so, perhaps, will Toyota’s customers.

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