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Environmental & Social Report 2003


Relations with Customers

Schematic Diagram of Customer Responses

Toyota's Customer First Policy

Since its founding, Toyota has carried out corporate activities based on the concept of "the customer always comes first." This concept was declared in "The Toyoda Precepts" (established in 1935) which has been handed down as the Toyota Group's guiding philosophy. Toyota, including its dealers, makes a companywide effort to build relations with its customers, and all employees keep the "customer first" policy in mind in all aspects of their jobs.

See p. 4 for details on "The Toyoda Precepts"

Sales Group in Japan and overseas


Service Division

Toyota Japanese dealer


Production Group Quality Division


Customer Relations Division


Research & Development Group

Overseas Customer Service Technical Division

Overseas distributor

Amlux Toyota

Approach to Customer Satisfaction Customers' evaluations and opinions are an expression of their expectations of Toyota, so Toyota receives them sincerely and responds in good faith, in the belief that making use of them in its corporate activities will lead to customer satisfaction. Toyota always tries to grasp shifts in customer demands, constantly checking for conformity with its standards, and acting swiftly to resolve any discrepancies. The voice of the customer is quickly relayed to all related departments and divisions in development, production and sales, where they are helpful to product planning, raising product quality and improving Toyota's corporate activities. Wide-Ranging Information Gathering and Reflection in Development of New Vehicles Toyota collects customer evaluation data through wide-ranging information collection activities, including directly through consultations with customers, complaints from customers, and also through quality reports from dealers and questionnaires given to purchasers of new cars, as well as from the results of studies by third party institutions such as J.D. Power.* Furthermore, Toyota collects information indirectly from dealers and suppliers within the Toyota Group. In order to have the results of data analysis reflected as soon as possible in vehicle production, Toyota is strengthening internal coordination with research and development-related divisions.

*J.D. Power: An international consulting firm that specializes in customer satisfaction research

Customer Relations Division Initiatives The Customer Relations Division is "the division within the company in direct contact with customers needs." The staff place an emphasis on the voices of individual customers, through consulting with them and handling their complaints, striving to improve customer satisfaction. The Customer Assistance Center acts as a contact point within the company for customers and has consulted with or handled complaints from about 200,000 people this fiscal year. Toyota is in contact with its dealers throughout Japan to handle customer complaints, and makes a sincere effort to gain customer trust and satisfaction, striving to maintain and increase the number of Toyota fans. The Customer Relations Division also makes direct proposals to sales, research and development, and production divisions and holds discussion meetings with them, so that customers' voices can be useful in improving the company's products and corporate activities. Looking overseas, Toyota is supporting efforts at its distributors worldwide to strengthen and improve their systems for dealing with customers, as evidenced by the establishment of a Customer Assistance Center in TMCI, China in July 2002.

"Amlux Toyota" Functioning to Exchange Information with Customers Toyota Auto Salon Amlux showrooms function as a publicity arm of Toyota to offer consultations with customers about purchases and collect customer information to be forwarded to Toyota. In the showrooms, special consulting staff, called "Amlux Mirar," deal with customer relations, suggesting the ideal car for each person and providing information about it. The information gathered here is input into the database and provided as feedback to the development and sales divisions via the Toyota Intranet. "New car purchaser evaluation reports" are also a part of these efforts. Customers visiting Amlux salons are provided with a questionnaire to fill out, by which Toyota gathers frank opinions on exterior design, interior furnishings, and features, etc., which are relayed to the relevant divisions. In addition, from June 2002 Toyota started forwarding information to dealers regarding issues that many customers have voiced concerns or doubts about via satellite-linked terminals, called MU-BOX.

The Customer Assistance Center which acts as a contact point for customers


Introduction of a new model by Amlux Mirar

Relations with Stakeholders


Examples of Products Developed Using Customers' Ideas In the new model Caldina, which underwent complete redesign in September 2002, Toyota was able to incorporate many ideas from customers that it had gathered earlier, and improve the quality of many of the parts. Some of these ideas included: "a system to switch the color of graduations on the meter to suit customer preference," "independent seatbelt buckles for the rear seats to facilitate changing seat arrangements and easy fastening and unfastening of seatbelts" and "the adoption of a reversible deck board for higher luggage space functionality."

measures initiated; appropriate action should be taken regarding products that have already been sold to enable early detection and early resolution of issues. (3) Conduct audits to confirm whether each division is taking appropriate action to maintain high quality levels; work on any areas that require improvement. Providing Information to Customers Toyota strives to provide information about the quality and safety of its products and services to customers in a timely fashion, employing the following methods. (1) Direct explanations to customers by dealer staff (2) Labels attached directly to products and instruction manuals (3) Telephone consultation through the Customer Assistance Center (4) Disclosure of information on Toyota's website Procedures and System for Recalls In a case where product defects are discovered and it is deemed necessary to take measures to correct them, necessary responses from among the following will be implemented. (1) Contacting the authorities in accordance with procedures stipulated by the laws of each country (2) Notifying customers through newspapers or by direct mail and providing explanations at the dealer (3) Placing a notice on the relevant website (4) Collecting and repairing products free of charge In carrying out a recall, Toyota clearly spells out the procedures and urges the implementation of appropriate responses.

The Role of the Advisory Specialist for Consumers' Affairs

Shinichi Sasaki

Managing Officer in charge of the Customer Relations Division and the Quality Division, Advisory Specialist for Consumers' Affairs (ASCA)

Employees examining the deck board

Ensuring High Quality

Basic Policy Toyota places emphasis on making automobiles that reflect its policy of "customer first, quality first." The key to achieving this lies in Toyota's approach that ensures high quality across all divisions through the control of quality functions. Divisions ranging from product planning, development, production engineering and manufacturing to purchasing and sales & marketing are responsible for maintaining high levels of quality in their respective fields, and the leaders of each division meet every year to draft policies regarding quality functions. The annual policies clearly state the intention to achieve customer safety, satisfaction and happiness through Toyota's products and services. Toyota's efforts take the following three principal directions. Each division in charge cooperates with the Quality Division, which is dedicated entirely to ensuring quality, to promote initiatives. (1) All Toyota's products and services must meet customer expectations and comply with the laws of the particular country where business is conducted; and preventive action must be taken to ensure that quality or environmentrelated issues do not arise. (2) If issues do arise, the causes should be swiftly elucidated and counter-

Recall information on Toyota's Japanese website

Toyota has built a system for gathering market information from its dealers around the world. The Quality Division is in charge of analyzing this data and promoting countermeasures in related divisions. It provides explanations to the related divisions, including executive management, regarding measures against product defects, and also audits each division to ensure that appropriate action is taken and to solve any issues.

With the recent wave of corporate scandals, consumers are looking at corporations with an increasingly critical eye. Today, the attitude of placing the emphasis on the customer has become a major requirement for the continued existence of a corporation. Under such conditions, the role of the ASCA* as a pipeline between corporations and consumers is more important than ever in promoting the company's consumer oriented approach and the customerfirst doctrine. It is essential that the directly expressed views of what customers are really seeking, which are difficult to obtain from data and survey results, are conveyed to the company, and that discrepancies in awareness between the company and its customers are corrected. Currently (as of April 1, 2003) there are 144 qualified personnel within Toyota who provide advice on customerrelated activities and the creation of products. In March 2003, the Toyota Consumer Relations Advisors Meeting was held to exchange information and carry out reciprocal education activities. With vehicles considered to have a big influence on people's lives, the number of people consulting with Toyota regarding safety and other quality considerations has been increasing year by year. Based on this awareness, Toyota will continue activities aimed at understanding customers, centering on those employees with the relevant qualifications.

*Advisory Specialist for Consumers' Affairs (ASCA): A qualification officially approved by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Specialists are employed mainly in the customer relations divisions of corporations, government agencies and various kinds of organizations, where their role is to promote a consumer-oriented approach by consulting with consumers about complaints, and having the opinions of consumers and consumer trends reflected in the development and improvement of products and services.



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