Taking the time to care for each and every customer that we interact with
Times may change, but one thing that will not change is the passion Toyota devotes to maintaining its “customer first” principle. This is easily visible in the “One and Only Car” advertisement campaign, which started from a newspaper ad in 1969. The campaign was revived again from 2007 to 2009. In the more recent campaign, ads featured a Toyota sales representative, an engineer working on the development of a new vehicle, and a staff member at a dealership. The people appearing in the ads provided an explanation of how they commit to helping each customer every day.
Fast forward to 2020. While some may say that the relationship between people, their lifestyles, and cars have changed significantly, Toyota’s long-standing commitment to a customer-first approach has not.
In keeping the spirit of the former and current campaign, which launched in Japan from June 27, Toyota Times will highlight both Toyota’s cars and scenes from people’s everyday lives.
Previously, on June 27, Toyota Times published an article that explained the first advertisement that appeared in the paper with a hand-written message from President Akio Toyoda himself, which said “Thank you. May you have yet another ‘One and Only’ day.”
As this “One and Only Day” series expands, there will be posts that include true stories from real customers, dealership staff, and others.For today’s post, Toyota Times will highlight and explain the “A letter from Voxy” advertorial. The letter was originally published in one of Japan’s national morning papers on July 26, and was a touching story illustrating the desire of a dealership’s staff member to make their customers happy.
Children’s tears and a car filled with memories
The incident described here was a true story that occurred at the Netz Iwaki branch, located in northeastern Japan, a few years ago. The story is a familiar one: a family had grown attached to their beloved car, and when it was time to part ways, they were left feeling incomplete. To this particular family, their Voxy had become an important and trusted part of their family. It only made sense that the children would get emotional when it came time to say farewell.
Thankfully, the dealership staff identified the concern, and thought about how they could help. That letter the staff member wrote to the children showed a sincere desire to help the family with their transition to a new vehicle.
This desire to help goes beyond simple sales – it was about making someone truly happy.
Toyota Times did some research and learned that the letter came from the Netz Toyota Koriyama Nakoso dealership, specifically from Mr. Ohashi. When approached for this article, Ohashi said:
“I feel that I don’t have to be a salesman. My aim is not to sell cars at any cost. Instead, I choose to focus on making customers happy; I find that I’m happy when my customers are happy. I want to do something, even the tiniest thing, that would be of support to them.”
The idea of writing a letter came to him, he says, as he thought deeply how he could alleviate the pain the children must have felt as they went home crying. To write the letter, Ohashi consulted a colleague and searched for stationary that would hopefully appeal to the elementary school-aged children. However, he still wasn’t done; he decided that the letter would be best to come from the vehicle instead of a person. To be more convincing to the children, he included a photo of a carefully washed Voxy along with the letter and did not sign his name. He hoped that by doing all of these things the letter would look like it had been sent from the Voxy. While it was said that this was a letter, the truth is that Ohashi wrote a separate hand-written letter for both the daughter and son.
After he sent the letter, the next time he saw the children he was relieved to see that “the two children had returned to normal, and had come back to the shop with smiles on their faces.” Ohashi could not help smiling as he related the outcome of this incident.
Bringing materials to local elementary schools after the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011)
To provide some additional background on this particular dealer, the Netz Toyota Kooriyama branch is located in a town that had been devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The area in general had many people affected by the disaster.
During the aftermath of that disaster, Ohashi had been doing similar things to bring joy to others. He recounted how he had volunteered to bring everyday materials to local residents taking shelter in a local elementary school. Over the course of those activities, he developed a relationship with the children he met there, and they lovingly called him “the Netz man.”
His love for children and others in general was obvious as he said:
“Normally, mainly families come to our shop. One of the joys I have in this job is to have children spend their time here, but I want them to [spend time here] without being bored. I can’t help but smile when the children call me by my name, Ohashi-san!”
Ohashi is a shining example of what it means to do something for others to make them happy.
He is also the recipient of acts of kindness. Sometimes even customers bring him a little gift. “I’m just grateful when customers take the extra minute to come by the shop. Sometimes, customers even bring a souvenir with them, which I feel not just plainly thankful, but apologetic about.”
With customers like this, he said he really feels a strong desire to express his gratitude and say “Thank you”.
Typically, customers might believe that their salesman is there only for the transaction of the purchase of the new vehicle; however, Ohashi doesn’t see his relationship with his customers that way. As illustrated, he is constantly looking for what more he can do, just like what he did for the two children who were sad about saying goodbye to their beloved car.
Incidents like this come from a true desire to think of and help others, even the smallest of customers. Ohashi demonstrated his understanding that true sales performance comes from a customer-first focus and the happiness of the customer.
For Toyota, these are the types of stories that this refreshed “One and Only Day” campaign series will be highlighting. Please continue to follow along as Toyota Times brings you more true stories like this one, where Toyota team and staff members help each and every customer feel as if today is an important “One and Only Day.”