Steven Eagell Toyota, Listers Toyota and John Roe Scunthorpe have been recognised among the Toyota franchise’s European elite – winning its annual Ichiban Award for outstanding customer service.
Three dealerships operated by the trio of franchisees were selected from more than 2,500 Toyota European retailers to receive an award at a virtual ceremony hosted at Toyota Motor Europe’s Head Office, in Brussels.
Ichiban means ‘number one’ in Japanese and is reserved for businesses which demonstrate a commitment to putting the customer first.
Toyota said that John Roe Scunthorpe had won its award in the Small Retailer category, in recognition of a positive workplace culture, with strong customer loyalty.
Former Centre Principle, David Bird, said: “The reason Scunthorpe John Roe is successful is the great staff who work as a team, caring for the clients and each other, as a family.
“It’s always been the same, meaning the staff don’t wish to leave, giving continuity which clients enjoy and they then become friends.’’
Listers Toyota in Nuneaton won an award in the Medium Retailer category, scoring particularly highly on the employee retention survey completed by its staff, while also showing great customer loyalty.
Richard Burt, Centre Principal for Listers Toyota, said: “I am extremely proud of the whole team on achieving the Ichiban Award.
“All members of staff work very hard to ensure our customers receive the best possible experience, whether they are purchasing a vehicle, servicing their current car, or utilising our parts department.”
Steven Eagell Toyota in Chelmsford won an award in the Large Retailer category, performing well across multiple awards criteria.
Group chief executive, Steven Eagell, said he was “delighted and extremely proud” to win the prestigious Ichiban Award.
He said: “This success is testament to the team’s absolute focus on delivering the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
“Having customer service at the top of the agenda of daily team meetings ensures we are continually striving to improve all aspects of the customer experience.”
The presentation of the Ichiban Awards to Toyota retailers came at a remarkably strong period of trading for the Japanese brand and its premium sister brand, Lexus.
Bucking June’s new car registrations decline of 34.9%, published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) earlier this week, Toyota’s volume rose 2.7% (11,638 car sales) while Lexus sales rose 13.6% (1,361 vehicles).
The brand's success may well be set to continue with the recent application of discounts of up to £4,000 to owners of older vehicles to trade-up to a brand-new car through the launch of its own scrappage scheme.
During the Ichiban Awards’ ceremony the winning retailers were given an insight into Toyota’s research and development activities and future technology trends.
Gerald Killman, the OEM’s vice-president of R&D, said: “We in R&D do our best to deliver great products.
“However, it is our retailers who bring the direct value to our customers through outstanding customer service.”
Dr Johan van Zyl, the president and chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe, recognised all the assembled retailers for their outstanding achievements, stressing the importance of listening to the customer’s voice to deliver memorable experiences for every customer who connects with the Toyota brand.