Although most brands believe that convenience is the foundation of good
customer experience, they rarely understand that the ability to deliver
convenience is dependent on the brand's transparency and integrity.
As the new MyToyota mobile app proves, enabling a customer to manage his
or her own experience of a brand is the ultimate form of convenience. Yet, the
app is able to provide this only because Toyota SA's operational systems,
including its customer relationship management (CRM) platform, are fully
integrated. Customers are therefore able to interact with Toyota via the app as
though they were part of the Toyota organisation.
Giving customers this depth of interaction with its systems enhances
Toyota SA's transparency, thereby entrenching the company's integrity in the
mind of the customer. It also reinforces for customers their importance to the
company. And, because there is no other mobile app in the automotive industry
that provides the same extensive, integrated customer experience, the app adds
significant credibility to the company's slogan: ‘Lead the Way'.
As a very nice by-product, the app also streamlines operations for the
No surprise, then, that at its annual conference in 2014 the global
Toyota organisation acknowledged the app as a benchmark in the automotive industry.
The app was also among the 17 finalists for the 2015 MTN App of the Year
Awards, out of a more than 400 app entries
As digital technology has become progressively more embodied in the
automotive industry, particularly in terms of creating ‘intelligent' vehicles
that alert customers to such things as the need for services and new tyres,
Toyota SA realised that customers were not quite as connected to the
organisation as the vehicles they drive.
"It was time to reverse a general industry situation in which
vehicles are closer to their manufacturers and dealer networks than the
customers driving them," says John Thomson, General Manager of Service and
Parts Operations at Toyota SA.
"We wanted to empower owners to manage their experience with us and
we wanted Toyota enthusiasts to have access to comprehensive information about
"Overall, we wanted to take our CRM capabilities into an altogether
new league in which the customer's ability to interact with us actually becomes
an operational asset in that it makes us more efficient and
Aware of Toyota SA's connected customer strategy, Britehouse Automotive,
proposed the idea of a mobile app. An automotive software development
specialist, Britehouse Automotive has been partnering with Toyota SA for the
past ten years in creating back end systems that are fully integrated.
"We have been fortunate in that Toyota SA insists that its
technology suppliers function as close partners and not simply as suppliers –
and that the partners understand all the business's processes, operations, and
strategies," says Callie Human, Operations Director Britehouse Automotive.
"So, we've been intimately involved in developing a suite of CRM specific
systems for Toyota SA, including e-Toyota Plus for sales, Service Plus for
after sales, and CCC for customer care. We knew that the extraordinary levels
of integration within those systems would provide the ideal information source
for an app aimed at giving customers an exceptional experience."
Because of its unique integration of manufacturer, dealer, and group
back office systems, Toyota SA's comprehensive CRM solution gives the company a
holistic view of its customers in a single database. Having all the customer
and vehicle data in one place, with a complete interaction history, was what
made it possible to create an app that not only enables customers to manage
their own relationship with the company but also reduces operational complexity
for the company.
Working closely with the Toyota SA business and IT teams, Britehouse
Automotive wrote an easy-to-use, intuitive, and easily navigable mobile app
that enables customers to manage their own sales quotes and deals along with
their workshop interactions and services, call centre interactions, all
electronic communication, personal details, and interactions with Toyota
The app also contains features that make it easy for a customer to
‘enter' a Toyota showroom via a new vehicle catalogue, locate a dealer, and
book a test drive. The customer can access roadside assistance (real time with
the AA), extended warranty, service, and maintenance plans, and his or her log
Social functionality designed to meet the specific needs of the Toyota
community, the largest and most active automotive community in South Africa,
includes Toyota Events, My Calendar, My People, My Places, a Facebook feed, a
Twitter feed, a Toyota News Feed, and the Toyota Zone, Toyota's in-house
The link to family and friends, found under Utilities, allows real-time
tracking if the necessary permission is given.
The app can be downloaded at no cost from the Google Play Store for
Android devices and the Apple AppStore for IOS devices. Registration with an
e-mail address, ID number, and cellphone number triggers a One Time Pin to be
sent to the customer's phone for log in. The app then automatically links
existing vehicles to the customer profile, based on the last known owner
interaction with a dealer.
The business wins
Toyota SA has a world-beating customer experience delivery system that
covers the full range of a customer's interaction with the company. Early
feedback from some 20 000 customers has been so positive that the company
has plans to roll out a similar system for Lexus customers.
Plans are also in place to keep enhancing the MyToyota app with even
more features as the new customer relationships that the app makes possible
give rise to new opportunities.
In the process of improving customer experience, Toyota SA has been able
to optimise its own sales and service resources, enabling it to do more for