Posted by: Ryan Schoenefeld | June 12, 2010

As Toyota Comes Back — Don’t Forget Where It Started

I recently read a Newsoxy Search Engine article by Bill Waters titled, “Toyota Chief Apologizes and Announces Quality Management Team,” which addresses the recent problems associated with the foreign auto-maker Toyota. Toyota’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Akio Toyoda is currently engaged in efforts to improve the classifiable crisis that they have been handed. As a result, he has begun communicating his goals and primary course of action–in efforts to improve their auto inspection process, and in a sense re-cultivate their image and overall customer standing. Toyota Logo

All-in-all, the collective Toyota entity has attempted to alleviate the situation by making a substantial apologize to all their customers. They are striving to reassure customers, that they are taking the proper steps to resolve the situation, and ultimately creating a structure that inhibits problems of this degree and magnitude, from ever happening again.

As this happens, I find myself wondering if their crisis initiatives will turn out to be successful in the long run. I cannot help but think back to the respective Tylenol and Odwalla cases, in which both companies arguably bounced back just fine; with each company possibly stronger than before the problems arose. Regardless of the outcome in previous companies faced with unforeseen turmoil, each set of circumstances is unique. It will be interesting to see if Toyota can regain their customer-centricity and enduring loyalty that has developed over the years.

Nonetheless, Toyota Motor Corp. commenced their controlled dialogue, by announcing a quality control plan to address current problems and prospective ones; not to mention, being proactive and transparent is always a respectable approach from the onslaught of a crisis. They are also considering a worldwide recall that would include the newly manufactured Toyota Prius hybrid.

This contradicts Toyota’s original message, because right away Akio Toyoda said the recall would only affect several models, in varying regions and wouldn’t embody the consumer favorite Prius. In light of his original statements, heightened anxiety may be flourishing among current Toyota owners, especially considering they don’t know exactly what is going to happen. Mr. Toyoda even went on proclaiming that their vehicles are safe and that they fully value their customers.

Personally, this situation is even more surprising considering the reputation of longevity that Toyota has established; not only as a company, but specifically regarding their cars. Over the course of 30 years, they have effortlessly maintained best customer service ratings in the entire car industry. Although, recent troubles may potentially taint their foundation, loyal customer mentality and overall optimistic image.

As I previously mentioned, Toyota is looking to improve their inspection process and maximize their customer support structure, by seeking experts outside of the company. They also revealed a new system for enabling quality control management, by ultimately controlling the message and opening communication channels with selected regional authorities.

Now that the crisis has taken hold, Toyota seems to be running in the right direction. At least they are acknowledging the problem; they are also looking to maintain customer loyalty through measures to keep them temporarily satisfied. You can never truly prepare for a situation like this to arise in an organizational setting, although transparency, honesty, flexibility, enduring concern, and a desire to help and nurture customers back to health, especially during the most pressing of times, is without a doubt an excellent place to start.

Image Credit: Google Images, Toyota Logo

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