Toshiba's Employee-Centric Approach to Customer Loyalty

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The diagnostic imaging systems provider launched an enterprisewide customer loyalty training program to ensure that all employees deliver great service.

At Toshiba America Medical Systems, customer loyalty starts with every employee.

That motto is the foundation for every employee's customer interactions, and is also the theme of a newly launched customer loyalty employee education program.

Unlike Toshiba's previous customer loyalty education efforts, which focused only on communicating to department managers about customer service standards, the new program, "Customer Loyalty Starts With Me," touches all employees. The goal is to ensure that all employees understand that they are responsible for helping to maintain the company's service reputation.

Cathy Wolfe, senior director of corporate and strategic communications, says the company initiated the program to help step up employees' service levels and help launch service as a differentiator in an increasingly competitive marketplace. "One way that we build our brand is through our interaction with customers," Wolfe says.

Some elements of the program include:

  • Enterprisewide customer loyalty training that emphasizes the impact of interfacing with customers. The training started at the executive level and includes customer experience scenarios.
  • A voice-of-the-customer committee that addresses issues as they arise. Customer feedback is routed to the employee/dept responsible for resolving the problem etc etc.
  • "Customer Loyalty Starts With Me" posters mounted throughout headquarters and in field offices to keep employees focused on the message. Each poster features tips from employees who have been recognized for providing exceptional service.
  • A "toolbox" the company gave to each employee that's filled with devices to help them master customer service skills, such as a mirror to remind them to smile when talking to customers, and thank-you notes to conduct personal follow-up.

Wolfe says that 10 percent of the workforce, including service reps,, has been trained so far and the company plans to expand the program to the remaining employees and new hires. Finance, operations, credit, and applications will receive training next. She has yet to tie specific performance results to the training conducted thus far, but she adds, "A lot of people say that it's common sense, but it's common sense that you don't think of every day."

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