Surprise and Delight

The Lexus Guest Experience Center goes above and beyond when it discovers opportunities to engage with owners and the community

October 08, 2019
Happy Endings -- Lexus' online interaction with the Vandenbroecks (above) led to  a surprise for their wedding anniversary. 

“Lexus will treat each customer as we would a guest in our home.”

A mere 13 words. Yet this sentence, perhaps more than any other that forms the Lexus Covenant, has come to define the luxury automotive brand and its unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction that exceeds expectations.

It was true when Lexus opened its doors 30 years ago. And it’s equally true today.

Just ask Erika Romero, Operations and Social Media Marketing Manager of the Lexus Guest Experience Center.

“Our small but mighty team really does a great job handling more than one contact per minute, ranging from product questions to finding a local dealership and everything in between,” says Romero.

Back in 1989, such interactions took place almost exclusively by phone and written letter. Today, Lexus’ guest communication channels include email, chat, social care and FAQs — allowing customers to reach out in the way that best suits them.

Each month, the Social Care Team monitors as many as 25,000 Lexus brand mentions on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. The team replies to only 10-15 percent of those posts, focusing on situations that call out for Lexus’ direct involvement.

“A critical component of our process is to align with Marketing and Public Relations, what we call the ‘three-legged stool,’ ensuring we achieve our shared mission of creating ‘the best guest experience possible,’” says Romero. “Our humanistic approach and personal touch is what separates our brand from other luxury automakers. We don’t just provide a world class experience. We aim to demonstrate the ‘Lexus Difference.’”

Outside of case managing, the Social Care Team also looks for “surprise and delight” opportunities to enhance the guest’s journey by offering unexpected experiences. The following three examples illustrate that Lexus is just as passionate about its relationships with its customers as it is in the craftsmanship of its vehicles.

The Kid Who Knows Cars

The Social Care Team discovered a YouTube video posted by the parents of one-year-old Nicholas. In it, the father scrolls through several car photos on his laptop. Nicholas impressively identifies each of them by brand, including a Lexus IS.

In collaboration with Lexus Social Media Marketing, the team sent Nicholas a remote-control RC F from the Lexus Collection. A follow-up video captures his excitement as his father opens the box. The original video generated more than 60,000 views. The follow-up promises to create not only a lasting connection with the family but will also an awareness of Lexus’ thoughtfulness among thousands more YouTube viewers.

The Happy Couple

Inspired by Lexus’ “Experience Amazing” advertising theme, a Lexus team member jumped into a Facebook conversation between a husband and wife who were considering the purchase of an LX. While providing product details, the team learned that the husband was gifting this vehicle to his wife in celebration of their wedding anniversary. So they took it a step further and hosted a special dinner for the happy couple at a local steakhouse.
We Are Family -- It doesn't get much better than this. For these customers, Lexus isn't just a company that makes their vehicles. It's part of their extended family.

The Story of Lexi

Sometimes potentially tragic moments can also open the door to “surprise and delight” opportunities. Take, for instance, a post shared by Rachel, who at the time was involved in a car accident. She inherited her RX from her mother and stated, “it saved my life” and “I think it’s safe to say I’ll be getting another one.”

The team reached out to hear more about Rachel’s situation.
From Trauma to Gratitude -- For this customer, the Lexus RX wasn't just a hand-me-down used vehicle. It was a life saver.

“Anyone who has been involved in an accident understands that it can be a difficult situation to get through, so we wanted to make this process as seamless as possible for her,” says Romero. “We took note of all her preferences and introduced her to Nalley Lexus, her local dealer in Smyrna, Georgia.”

But that’s not all. The Social Care Team also partnered with “The Giving Keys” to create a custom necklace engraved with her previous RX’s nickname and the timeline of memories she listed in her initial Twitter posting. The necklace was sent along with Lexus apparel and a personal note.

“I really feel loved,” responded Rachel. “The key and the note honestly made me tear up. This was so much more than y’all had to do, and I’m very grateful.”
The Power of Empathy -- Rachel's story was an opportunity to demonstrate Lexus' core value of care for its customers. 

We could go on and on. And the Lexus Guest Experience Center does, day after day.

“Lexus is a big company that makes and sells hundreds of thousands of vehicles every year,” says Romero. “But it’s very important that we pay attention to the owner’s journey after they leave the dealership. We focus on each individual experience and want our drivers to feel less like customers and more like family. That’s the Lexus way.”

By Dan Miller

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