Lexus Sweden builds brand trust through customer conversations

Summary

Reviews have become integral to driving awareness for the Lexus brand, and play an important part in enhancing the customer experience.

  • Bringing effectiveness and credibility to marketing communications, and boosting customers’ engagement with the website
  • Leveraging a direct and transparent customer interface to enhance customer centricity and relations with resellers
  • Creating a powerful platform for customer advocacy

In 2011, Lexus Sweden became the first automaker in Europe to use reviews to bring the customer’s voice directly to its public communications, with the help of the Bazaarvoice Conversations solution.

Since then, reviews have become an integral component in driving awareness for the Lexus brand. They also play an important part in the company’s ongoing efforts to enhance the customer experience and service offering.

Bringing effectiveness and credibility to marketing communications, and boosting customers’ engagement with the website

According to Anders Drakenberg, Marketing Manager for Lexus Sweden, reviews add an unprecedented level of authenticity and credibility to the company’s marketing communications.

“We communicate with reviews instead of just using traditional marketing because authentic customer commentary is more trustworthy,” explains Drakenberg. “People put more stock in what other people think and say about our products, not in what we think and say.”

The results bear out Drakenberg’s comments. During one three-month period in 2011, Lexus Sweden found that visitors to the company’s website who engaged with reviews had 35% more page views than those who did not and spent 122% more time on the website.

Today, Lexus Sweden is leading the way in making reviews an increasingly important part of a customercentric approach to marketing. The company features the voices of customers on almost every conceivable channel, including the Lexus Sweden website, retailers’ websites, Facebook, and traditional vehicles including magazines, newspapers and billboards.

“Our main positioning for our brand is two-fold – high technology leadership and satisfied customers,” says Drakenberg. “And what better way to communicate that we have satisfied customers than for the customers to say it themselves?”

Leveraging a direct and transparent customer interface to enhance customercentricity and relations with resellers

In addition to informing Lexus Sweden’s marketing communications, reviews have an impact on services to customers, because they provide the company with reliable information about what customers think.

“This is another way of capturing information that has traditionally been provided through online surveys and phone interviews,” says Drakenberg. “The big difference is that with reviews, they know their comments are actually published and heard.”

As part of the process of creating the best possible customer experience, Lexus Sweden maintains an open, positive dialogue with retailers. In rare cases where customers report a negative experience (their average rating is 4.7 out of 5), the company works together with retailers to identify productive ways to address customers’ issues.

“Personally, I think it’s more powerful to know if a customer has a negative response than to not know,” he says. “If you know there’s a problem, you can do something about it.”

Creating a powerful platform for customer advocacy

Lexus Sweden has embraced Conversations as a powerful platform for the company’s customers to express themselves and establish a direct connection with the Lexus brand. This has proven a successful strategy, with 99% of reviewers indicating they would recommend their Lexus, and with the average rating from customers being 4.7 out of 5.

For Lexus Sweden, these high ratings and recommendations are just a starting point. “Our objective is to take the customer experience beyond a rating of 5, to create active ambassadors for the company who spontaneously recommend us,” says Anders. “The fact that we have such good results and recommendations is a good start, but the final destination is beyond that.”

The bottom line

Lexus Sweden is using ratings and reviews to build brand trust among customers, and to encourage customer advocacy on behalf of the brand. Ratings and reviews allow customers to communicate about products directly and authentically. And they afford Lexus the opportunity to listen to and act on customer comments.

About Lexus

Launched in 1989, the Lexus marque soon became associated with quality, luxury and superior customer satisfaction. The brand reputation grew quickly until, barely a dozen years after its founding, Lexus became America’s best-selling line of luxury motor vehicles.

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