Chuck Yaeger is the national customer satisfaction manager for Lexus, based in Torrence, Calif. and oversees all operational activities for the Lexus contact center located in the United States. He joined Toyota in 1987 and has held a variety of positions in sales, customer service and market representation both in the Toyota and Lexus divisions.
What unique customer care challenges do you face as an auto brand?
Living up to our customer’s expectations. At Lexus, we set the bar pretty high at the outset. We are constantly trying to figure out ways to exceed the customer experience at every touch point, whether it be with the vehicle, at the dealership or if they reach out to us here at the customer experience center.
What’s the hardest lesson you had to learn?
Not everyone is happy with a decision you make. In my role, you deal a lot with customers for sure, but it doesn’t stop there. You also deal with the field offices, the dealer, body and internal sources. When trying to solve customer issues, all parties are in the circle. Many times a complete agreement isn’t reached. That said, we make the decision in the best interest of the customer and the company.
How do you recharge your professional batteries?
It may sound strange, but just walking the floor gives me energy. I’m always impressed at the can-do attitude the customer service reps have—their job is tough. So when my day feels like it’s spinning out of control, it’s fun to get out there and listen in on a few calls, answer questions and just “locker room” with them in general.
What inspires you outside your work?
That’s easy, just lounging on the beach gives me lots of time to think creatively. And just so you know, I “beach” just about better than anybody. We live near the coast and frequent it a lot. We also spend two weeks in Santa Barbara during the summer. Quite frankly, there’s nothing better than a beach sunset in SoCal to get the juices flowing.
Disneyland also inspires me. It’s fun to sit on a park bench and watch people. Disney is obviously a case study on customer satisfaction, and it always just amazes me how the associates and customers always seem to be happy, upbeat and engaged no matter what.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in 2015?
The biggest challenge in the coming year—really the biggest challenge beyond 24 months—is moving the entire Lexus and Toyota call center to Plano, Texas. How do we move an entire call center from California to Texas while continuing a seamless experience for customers? That will be huge.