Daikin measures the degree to which customers are satisfied with after-sales services and utilizes this information to improve customer satisfaction. We are engaged in enhancing service engineer technical capabilities and improving the level of support for customers under a basic policy aimed at "the ultimate in quality service through speed, accuracy, and good manners" in the Service Division responsible for maintenance and other services.
The Daikin group philosophy states that our mission is to identify and realize our customers' future needs and dreams, even those that they themselves may not yet be aware of. By providing high quality products, materials, and service, as well as proactively proposing new products, we want to not only improve convenience and comfort for customers, but also increase the level of customer satisfaction.
At Daikin, the Daikin Contact Center is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year to take repair requests and offer technical advice on air conditioners to customers around Japan.
Having established Contact Centers overseas, we are building up our after-sales service system so that customers can get the service they need according to the situation in their particular country or region based on Daikin's slogan of "speed, accuracy, and good manners."
In fiscal 2017, we opened a dedicated B2C Contact Center in the UK to strengthen the heating business. Going forward we will establish Call Centers, provide technical information on the Internet and conduct training to enhance the quality of support.
At Daikin, we attempt to understand the degree of service satisfaction using the degree to which customer satisfaction with after-sales service has improved compared to fiscal 2015 as a benchmark.
* Degree of satisfaction with fiscal 2015 (1.00) as the base year.
In Japan, we conduct surveys after service has been completed to assess customer support with aim of improving customer service within air conditioning after-sales services. In fiscal 2017, services rendered during the summer busy season (June–August) received an overall customer satisfaction score of 4.49 out of a total 5.0 points, the highest score to date compared to 1.11 in fiscal 2015. We believe this result reﬂects our education and training in such areas as "enhancing technical capabilities" and "improving our response to customers" as well as priority measures including "speed from reception to completion" and "repairs completed in one visit."
Note: Results of responses online as well as on postcard-sized surveys that are sent to a random sampling of customers one or two weeks after they receive servicing. Weighted average on a scale of 5.
Service engineers' individual technical expertise is crucial to providing quality service. In addition to basic training on air conditioning service quality for service engineers, we conduct a variety of training for each management level and job description and provide education necessary for acquiring certification.
In Japan, we hold workshops and giving technical assessment tests to all service engineers. Our rule is that service engineers must be certified with a minimum level of skill before they can do repair work alone.
To further improve their abilities, we hold high-level training for chief engineers. So far, a cumulative total of 1,600 people have passed the certification test for chief engineers.
We are striving to provide training and education that raises skill levels and produces service engineers who carry out precise, appropriate work on the job, thus providing customers with what they demand in terms of techniques and skills.
Overseas, we also introduced service engineer certification systems and educational programs among other efforts to promote systematic regional unification, launching programs in China in 2016 and in ASEAN and Oceania in 2017. Further, we have plans to introduce these programs in Europe in 2018.
We dispatch service experts from Japan to each country to conduct brazing instruction, diagnose failures and provide technical guidance on repairs for key personnel to improve service quality. We provide a foundation and support enabling key personnel to continue developing these efforts in their own country.
In fiscal 2017, six service experts from Japan were dispatched to Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and France to conduct 10 training sessions over 30 days to 50 service engineers.
After holding the first Service Olympics in 2016 at which 28 service engineers from overseas companies in 20 countries were selected to compete, in 2017 the first skills contests where participants competed on repair technology and customer support service quality were held in China, Asian countries and France.
Further, in 2018 we are planning skills contests in Italy and at major European sales companies as well as regional competitions in the ASEAN and Oceania regions.
Going forward, we will provide an environment in which employees and engineers in each country and region are able to improve through competition.
For service engineers in Japan, in the three-year-long "Service University" training program, just like in university, participants can choose the courses right for their job. They also have regular tests to ensure they are retaining what they have learned.
Also, at service bases across Japan, teams are created that compete against each other in the annual Service Awards tournament. There, teams are quantitatively judged and awarded for their level of service in areas such as speed, accuracy, and good manners. This makes for a fun and rewarding way for service bases to raise our ability to offer customer satisfaction.
Quality of installation work is also an important aspect of customer satisfaction when using air conditioning. Daikin Industries, Ltd., has six training centers around Japan where we hold a variety of courses so that distributors can learn design, installation, and service techniques. We develop training programs to improve the installation and service skills of Daikin engineers as well as dealers.
With the goal of offering customers service that is practical and easy to understand, and offering this service in a pleasant manner, the centers use the latest simulation machinery, videos, and other instructional tools to provide training that simulates actual working conditions and situations. To foster technicians at dealers in extremely cold climate regions, where demand is growing rapidly, we opened up Daikin Training Center Tohoku and Daikin Training Center Sapporo, where we hold hands-on training in areas such as air conditioner installation and servicing.
The training includes specialized courses geared to the particular desires of participants from the dealers and repair outlets. There are systematic step-up training to improve trainees' levels, solution training that helps dealers meet their diversifying needs, solution seminars aimed at improving customer satisfaction, and certification/preparatory classes. There are a total of 51 courses.
There are five environment-related solution training courses that deepen participants' understanding of the importance of environmental protection. Trainees in these courses receive eco-booklets, which contain general knowledge on global warming and ozone layer destruction, handling fluorocarbons, and steps to mitigating global warming. These issues are expanded on in the courses.
Another way in which we strive to raise customer satisfaction and ensure safety among Daikin workers is to continue to offer more and improved training; for example, seminars for new employees at group companies in Japan and skills training for dealers of overseas group companies.
With the Daikin Group rapidly accelerating business expansion around the world, it is important that we raise customer satisfaction by accurately and promptly grasping customer needs in each world region and reflecting these in our products. To this end, we are switching from an air conditioner development system centered in Japan to a decentralized one in which regional bases conduct product development and research, and we are stepping up our worldwide market research. Since opening R&D centers in China and Europe, we have been gradually stepping up development functions at bases in Asia, Oceania, and North America.
In China, we have been developing products to meet customer needs and lifestyles; for example, air conditioners that filter PM2.5, a major problem in China, indoor units especially for kitchens that filter strong oily smoke, and indoor units for bathrooms with improved dehumidifying and drying functions.
In North America, we established an R&D Center and in fiscal 2018, we plan to open the Daikin Open Innovation Lab Silicon Valley. In addition to creating product differentiation combining the technologies (inverters, multi-units, refrigerants, etc.) comprising Daikin's strengths to air conditioning products unique to North America, we are planning to promote new value utilizing advanced AI and IoT technologies in North America.
Daikin aims to propose optimal solutions that make customer lifestyles more comfortable.
To anticipate future customer desires amid increasingly diverse lifestyles, we believe it is essential that product designers and engineers deepen communications with customers to get a direct sense of their needs. At our Solutions Plaza facilities located in Tokyo, Osaka, Shanghai, New York and throughout the world, we consult with customers while they are browsing actual products and energy management systems.
Requests, complaints, and other information obtained by the Contact Centers is recorded in a database. Information regarding the opinions and requests that sales representatives obtain from customers is shared among the Quality Division and relevant departments, who investigate causes and establish countermeasures to improve products and after-sales services.
Specifically, in fiscal 2017, we focused efforts on promptly sharing information, including market reactions after new products went on sale, to sales and product development divisions, which was then utilized in creating the next products aimed at making customers happy.
Each division conducts customer surveys to enhance customer satisfaction.
In order to determine customer needs and levels of satisfaction, we gather opinions on products on the Daikin website. We also gather information by questioning customers visiting volume retail outlets, and by having Daikin air purifier users be product monitors. For residential air conditioners, we use a research company to regularly conduct awareness surveys among purchasers to research trends in brand image and changes in awareness.
We utilize customer opinions in the development of new products.
In fiscal 2017, in response to requests for stylish air conditioners from customers who "want to remodel their home to become more fashionable but don't know what to about the air conditioner," we developed risora residential air conditioner offering designs that pursue harmony with interior design and offer the latest features.
With a body only 185mm thick, this model pursues comfort of space and is equipped with the latest features, including vertical airflow, ceiling airflow and premium dehumidification, features culminated in the Urusara 7 energy-efficient air conditioner.
The risora residential air conditioner design and functionality have gained a strong reputation in Japan and overseas, winning the fiscal 2017 Good Design Award and the international design award iF Design Award 2018.
The cocotas multi-cassette-type air conditioner for small spaces that went on sale in fiscal 2017 is for small spaces such as washrooms, kitchens and study rooms that have no air conditioning, a product born from customer comments (dissatisfaction) about having to put up with heat or cold in the past.
This is an air conditioner for small spaces in response to customer feedback including "I lose my appetite when frying food in the hot kitchen" and "I get sweaty when using the hair dryer in the bathroom after getting out of a hot bath."
The cocotas was selected for the Good Design Best 100 in the Good Design Awards.
Even after sales, we enhance after-marketing with feedback from dealers and contractors on product usage and are anticipating future needs by looking at recent housing information.
Commercial air conditioners used in offices, shops and hotels are advancing with a variety of features that consider comfort, energy-saving and convenience.
At the same time, remote controls are becoming more complicated, making them difficult to understand by seniors and foreign visitors to Japan, two groups that have been on the rise in recent years, resulting in an inability to use the air conditioner in the way they expect.
The intuitive remote control used for the FIVE STAR ZEAS series of air conditioners for stores and offices released in April 2017 have a limited number of buttons and the LCD display can be changed to make operation easier for the user.
In addition, the display languages include Japanese, English, and for the first time, Chinese, as well as pictograms for those who speak other languages. In addition to the FIVE STAR ZEAS series, the remote controls can be used with multi-split type air conditioners for commercial buildings, realizing intuitive remote control operation easy for anyone to understand in a wider range of settings.
The Daikin Group incorporates universal design (UD) into product development to enable even the elderly and physically disabled to operate products with ease.
Daikin Industries, Ltd. constantly strives to ensure that UD takes into account the needs of users by developing products with the realization that UD and monotsukuri are one and the same.
In December 2012, Daikin Industries, Ltd. began providing an application, Daikin Smart APP, that allows users to control air conditioning using a smartphone. The application allows control not just from within the room; users can also easily check air conditioner operation, turn it on or off, and switch modes from an outside location.
We also created universal design guidelines to ensure applications were easy and stress-free for anyone to use. Through a usability test, we sought the optimal button size and layout for preventing operation errors.
In April 2014, we made available for download the Daikin Home Controller APP, which allows control of air conditioners, the Eco-Cute (a gas water heater), floor heating, and other home appliances from a smartphone or mobile information terminal.
Applications allow operation of multiple products from a smartphone
The Chemicals Division has identified "improvement of quality," "stable supply," "cost," and "response to needs (development of new products)" as the main points to increase customer satisfaction, and aims to gain greater trust and satisfaction from customers by continually assessing information regarding the level of customer satisfaction and making improvements accordingly.
While the fluorochemical products produced by the Chemicals Division are highly advanced and highly functional materials, molding/processing them can sometimes require specialized methods. Not only do representatives of the Technical Service Department visit our customers to explain about our products, but we also conduct customer-oriented training seminars, titled "the Fluorine Classroom," to explain about the special properties of fluorine materials, and we hold product study sessions to guide them on the molding/processing methods using the facilities and equipment available to the company.
In fiscal 2017, we held four Fluorine Classroom sessions covering plastics, rubber, and paint.
In addition, we have vastly increased the amount of product information on our website in efforts to share more about the features and safety of our products. Inquiries from customers via our website are handled by sales representatives, who share the details of these inquiries with Daikin divisions related to technical service, research and development, quality assurance, and environment and safety.
The sales representatives of the Chemicals Division need to listen to researchers and product developers, who are Daikin customers, about the product functions they seek and offer them the ideal products for their needs. In order to optimize product functions in accordance with the circumstances of these customers, it is essential to have diverse knowledge of such things as processing methods, amount of additives, and temperatures.
For this purpose, once a month the Chemicals Division holds meetings that integrate business, research, and manufacturing, sales performance announcement meetings, and training sessions. The goal is to share not only business information, but also knowledge regarding products, related laws and patent information. By giving concrete examples of product applications and use, as well as relaying customer needs, these meetings aid in the development of new products and applications. They also give sales staff a deeper understanding of product features so that they can provide customers with new solutions.
In fiscal 2017, meetings were held on topics including the acquisition of patent information, chemical substance regulations (PFOA, REACH), quality assurance systems and overseas trade operations.
The Division also makes use of the "Fluorine Classroom" customer education program as an opportunity for personnel to educate themselves and deepen their knowledge.
The Chemicals Division will continue to train personnel so that they acquire a deep knowledge on the use fluorine in various business situations.
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