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 divisions 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, we aim to enhance the comfort and convenience of customers; thereby increasing their satisfaction by taking the initiative to make proposals and follow up in addition to continually enhancing the skills of our engineers and level of dedication to provide high quality products and services.
For customers in Japan, the Daikin Contact Center is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year for general inquiries from addressing repair requests to providing information and advice on our products from purchasing to technical consultations.
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." Through the establishment of Contact Centers and provision of technical information online, we are striving to increase customer satisfaction.
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 the base year.
In Japan, we conduct fureai surveys to assess customer support within after-sales services. In fiscal 2020, services received an overall high customer satisfaction score of 4.60 out of a total 5.0 points. 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."
We believe the main reason for the 0.03 points decrease from the previous year was the declined rate of response to and the scoring of commercial products.
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 2,000 people have passed the certification test for chief engineers. We are currently revising our certification examination system, with a plan to include quantitative evaluation of "speed, accuracy, and good manners" for service quality performance in the certification standard for fiscal 2021. In fiscal 2020, we did not implement the certification examination due to the transition stage of the new system.
We are striving to provide training and education that raises skill levels and produces service engineers who can carry out precise, appropriate work while ensuring their safety on the job, thus meeting customer demands in terms of technologies 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 the ASEAN/ Oceania region in 2017. Further, we have also introduced these programs in Europe.
We dispatch service experts from Japan to each country to conduct instructions on brazing, 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. We did not dispatch service experts in fiscal 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After holding the first Service Olympics in 2016 at which 28 service engineers from overseas companies in 20 countries were selected to compete, the skills contests where participants competed on repair technology and customer support service quality were held in China, Asian countries and European countries. This provides an environment for employees to work together in friendly rivalry.
In fiscal 2019, competitions were held individually in Central Europe, the U.K., and Thailand, and following the ASEAN/Oceania region, the first regional tournament was held in Europe.
Furthermore, in fiscal 2020, we planned to invite 40 engineers who won each regional qualifying round to compete in the second Service Olympics and display the results of their daily work, but this event was postponed to sometime around October 2021 due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are considering conducting the event remotely in case hosting the event in-person is difficult.
Going forward, we will provide an environment in which employees and engineers in each country and region are able to improve through competition.
In the four-year-long "Service University" training program for service engineers in Japan, 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. In fiscal 2020, there were 52 participants in their first year, 38 in their second year, 29 in their third year, and 30 in their fourth year. The training program is conducted via existing videoconference system even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 products, 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 is 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 is a total of 57 courses. As a COVID-19 preventive measure, we have switched the delivery of courses from in-person sessions to LIVE streamed sessions.
In fiscal 2020, we added two new courses: special training on the safe use of full harness to prevent falls when working in high places, and Daikin Online Training (DOT) Air Conditioning Basics. Approximately 1,600 people from both in and outside of the company participated in DOT Air Conditioning Basics.
Our environment-related solution training that deepens participants' understanding of the importance of environmental protection has been expanded to include all courses (except qualification acquisition and preparation courses) from the five conventional courses. The change is made since it is recognized as a training for "environmental pioneers," due to the nature of the training content that includes general knowledge of global warming and ozone depletion issues, cautions regarding the handling of fluorocarbons, and social demand for efforts to prevent global warming, which has attracted many participants.
In addition, the booklets distributed with the training have been replaced by online text since fiscal 2020, which resulted in reduction of paper consumption equivalent to 9,000 printed copies of the booklet.
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. In fiscal 2020, we collaborated with the Air Conditioning Sales Division in hosting the "Daikin's Updated Lecture on Fluorocarbon Handling" targeting dealers with certification for refrigerant destruction. We have enhanced our PR activities aimed at raising environmental awareness.
With Daikin 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.
For R&D in China, which is a primary base for IAQ products, we have been developing products to meet customer needs and lifestyles; for example, air conditioners that filter PM2.5, a major social 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 fiscal 2020, we promoted product development in collaboration with TIC, as well as established services utilizing data acquired with air quality and bio sensors and development of air quality improvement technology through external collaborative creation with DOSZ and Tsinghua University. We plan to launch trials for these technologies and services from within China in the future.
For R&D in Europe, as the primary base for space and water heating products, we developed distinctive products in fiscal 2020, such as air conditioner with expanded operating range in cold areas and heat-pump heating top grade with increased hot water temperature. Going forward, we will enhance collaboration with TIC such as through joint development on a reciprocal basis with an emphasis on "switching from combustion heating to heat-pump heating" as a priority theme in the Fusion 25 space and water heating strategy.
In North America, we established an R&D Center and in fiscal 2017, we opened 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.
In addition, in Silicon Valley and Shenzhen, we utilized open innovation labs to collaborate with local venture firms and start-ups and pursued industrial-academia collaboration with universities in Japan, such as the University of Tokyo and Osaka University, in an effort to development new business and explore new technologies.
Furthermore, with the establishment of the Technology and Innovation Center CVC Office, we are now able to cooperate with start-ups around the world with speedier decision-making processes. By quickly examining novel thinking, we will aim to swiftly create new products, services and business models.
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 products 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, Istanbul in Turkey, and throughout the world, we consult with customers while they are browsing actual products and energy management systems.
In fiscal 2020, we launched a virtual showroom fuha on our website for customers to experience the showroom and seek consultation even if they may not visit our showroom in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual showroom offers informative videos on the concerns customers may have or products of interest, as well as direct chat with dedicated staff through Online AC Consultation.
In addition, we also launched other initiatives for customers who are physically far away to experience fuha up-close through Online LIVE Tour that allows customers to see products online.
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.
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 we encourage customers who purchased products to join the Daikin membership site Club Daikin, which has around 300,000 members, through which we conduct questionnaires.
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.
In fiscal 2018, we added the option of customizable coatings of the front panel with a selection of 600 colors available in order to coordinate with the diversified interior designs.
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.
In fiscal 2018, we launched Karaie, which dehumidifies homes without manual draining, in response to customers who worry about the interior humidity while they are away from home for an extended time for the Japanese market.
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 business use, 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 divisions have identified "improvement of quality," "stable supply," "communication," "response to needs (development of new products)," and "environmental consciousness" as the main points to increase customer satisfaction, and aim 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 divisions 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 2020, we held eight online sessions of Fluorine Classroom for customers who have expressed interest.
In addition, our annual networking sessions of "Chemicals Customer Appreciation Meeting" and "Dai Fluorine Gas Meeting," which are normally held between top management where participants deepen interactions through the introduction of efforts for application development and functions of fluorine that lead to new application development, have been postponed in fiscal 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 divisions 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 divisions hold meetings that integrate business, research, and manufacturing, 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 2020, sales departments also held training and educational sessions on such topics as the environment (SDGs and PFAS), AI & IoT, and compliance.
The chemicals divisions will continue to train personnel so that they acquire a deep knowledge on the use of fluorine in various business situations.
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