Enhancing the provision of service information to customers and repair shops in emerging nations
In emerging nations (such as Africa) where demand is growing rapidly, there are large numbers of customers who cannot read. Additionally, an extremely large number of customers take their motorcycles to familiar roadside service businesses (repair shops) to have maintenance and repair work performed.
Against this backdrop, Honda has developed word-less service information (in the form of a pair of leaflets) for customers in emerging nations as well as picture-based training materials as part of an effort to value customer in these markets. The leaflets, which comprise maintenance and repair editions, are designed so that they can be easily understood, even by customers who cannot read, so that they can enjoy their motorcycle with peace of mind over the long term. The picture-based training materials consist of a careful compilation of the minimum necessary work procedures so that instructors can offer training anywhere even electricity infrastructure is poor in the field.
Honda Manufacturing (Nigeria) includes a leaflet with each motorcycle sold. Working with associations of local repair shops, the company has also held 30 training tours to offer picture-based training since October 2011, reaching a total of 1,200 mechanics so far. During 2012, it will expand the program to cover the entire nation.
In addition to providing educational opportunities to the market in order to create an environment in which customers can receive maintenance and repair service whenever and wherever they need by going beyond dealer service, these activities help customers maintain the performance of their motorcycles and use them safely.
They also help make ownership more economical by improving fuel economy, lowering CO2 emissions, and lengthening the motorcycle service life. Going forward, Honda will strive to improve customer satisfaction by providing higher-quality service to offer peace of mind and trustworthiness to customers worldwide.
Japan: Honda Maintenance Station
In April 2009 in Japan, Honda Cars and Honda Auto Terrace, Honda's automobile dealerships, adopted the name "Honda Maintenance Station" to denote the full range of after-sales service available to customers. In addition to presenting a dealership atmosphere that is appealing to all customers, the dealers are aiming to provide a place where customers find it easy to seek advice about vehicle ownership and maintenance by providing easy-to-understand information about after-sales service.
In June 2009, dealers launched a series of bundled regular inspection services and the numerous car maintenance service menu in an effort to develop a closer relationship with customers. The number of members has surpassed 1 million in the two years and nine months since the program was launched.
Japan: Customer support via the Honda C-card
Honda offers the Honda C-card to provide an optimal level of service to customers at all times. As of March 2012, the card, which combines a point-based cash rewards program, preferred service for members, a charitable donation program, and other benefits with basic credit card functionality, had been issued to a total of some 870,000 members since the start of service in October 1995. Additional "Honda C-card Members" services were added in October 2006, including the ability to reference a vehicle's maintenance history and the ability for cardholders to notify Honda of their address changes 24 hours a day. We've also added a Honda C-card without credit card functionality as an additional choice for customers.
Donating funds based on Honda C-card usage
Each year since its introduction in 1995, Honda has donated a fixed percentage of customers' Honda C-card usage to the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Japan Committee for UNICEF. In 2012, these donations totaled ¥764 million.
Increasing service staff members' technical skills
A unique service education system
Honda offers a range of training for dealer service staff through the Honda Automotive Service Education System.
The program is based on Honda Automotive Service Training System (HAST), which incorporates not only technical but also customer service content in order to foster the simultaneous development of both technical and customer service skills. The program, which includes training in specialized subjects as well as training for full-time workers, meets the needs of a broad range of field staff.
Honda also offers the Body Paint (BP) Training Program for body repair and painting staff in order to foster the development of specialists in those areas.
Recently, we have been working to enhance the technical skills of service staff by increasing the percentage of these workers who hold Service Engineer certifications*1 and expanding a trainer program*2 designed to bring HAST training to the prefectural and corporate levels.
*1 Service Engineer certifications: A series of certifications for service engineers (comprising grades 1 through 3) granted based on trainees' completion of Honda Automotive Service Training and the highest quality qualification, HMSG (Honda Master of Service Generalist.)
*2 Trainer program: A program that builds on HAST training in order to offer trainer education to exceptional staff at the prefectural and corporate levels.
Overseas: Providing information about inspections in a way that meets individual customer's needs
Based on its desire to be No. 1 in customer satisfaction by an overwhelming advantage, Honda is working to offer optimal service to customers worldwide. Advanced service activities and approaches being used in various countries are shared with the rest of the world through Japan's Customer Service Operations and expanded in line with individual nations' characteristics.
Honda dealers offer regular inspections and maintenance in order to ensure customers can use their products safely and enjoy a feeling of satisfaction as long as they own them.
In the past, dealers in Europe and China offered inspections and maintenance based on product age and mileage. Starting in 2011, Honda updated dealers' business processes in an effort to meet diversifying customer needs by transitioning to a program of maintenance and inspections based on individual characteristics such as driving habits and vehicle condition.
By enhancing the method by which inspection and maintenance work is offered so that it better takes into account individual customers' needs, we believe that we can offer more fine-grained service and thereby help customers achieve a fulfilling life through cars. Going forward, we will bring the strong bonds that join customers and Honda to the entire world by broadening this program to include emerging nations.
Power product initiatives
Enhancing the way we provide service information to customers and dealerships: Consumer products edition
In emerging nations, where demand is growing rapidly, products are carried by businesses other than Honda stores, making it necessary to provide appropriate service information to general retailers. Even as we've been building a service network linking Honda stores, we've also enabled the direct distribution of the minimum amount of service information needed by general retailers and customers via the Internet. Specifically, we improved our engine information website to add consumer products information. We also asked for local feedback about the types and categories of service information that should be provided, and we selected, compiled, and otherwise prepared information based on that input. As a result, we began offering service information for generators and outboard engines in addition to engine information in fall 2010.
As of March 2012, this information was available in 43 countries, and it was being accessed about 13,000 times each month. Additionally, the website incorporates a mechanism for soliciting market feedback about needs related to information dissemination, site content, and product serviceability. These questionnaires make it easy for customers to submit requests and opinions.
Expanding an initiative to reduce complaints
Thanks to an initiative to address complains by soliciting customer feedback that was launched in Japan in June 2006 and subsequently implemented in Europe and the United States, the complaint rate (obtained by dividing the number of complaints per month by the number of power products sold over the last year) has been falling.
About six years of experience with this initiative has taught us that customer complaints and requests concerning our products exhibit great variety as a result of regional differences in culture, climate, and lifestyle, revealing significant differences in how products are used. Recognizing the breadth of those differences, we began developing similar systems in China and Thailand in April 2012 so that we could better gather customer feedback in those countries as well.
Specifically, a regular meeting to reduce customer complaints is held in each country on a monthly basis. In addition to facilitating the sharing among relevant departments of information about every piece of customer feedback received by customer service hotlines regarding our business operations, including products as well as sales and service activities, and the examination of improvement measures, these meetings provide a venue for reviewing the progress and results of those measures and ensuring that they are incorporated into a growing feedback database. We also work to eliminate customers' complaints at the source by investigating the root causes of complaints, identifying issues that need to be resolved, and implementing measures as the departmental level to do so.
Customer complaints that go beyond the regional level and have the potential to impact the power products business as a whole are identified and shared along with information about effective countermeasures among facilities worldwide.