Customer Satisfaction and Product Safety
Creating New Quality Value
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Konica Minolta's Approach
Background and Issues
Long-term customer relationships are essential to the success of Konica Minolta's businesses in office equipment, medical devices, measuring instruments, and other products. In the service business domain in particular, we need to stay close with our customers even after providing services by responding to their increasingly diverse and sophisticated needs and anticipating potential challenges.Consequently, Konica Minolta understands the importance of visiting customer sites in order to build trusting relationships, foster collaboration, and provide solutions to problems.
Konica Minolta uses customer feedback to improve its products and services. The company strives to strengthen its relationships by helping customers achieve their unique goals. Konica Minolta aims to continually improve customer satisfaction and form strong relationships that result in a positive reputation and new customer referrals.
Konica Minolta will continue to incorporate design thinking to derive the value truly sought by customers and provide products and services from a more customer-focused perspective.
- Continue conducting satisfaction surveys and implementation of improvements based on these results
Working to Improve Customer Relationship Management
Earning more trust and a higher appraisal from customers by building long-term relationships
Continuous after-sales service is necessary for products such as IT devices, medical devices, and measurement devices handled by Konica Minolta. The company is determined to increase the confidence and trust of its customers through this kind of long-term relationship and hopes to establish rapport that will lead to customers recommending Konica Minolta to other potential customers. That is why the company actively gathers feedback from customers, has established a system for using it to improve products and services, and is attempting to enhance customer relationship management Group-wide.
Specialized Organization Closely Connected to the Customer Created to Provide Customer Value
We have created a specialized organization to increase the speed of decision-making and implementation of mounting and build stronger relationships of trust with customers in areas such as industrial and textile printing, where requests for customization from customers are frequent. The specialized organization works closely with the development, quality assurance, customer service, and business divisions to communicate directly with customers, which enables it to quickly respond to special media, provide optimal customization of workflows and software, and make functional improvements that increase equipment reliability. These customer-focused efforts and requests have helped us to increase customer print volume and the number of new installations.
Global Deployment of NPS® Surveys to Measure Customer Relationship Management in the Business Technologies Business
In 2012, the Business Technologies Business created a Customer Relations (CR) Division and adopted Net Promoter Score®: NPS®* as a target indicator. It developed its own scientific approach, adding NPS® to the conventional customer satisfaction survey and deploying it globally. Today, the results are being utilized to improve product and service quality.
In fiscal 2017, a transaction survey system was introduced to ascertain customer satisfaction with point-of-contact experiences, such as telephone inquiries and repair service, and to obtain NPS® for these points of contact. In fiscal 2019, the system was expanded to more countries, and in fiscal 2020, a service improvement process was started based on the system. It will enable the needs and negative experiences of every customer to be ascertained in real time, in order to make rapid improvements. The Division is working to further improve its NPS® by developing PDCA cycles to address overall issues brought to light by the NPS® surveys, and individual customer issues identified by the transaction survey.
- Net Promoter Score®（NPS®）: an indicator that measures the percentage of customers who recommend the company and its products and services to others. . Net Promoter Score® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.
NPS® survey has expanded the number of countries in which it implements PDCA cycles. As of April 2023, the program has been deployed in 25 countries, including Japan, the United States, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. The NPS® survey results have improved every year since the full-scale global survey in fiscal 2014. In fiscal 2017 the score was 9 points higher than in fiscal 2014, thereby achieving the high target that was set. The fiscal 2018 score fell to just 6 points* above fiscal 2014 level, but by fiscal 2020 the score was back up, to 11 points above the fiscal 2014 level. In fiscal 2020, the score improved by 11 points over fiscal 2014. However, in fiscal 2021, NPS® declined significantly* due to a drop in customer satisfaction related to product delivery and toner shipping. In fiscal 2022,NPS® improved in Japan, Asia Pacific, and some regions of Europe, but declined compared to the previous year, although the decline stopped in the U.S. and some European regions in the first half of 2022. Konica Minolta takes these results seriously and will continue to work to regain its customers’ trust by pursuing customer care projects and other measures.
- Due to a global hardware shortage and toner supply delays caused by toner production accidents at Konica Minolta in fiscal 2021, which greatly inconvenienced customers
We also measure customer satisfaction in our Healthcare and Industry businesses and leverage the results to improve product and service quality to satisfy customers.
Creating a Quality Assurance System in Service Business Areas in the IoT Era
In service business areas, the company believes it must shift from product quality assurance to service quality assurance and establish the most innovative processes. Services are different from manufactured products as they lack physical form, their quality cannot be checked in advance, and they highlight the importance of process in addition to results.
Consequently, it is a challenge to predict and manage highly reliable quality.
Based on this shift, the company is working to build a service commercialization process. This will include building and establishing quality standards suited to the features of products in this area as well as creating management guidelines. This effort aims to create a mechanism for quality assurance for the entire life cycle of the service business. It also provides training on skills needed in the IoT service business to develop human resources skilled in process management.
Konica Minolta is developing service businesses in proximity to its customers, with sites all around the world. A global outlook is crucial for creating a mechanism that ensures strong quality assurance worldwide.
Creating Customer Value through Design Thinking
Developing Quality Improvement Activities from the Customer’s Perspective
The staff of Konica Minolta's sales companies are in daily contact with customers. As part of the company's effort to improve quality from the customer's perspective, sales company staff participate in sales company joint evaluations and take part in evaluating quality in the development stage. In addition, since fiscal 2017, C-PIUZ* activities have been conducted to obtain the candid opinions of customers regarding quality. These activities allow staff from the quality assurance and development departments to visit customers together with sales company staff. Through this activity, employees gauge customer feedback and make use of this information to improve products and services.
Additionally, Konica Minolta uses design thinking to uncover the value that customers are truly seeking. In fiscal 2018, it established processes and methods for hypothesis verification in the development stage, and to determine whether the value is actually recognized by the customer once the product is on the market. The results are applied to the development of products and services from customer perspectives.
- C-PIUZ: Customer-Problem In Using to Zero, a unique Konica Minolta initiative to reduce quality problems that occur when customers are using the product.
Promoting Service Development Using Design Thinking
Led by the Design Center, and with cooperation from the business divisions, Konica Minolta is introducing design thinking and developing value-added services based on a customer perspective, rather than a manufacturer's perspective.
Design thinking is the process and mindset of defining issues based on empathy for the customer, generating ideas based on issues, and refining value.
Through the incorporation of design thinking, Konica Minolta is promoting service development from the customer's perspective in its B2C business areas like planetariums and in its B2B business areas such as healthcare and factory equipment maintenance. For example, the company's factory equipment maintenance service involves visiting the customer site and meeting with various stakeholders, and accompanying staff on actual equipment inspection patrols. This enables Konica Minolta representatives to experience the customer's workflow for themselves. After identifying potential issues at the site, the representatives perform a process of iterative hypothesis-making and verification. The customer is then presented with an easy-to-understand proposal for the safe equipment maintenance they need, with a focus on the experience they can expect. A new solution can also be created with the customer, one, for instance, that makes gas and heat usage easy to monitor, which may then lead to maintenance service development. Konica Minolta will continue to pursue the creation of value that customers are truly seeking, in various business areas. It will also produce innovation that contributes to the identification and solution of challenges for society and local environments.
■A team works to develop services using design thinking
System Built to Provide Globally Uniform Support
Many customers running global businesses centrally control at their head offices the maintenance and management of IT systems, including MFPs used in offices around the world. When requesting support from a device manufacturer, there are times when the head office, as the single point of contact, and the office actually needing support are in different regions. Accordingly, device manufacturers must also establish a global structure to provide accurate and timely support.
This is why Konica Minolta has built a new system to provide globally uniform support. Support staff assigned to sales companies worldwide have been organized and the contact point for customers has been centralized at the Global Support Center (GSC). By using purpose-built IT tools, support requests received by the GSC are shared with personnel around the world, resulting in timely and appropriate support with the dispatch of local customer engineers to handle hardware issues and specialized staff members providing remote support to solve software issues. Further, the level of service is homogenized by creating a globally shared database of inquiries and the results of responses.
CR Masters Program: A Program for Developing Personnel With Strong Customer Relations Skills
The Customer Relations Department of Konica Minolta's Business Technologies Business has established a CR Master’s Program, an education and certification program that systematizes the company's unique customer relations activities with the purpose of improving the skills of personnel who promote customer relations at sales companies around the world.
Later, the sales companies that participate in this program requested that a training program be made available to all employees, not just customer relations members. Konica Minolta met these requests in fiscal 2017 by establishing Customer Relations White Belt, an e-learning program that provides an overview of the customer-centric approach and action guidelines for front-line members.
Clear and succinct training materials were prepared in both English and Japanese, and shared with all sales companies. They were well received by those companies, which have already started using them for training. Translations will be needed for several sales companies where the local language is not English or Japanese, but these materials have already received high praise from sales companies that have begun the training.
In fiscal 2020, Konica Minolta opened a community site for CR promoters, aiming to improve the quality of CR activities globally by sharing examples of CR activities in each country.
A screen from the e-learning material for the Customer Relations White Belt
Implementation of Training, Including for External Partners, to Raise Support Quality
The Business Technologies Business is determined to provide a consistently high level of service to customers everywhere in the world. To that end, it conducts various kinds of technical training on products for the Group's own customer engineers and also for external distribution partners.
In Product Service Training, trainees acquire the skills and knowledge essential for the installation, setup, maintenance, and repair of each products. The training includes two different learning methods: instructor-led training to boost practical skills and knowledge acquisition via e-learning.
Konica Minolta's own technical license certification program, Outward, is designed to keep improving the technical skills of customer engineers. This program is organized into five certification levels starting with Associate and going up through Professional, Expert, and Master to Diploma. It enables the gradual upgrading of skills, from the acquisition of the basic knowledge needed to provide support for Konica Minolta's products to the mastery of high-level specialized skills.
By making these training programs available to more and more engineers worldwide, the Konica Minolta Group will continue to fulfill customer satisfaction globally.
Promoting the Adoption of Remote Maintenance
Products provided by the Healthcare Business are used in life-threatening medical settings, so there is a need for especially rapid responses to product failures and problems. Konica Minolta has established a call center that is operating around the clock, every day of the year, to eliminate interruptions on the medical frontlines. The company established key performance indicators (KPI) focusing on reduction of customer wait time on the phone, improvement of the call center's ability to resolve problems on its own, and improving customer satisfaction. It works to provide better services in all of these areas.
As part of that effort, the call center in Japan has been actively promoting the adoption of remote maintenance for the quick resolution of problems by remotely operating products at customers' locations through the Internet. This allows problems to be fixed remotely without having to send out customer engineers, while reducing downtime for products and services and shortening diagnostic interruptions in healthcare settings.
In fiscal 2021, around 70% of the calls received by the call center were from customers using remote maintenance. As a result, downtime has been shortened by about 50,000 hours per year,*1 representing an approximately twofold reduction in downtime compared to fiscal 2010. The use of remote maintenance has also cut down on driving by engineers, thereby lowering gasoline consumption and CO2 emissions.
In fiscal 2017, Konica Minolta became the first company in the Japanese healthcare industry to obtain COPC certification,*2 and it will continue to maintain and develop the quality of its call center by meeting the strict certification standards.
- Calculated based on Konica Minolta's indicators
- COPC certification: An international quality standard for call centers only provided to organizations with outstanding performance.
Remote Maintenance System
Reduction in downtime