Culture of customer orientation — customer dedication. We sell our products and services in nearly all countries of the world. That is why we attach great importance to our ability to address in detail the partly very different wishes of our customers in every market. To this end, since 2013 we have been aligning and organizationally reinforcing our corporate structures to our five business divisions even more strongly. The corporate departments are also better aligned to the market requirements from the business divisions. For us, customer dedication is not a purely organizational measure but one with which we associate the goal of reinforcing the customer orientation culture throughout our entire company.
Improving customer satisfaction. All of our business units have established quality management systems for the continuous monitoring and improvement of customer satisfaction. Since 2006, we have been implementing the program “CSI No. 1 — Delightful Customer Care” on a sustainable basis. The program has a worldwide orientation and is aimed at making us Number 1 in customer service. Country-specific CSI action plans are agreed and implemented on the basis of international benchmark studies, internal data surveys, and customer surveys. Processes and behavior patterns in all sales stages and at all hierarchical levels are to be continuously and sustainably developed to ensure maximum customer orientation. Finding the right balance of rational and emotional elements is decisive for achieving the highest possible acceptance among all target groups. The measures include training courses, dealer consulting and coaching, and process improvements, as well as the integration of key figures relevant for customer satisfaction in the monetary control instruments in Sales and Marketing and in Service.
Mercedes-Benz Cars has become firmly established at the top of many rankings for years. Customer satisfaction at Mercedes-Benz Trucks has also been visibly improved since the introduction of CSI No. 1 in 2012. Accordingly, the Spanish and German national companies were ranked No. 1 in the industry benchmark in the area of sales; the French and Italian markets moved up to No. 2. In the area of workshop service, Germany and Spain also moved up from third place to being No. 1. It is planned to expand the CSI program to as many as 11 truck markets by the end of 2015.
In the course of the increased alignment of our corporate organization to the business divisions we have introduced a divisional key account system at Daimler Financial Services, which enables us to offer financial services that are customized to an even greater extent for our customers.
Mercedes-Benz growth strategy for marketing and salesMercedes-Benz growth strategy for sales and marketing
“Mercedes Benz 2020 – Best Customer Experience” is the name of the growth strategy we derived from the organizational restructuring of passenger car sales and marketing operations. The strategy encompasses numerous new approaches for sales, aftersales, and financial services. We strive to offer our customers a consistent premium brand experience across all points of contact. To this end, we employ a holistic approach for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars throughout the entire “customer journey.” Our strategy focuses on the following:
- Brand openings and personal contact with customers
- Digitization of all channels
- New differentiated sales formats and HR profiles for dealerships
- Personalized customer management across all channels
Internal vehicle quality study
Internal vehicle quality study (German acronym IFQS)
The Mercedes-Benz brand has always stood for technical innovation and high quality. In order to safeguard exactly this type of quality over the long term, we analyze feedback on the quality of Mercedes-Benz vehicles from our company car users and customers who obtained their vehicles via the Employee Sales system.
The goal of IFQS is to identify recurring defects and areas in need of improvement at an early stage and to determine whether the measures taken by quality assurance, development, and production units have a noticeable positive effect on the customer experience.
Every year, we receive reports on quality deficiencies via the IFQS online questionnaire from more than 50,000 company car drivers and Employee Sales customers in Germany, the U.S., and China. Some 900 staff members from development, quality, and aftersales units regularly use this data to optimize and refine our products. Thanks to IFQS, more than 410 new quality issues were identified in 2014 and over 380 causes of problems were analyzed – in many cases by directly examining the vehicles in question. In that same year, measures related to more than 230 IFQS issues were introduced in ongoing series production operations and changes were defined for successor model series with regard to approximately 440 issues.
Customer service and workshops: Those who buy our vehicles receive products of outstanding quality and wish to receive great service during the period of use, such as close contact with the customer service department, individual advice, effective processing of warranty and damage claims, first-rate maintenance, and optimum parts supply, Quick and targeted assistance is ensured by customer centers and service support points, which listen to customer concerns around the clock.
Customer services in the business divisions
The Mercedes Benz Customer Assistance Center (CAC) in Maastricht is the central point of contact for customer concerns and complaints regarding sales, service, and technology issues in Western Europe. At the CAC, approximately 600 employees ensure that customers receive fast and individualized assistance in their native languages around the clock. We also maintain local assistance centers in other core markets. One of the CAC’s key tasks is to coordinate Mercedes-Benz Service24h, which also includes the organization of breakdown assistance. When necessary, the center also tells customers how repairs or processes are coming along. This is an especially important benefit for commercial customers. The aftersales activities extend beyond the repair and service center business and are rounded out by service contracts, warranty extensions, and motor insurance.
The OMNIplus brand of Daimler’s EvoBus subsidiary operates a comprehensive, Europe-wide service network encompassing more than 600 service outlets for bus customers. In addition to operating a professional parts supply system, the outlets offer customers service deals and contracts, driver and repair shop training programs, pre-owned vehicles, and customized financial services. In mid-2012, OMNIplus introduced a new customer complaint management (CCM) system, which combines all of the customer service department’s complaint processing channels into a single unit that also enables the company to evaluate the complaints that customers make.
In the commercial vehicle sector, our Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) customers are served around the clock by the Fuso Call Center, which has been operating since 2010. Service at Fuso has also been improved by the Vehicle Delivery Management (VDM) system introduced in 2012. The system enables vehicles with a two-month production time to be delivered up to two weeks earlier. Moreover, because MFTBC vehicles can be configured directly at dealerships, sales staff can notify customers of the scheduled delivery date when they place their orders. In September 2013, FUSO also launched its “FUSO integrated total support” (Fits) project to improve its customer service even further.
The Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) Customer Assistance Center can also be contacted 24 hours a day. Technical support, breakdown assistance, and towing services are available throughout North America. The Freightliner and Western Star brands provide their customers with a closely knit service network that encompasses more than 800 dealerships, distributors, and service and repair centers in the U.S. and Canada. Quick parts delivery is ensured by DTNA’s comprehensive distribution network, which stocks more than 200,000 categories of spare parts at seven strategic locations. The network also serves customers of DTNA’s Thomas Built Buses (TBB) subsidiary. In order to further improve customer satisfaction, DTNA has also introduced a new Initial Buyer Tracking Survey system that generates customer feedback for specific vehicle systems.
Focus on individual wishes — for people with disabilities as well. For us, individual customer orientation means taking the needs and interests of our customers seriously. That is why no two vehicles rolling off the lines in our plants are exactly the same. The special Mercedes-Benz program “Ex-Factory Driving Aids,” which is offered in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg today, is directed at people with physical disabilities. The program offers steering and operating aids such as hand-operated gas and brake pedals, as well as vehicle entry aids such as hydraulic lifts for passengers. Mercedes-Benz currently operates 23 “More Mobility Centers,” where specially trained sales staff are glad to advise and assist customers. We are continuously expanding this network of service centers. In Germany, Mercedes-Benz also offers disabled people special terms for almost all passenger car model series. In 2012, Mercedes-Benz developed the “Educated Comfort” demonstration vehicle, adapted to the special needs of older drivers with adapted ingress and egress and improved vehicle loading possibilities. In the next step, the vehicles will be produced in small series for the market entry.
Mobility and driving assistance systems (Site only available in German)
Information and advertising. All our advertising, sales promotion, and sponsorship campaigns are subject to an in-house audit procedure to ensure that they are in compliance with the applicable laws and Daimler’s standards and codes of conduct. We also observe industry principles such as the European advertising sector’s Code of Ethics. As a matter of principle we avoid the use of violent, discriminatory, sexual, or religious elements in our advertising. Respect for foreign cultural norms and religious beliefs is a particularly important concern in our international campaigns.
Sustainability issues are increasingly taken into account in brand and product communications. For example, Mercedes-Benz’s BlueEFFICIENCY systems include a range of innovative technologies that enable a marked reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. The topic of sustainable mobility is also becoming increasingly prominent at motor shows. For example, in September 2014, the new S 500 Plug-In Hybrid and the new B-Class Electric Drive were among the product highlights at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.