Policies and Our Approach
Voluntary Declaration toward Consumer Orientation
The policy of customer orientation, which has been handed down from generation to generation since the company's foundation, is clearly stated in the Voluntary Declaration of Customer Orientation.
Voluntary Declaration toward Consumer Orientation
- April 2017
- Takeshi Niinami
- President, and Chief Executive Officer, Member of the Board,
- Representative Director,
- Suntory Holdings Ltd.
Under the corporate philosophy, we will offer products and services that pursue highest quality and enrich the lifestyles of people around the world and contribute in realizing a sustainable natural environment.
We strive to be a Growing for Good company that is a good corporate citizen and trusted by the customers following this corporate mission.
(1)We will offer products and services that create harmony with the customers
The Suntory Group values bilateral communication with customers based on the customer satisfaction first mentality. We respond sincerely to the opinions and requests that we receive from the customers. We are strengthening initiatives that connect to developing and improving better products and services.
(2)We will pursue safety and reliability from customers' standpoint
Grounded in the Suntory Group All for the Quality Policy, we will continually work to maintain and improve quality in all of our processes, from planning and development of products and services to material procurement such as water, agricultural products and packaging to manufacturing, distribution, sales, and services. We strive to improve the quality of our product and services while preventing quality risks through the Quality Assurance Committee which promotes quality management in the entire Group.
(3)We will utilize customer feedback in our business activities
We share the invaluable information and opinions received from our customers quickly throughout the Group to reflect that feedback in our corporate activities and the actions of our employees from improving products and services to strengthening risk management.
(4)We will strive to provide information to the customers
We are promoting accurate indicators and easy to understand expressions for the labeling of our products, promotional materials and advertisements. We also work to enhance information on our websites for customers themselves to search for online in addition to the communication received through the Customer Center such as telephone calls, letters, and emails. We will offer information about quality in an easy to understand manner for the customers.
(5)We will foster a culture and awareness among employees to take action from the viewpoint of customers
The Suntory Group will continue its Customer Satisfaction Cultivation Activities in our attempt to foster a corporate culture in which all of our employees keep the viewpoint of customers in mind in their work. We hold training programs for all employees, including those in divisions that have few opportunities to hear the views expressed directly by our customers.
Voluntary Declaration toward Consumer Orientation Activity Report
The results of initiatives and improvements made to activities based on the above-mentioned Voluntary Declaration of Customer Orientation are published on an annual basis.
Basic Policy on Customer Satisfaction and Course of Action
We stipulated the Basic Policy on Customer Satisfaction in 1999 in order for each and every one of our employees to take action while always recognizing the goal of providing customer satisfaction. We formulated the Course of Action for our Customer Center in 2002 to be put into comprehensive practice by all of the Customer Center staff.
Basic Policy on Customer Satisfaction
We strive to realize, maintain and improve customer satisfaction in every way through various activities to fulfill the responsibility as a member of the society. We value communication with the customers and provide safe and reliable products and services that bring joy to the customer and gain their trust, while providing information and implementing customer feedback to our business activities.
Course of Action for Customer Center
1.We will respond to customer inquiries and complaints in a timely, accurate and sincere manner while being fair and just.
2.We will proactively provide reliable information that brings satisfaction to the customer.
3.We will incorporate feedback and requests of the society in the company.
4.We will comply with laws and our own standards to protect the rights of the customer.
Customer Response Standard
Suntory Holdings Ltd. and 12 Group companies* have formulated a Course of Action that follow ISO10002 (JIS Q 10002) as a working mindset for acting according to the basic policy and course of action. We recognize the right of customers to make inquiries and complaints in these regulations, which are clarifying the active efforts and responsibility to respond to customers with the objective of maintaining and improving customer satisfaction through our corporate activities. In addition, we will formulate and thoroughly familiarize employees with standards and procedures based on this course of action.
*Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd., Suntory Foods Ltd., Suntory Beverage Solution Ltd., Suntory Foods Okinawa Ltd., Suntory Products Ltd., Suntory Spirits Ltd., Okinawa Suntory Ltd., Suntory Business System Limited, Suntory System Technology Ltd. Suntory Global Innovation Center Ltd., Suntory Corporate Business Ltd. and Suntory Field Expert Co., Ltd. ,(as of July 2023)
CREDO (SUNTORY MIND for Customer Service)
The CREDO (SUNTORY MIND for Customer Service) was formulated as a doctrine for customer service in 2013 to embed the basic policies and course for action in the hearts of each and every employee in their daily tasks. We created this CREDO with all the staff at the Customer Relations Division in an effort to cultivate a climate that nurtures activities able to satisfy the customer.
The Suntory Group values two-way communication with the customers in the belief it has held since its founding that customer satisfaction should be given top priority. In 1976, we opened the Consumer Department to handle inquiries from customer. The office now operates as the Consumer-Oriented Management Department of Suntory Communications Limited. We respond sincerely to the opinions and requests that we receive from the customers based on the Voluntary Declaration of Consumer Orientation. We are strengthening initiatives to more widely reflect this feedback in our corporate activities, including improvement and development of better products and services.
Communicating with Customers
Since our founding, we have been prioritizing customer satisfaction. We value regular communication with the customers and reflect their feedback in our corporate activities.
Responding, Sharing and Utilizing Customer Feedback
Our Customer Center uses a proprietary information search system to respond quickly and accurately to customers so that those who make inquiries are not left waiting.
By recording the inquiry and our response in our core information management system upon receiving the inquiry, valuable information from the customers is shared immediately with relevant departments to enhance quality and improve risk management.
We periodically share the feedback we receive from the customers with relevant departments to strengthen our VOC activities* that reflect this feedback in our corporate activities and employees course for action, which includes improving our products and services and enhancing our provision of information.
*VOC (Voice of Customer) activities: Activity to reflect customer feedback in management policy.
Flow of Consumer information
Customer voices to our Customer Center (Results of 2022: Approx. 74,000)
*1Complaints: Includes expressions of dissatisfaction by customers about products or corporate activities
*2Inquiries and feedback: Includes a wide range of questions and opinions expressed by customers other than complaints
Valuing Customer Feedback for Product Development
We are aiming to improve quality, product development and the provision of information through incorporating opinions and requests from the customers. Having a point of view of the customers is crucial in developing products that are safe and easy to use. We carefully listen to the feedback of the customers, and aim to provide kinder, gentler products to all people. We listen to customer feedback carefully and use it to continuously improve our products and services. Customer feedback regarding products of other companies and products in other categories are shared with the development division to stimulate new findings from a wider perspective and make prior checks from the customer’s point of view.
<Examples Utilizing Feedback in Products>
Roll label on PET bottles now uses newly developed glue that makes the label easy to remove
In response to our customer's feedback that pointed out that the label on PET bottles is difficult to remove and leaves glue residue, we have developed glue that makes it easier to remove the label while maintaining adhesive strength. The new glue will be used for a wide range of products.
Renewed bottle for Iyemon green tea "Ocha Dozo" withstands both heating and cooling
Iyemon green tea "Ocha Dozo" is popular for its PET bottle that is suitable for being served to visitors during the coronavirus pandemic. At the request of customers who want to heat the bottle up in cold months, we have upgraded the bottle that can be used for both cold and hot tea. To indicate the bottle can now withstand both heating and cooling, we have added a description saying "It is delicious either hot or chilled."
[BOSS Cafe Base] Reviving a graduated bottle
When we discontinued the scale that served as a guide for the amount of pouring so that customers could enjoy it at their preferred strength, we received requests from customers to bring it back as it was useful. We have therefore brought back the scale so that customers have an option to either pour freely or use scale as a guide.
[All-Free] Placing “purine-free” information on the front of the can
Since the "purine-free" information was removed from the front of the can due to the renewal, we have received inquiries from customers asking why the "zero purine" information has been removed. In response to this, we put the "zero purine" information back on the front of the can.
[Green tea "Iyemon"] Posting a notification on our website to inform customers of a deposit forming on the bottom of the bottle
As we received inquiries about a sediment found on the bottom of the "Iyemon" bottle, we have placed a notification on our website to inform customers that matcha used for "Iyemon" is stone-milled and leaves a sediment on the bottom the bottle, which plays an important role in bringing out the true taste of green tea.
[Maker’s Mark] Posting on our website instructions on how to open red sealing wax
In response to inquiries about how to open the red wax seal of "Maker’s Mark," we have posted an explanation of how to open it on our website. In addition, a guide to the website is provided on the back label.
[Horoyoi] Changing the design of "Iced Tea Sour" and "Cassis and Orange" to make it easier to distinguish between them
At the request of our customers, we have revised the design to make it easy for customers to distinguish between "Iced Tea Sour" and "Cassis and Orange" at a glance.
Expanding communication outlets: Use of Digital and Social Media tools
We work to enhance information on the Customer Center website leveraging videos and illustrations for customers who prefer to search for information online, in addition to the communication via telephone calls, letters, and emails. English inquiry form is also available to respond to inquiries from overseas customers.
Communicating Our Consumer Oriented Initiatives To Society
The Suntory Group actively communicates its Consumer oriented management philosophy and initiatives through various media and activities.
Voluntary Declaration of Consumer Orientation and Activity Report
In April 2017, we revised our customer oriented philosophy and initiative policies passed down since the founding of Suntory to draw up and release Voluntary Declaration of Consumer orientation. The specific activities that we have undertaken based on the declaration are reported to society in the Voluntary Declaration of Consumer Orientation Activity Report. We were awarded the Commissioner award in January 2020 for the 2019 Award for good practices of consumer-oriented management hosted by the Consumer Affairs Agency.
As a company that discloses its Voluntary Declaration of Consumer Orientation, we have provided the declaration and content of activities on the Customer Affairs Agency website.
Employees with Customer Oriented Mindset
In order to promote Consumer Oriented Management, we conduct enlightenment activities for employees for nurturing customer oriented mindset.
Continuing to Meet Consumers Expectations
We focus on Customer-oriented Enlightenment Activities and culture-building, with the aim that each employee will deepen his or her understanding of changes in customer attitudes and interests, and be capable of delivering products and services that exceed customer expectations.
Overview of Internal Enlightenment Activities
*VOC : Voice of Customer
A Series of Online Seminars
The social environment is changing drastically and what customers expect from companies is also changing constantly. Against this backdrop, we have launched a series of online seminars that look at customer feedback on various themes we set for the purpose of understanding the changing needs of customers and applying leanings to our customer-oriented thinking and acting in each of our business segments.
Through these seminars, we aim to further understand the customers’ interest and the background behind the feedback we receive, and leverage this information to improve our customer-oriented mindset as well as to gain hints for our on the ground activities.
Consumer Oriented Behavior Promotion (Nurturing of Work Ethics)
Enlightenment Seminars for Suntory Group Employees
We hold the Customer Oriented Brush-up Seminar annually for all employees. Each employee listens to voices including the words of encouragement from Customers and is presented with examples of Customers oriented activities being undertaken at each site in the company to deepen a Customer oriented mindset and encourage action. In addition, seminars at each Group company nurture a Customer oriented mindset and action in all of the activities at the Suntory Group.
Real-time Monitoring of Customer Calls by Management
Suntory provides a program for management to listen to calls from customers received by the customer center in real-time. Managers in charge of each department can hear the questions, concerns and opinions that customers have about Suntory products and services in daily life.This puts in place an opportunity to utilize all of this customer feedback to better address their needs.
Customer Month - For Enhancing Suntory’s Customer Oriented Spirit
Designating every May as Customer Appreciation Month, we all rethink what we can do for our customers. Each department discusses "who are their customers" and "what they can do with their customer-oriented approach." In addition, each employee writes down what he or she can do on their "My Voluntary Declaration Toward Consumer Orientation Cards."
Assigning On-site Customer Relations Promotion Leaders
Beginning in 2018, we have assigned "Customer Relations Promotion Leaders" to play a central role in further penetrating and establishing customer orientation, particularly at sales offices that have many direct points of contact with customers.
Talent Development at Every Level
As a part of our Talent development program Suntory University, we carry out training in line with the career path of each employee. At first, during new employee training, participants will learn about the Suntory Group's Customer oriented spirit that has been continuously passed down since its foundation. As mid-level employees, by listening to the voices of our customers in groups and discussing their thoughts and expectations, we learn about the importance of customer orientation. Employees who are being promoted to manager are practically taught important Customer oriented decision-making techniques such as through group discussions based on case studies.
Enhancing Opportunities for Employees to Listen to Customers
We engage in activities to strengthen opportunities to share customer feedback with employees, even those who have less opportunities interacting with customers directly.
Sharing Voices of Customers via Intranet and Email
We share customer opinions and requests widely within the company on a weekly and monthly basis via the intranet and email, with the aim of having all employees respond to customer opinions about our products and corporate activities and link them to their own work and actions.