Introducing the history of Shiseido's consumer support, which has been promoting consumer-oriented management since its establishment.
In order to respond to changes in consumer purchasing behavior and new needs that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shiseido Japan has shifted its business model to one that fully utilizes digital technology. In line with this shift, the Shiseido Consumer Support Desk linked up with Online Beauty, a comprehensive online beauty consultation service, so that customers can select, depending on their needs, either “Beauty Consultation” or “Inquiry about Cosmetics in General or Company Shiseido” on the web screen. More so, to further enhance customer convenience, we introduced a browser-based chat service in addition to the existing official LINE account. Customers can select either a chat operator or an AI chatbot (AI Mimi-chan) from the menu. If customers choose to talk with a chat operator, they will be connected to a Personal Beauty Partner for a beauty consultation or to a Shiseido Customer Support Desk communicator, both of whom are professionals in their respective fields, for an inquiry about cosmetics in general or Shiseido Company.
Affected by the spread of COVID-19 in 2020, we introduced a home-based telephone system for the " Consumer Support Desk " in January 2021. When introducing the system, we verified and scrutinized the usability of the system, as well as the network environment and voice sound quality. We also prepared product information for the "Mirror" (introduced in 2011, see below) so that even at home, where we are unable to check product itself, we can successfully operate the remote telephone support system. In these ways, we have ensured the quality of our consumer support. Even under the COVID-19, we were able to continue responding to calls without closing the "Customer Support Desk" and also contribute to improving the working style of the telephone communicator.
The Telephone Relay Service is a service that allows users to communicate using sign language or text chat. We introduced it to help customers with hearing impairments or other disabilities contact us.
“LINE Beauty Consultation Service” was rated three stars, the highest rating, by web-based Beauty Consultants in the HDI Rating Benchmark Survey (Chat-Channel Contact Rating), sponsored by HDI Japan. “LINE Beauty Consultation Service”, which responds to consumers' personal inquiries, requires "five chat-handling skills" (deciphering ability, text ability, search ability, conversation ability, and personal PC skills) + "beauty knowledge and counseling skills," in order to communicate in textbooks. We are working to improve and maintain the quality of our consumer service by repeatedly reviewing and training and regularly conducting skill checks.
With the aim of continuing to operate the "Consumer Service Desk" even in the event of a major earthquake or other disaster in the Tokyo metropolitan area, we established the Osaka Office and started telephone services at two bases.
We further evolved “LINE Beauty Consultation Service”, which started in February 2018, and introduced “AI MIMI-chan” in January 2019. “AI MIMI-chan” is an AI chat bot that responds immediately to simple questions from consumers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Beauty Consultant in LINE has since been linked with a Web Beauty Consultant that handles personal consultations, and through working with “AI MIMI-chan” , we have built a system that allows consumers to consult anytime, anywhere. “AI MIMI-chan” personifies a new Web Beauty Consultant who is learning to support consumers. Her name means “beauty” and "ear" to listen to the voice of consumers as a beauty professional.
Since 2012, we have been offering web chat services on PCs and smartphones. In February 2018, we evolved into a beauty consultation service through LINE so that we can support more consumers. This has led to an increase in new touch points with a wider range of consumers including young people and men. In addition, we provide new value by combining the convenience of LINE with the consultations provided by beauty consultants who respond to each individual's requests, leading to continuous access and being able to ask questions and check the responses anytime.
Since 2013, in “the Quality Monitoring Division”, we have won the three stars for three consecutive years. In 2016, in addition to the three stars, we also took on the challenge of the five stars, which are highly evaluated for our company-wide customer response system, and we were able to obtain both. At the Five Stars, the infrastructure (information, environment, and systems) is secured to provide high-quality service to customers. In particular, we were highly evaluated for the establishment of an in-house feedback system to maximize the use of customer opinions in corporate management and marketing.
In order to listen to the voices of consumers, who are constantly changing, we began monitoring social media, such as Twitter, in 2011. In 2015, we established the official twitter account" to respond to customers on Twitter. At present, we do not only respond to inquiries but also call on those who are in trouble, such as "I don't know where to purchase." We also give compliments to tweets, such as "The store staff was very good." We also serve as a contact point with those who do not directly give comments to us. In 2017, we began supporting Yahoo Chiebukuro (a Q&A forum site) with official accounts.
In 2013, our Customer Support desk received the highest rating of three stars in the "Quality Monitoring Division" of the HDI Rating Benchmark Survey sponsored by HDI-Japan, the Japanese branch of the US-based Help Desk Institute (HDI), the world's largest support services industry organization.
The highest rating is based on the auditor's rating of the customer support staff's call records on a four-point scale according to the fields of "service system, communication, response skills, processes/response procedures, and difficult responses" and is only given to a small percentage of the companies that were screened. Shiseido's customer support desk was highly evaluated for its efforts to provide customer service from the customer's point of view and earned a three-star rating.
We have introduced a toll-free number to gather feedback from customers more actively and use it in our corporate activities. With an increase in the number of incoming calls, we hired new staff, and the consumer support system greatly changed. At the same time, we introduced the “Voice-Net C” system for the first time, which enables us to input and search consumer opinions, and to relay consumer opinions to related divisions. Many staff used PC software for the first time, and in addition to consumer support training, we repeated exercises for system operation and text input. The method of responding to customer inquiries has changed dramatically, from the conventional analog style to respond consumer inquiries watching paper materials, to the style of searching information and inputting results with PCs, thereafter.
In 1987, the consumer department of the public relations office was spun off and the consumer division was established with enhanced customer service functions. This division oversaw not only responding to the opinions received at the consumer consultation desk, but also disseminating information to consumers and holding consumer seminars. Since renamed the Consumers Center, in order to reflect the opinions of more customers in our management, we have not only begun to make inquiries at our contact points but have also begun to collect opinions at stores through "Customer Voice Cards." These customer feedback is now being collected more quickly through tablets owned by each Beauty Consultant.
In order to promptly respond to customer inquiries and requests, we have assigned a "consumer support specialist" at each business site in Japan. The "consumer support specialist" responded quickly to inquiries from customers, and sometimes met directly with customers to hear detailed stories. In addition to responding to individual customers, we have also disseminated accurate information to society through public relations activities in the region. Experienced beauty consultants have overseen these activities because they require a wealth of knowledge and good judgment. This system is still being employed at each of our business sites nationwide under the name of "Consumer Support Leader" as a consumer support system unique to Shiseido, and that mentality has been inherited.
In 1968, we appointed a dedicated customer response officer to offer comprehensive responses to customer questions and opinions on corporate matters and to reflect the opinions we received in our management. To promptly reflect customer opinions and requests at retail outlets in counseling, this dedicated person belonged to the Consumer Section, which is responsible for sales. Then, in 1971, when the consumer movement was booming, this position was transferred to the newly established public relations division to strengthen our communication with consumers.
Launched in 1949, the seminar of personal appearance was intended for high school graduates to introduce the makeup method for working adults. Subsequently, the seminar was held as a "Consumer Seminar" for a wide range of targets in conjunction with the penetration of cosmetics into society, and the further development of the seminar was the "Successful Aging Seminar." Based on the desire to make all consumers beautiful, we also held seminars for the elderly, people with disabilities, schools, and targets, depending on the participants and their purpose. At the seminars for the elderly, makeup increased smiling faces and facilitated social communication. Through skincare and makeup, we also provided mental wealth. This activity has been taken over by the current “Life Quality Beauty Seminar”.
Shiseido was founded in 1872 as Japan's first private western-style pharmacy with the desire to deliver high quality pharmaceuticals to customers that incorporate western medicine rather than bad pharmaceuticals. In 1927, we codified our management creed, which has been passed down from our founders, into our basic philosophy of "The Five Principles". They are Shiseido's management philosophies and have the element of comments on the outside and the meaning of the mindset that employees should have in place. The most important was the "Retail principle" (later renamed "Consumer principle"). In "Consumer principle", it is said that " management is devoted to the consumer perspective ", and this principle is the starting point of the first item "With Consumers" of the current "Shiseido Group Ethics Code of Conduct" and the "Consumer-Oriented Management Voluntary Declaration" declared in 2017.