Seven & i Group, whose core business is retailing, considers the large number of contact points with customers and the frequency of communication with them to be among its key management resources, collects information from customers through a variety of means, and strives to develop products and improve services by utilizing the valuable opinions that we receive from customers.
Seven & i Group set up customer support desks at each Group company in order to receive voices from the customers and people in the communities where the businesses operate. We quickly responds to requests and complaints provided by email or phone through customers and the people in communities, and that leads to improvement of products and services. Given the need to protect privacy in connection with feedback received from them, all personal information is deleted, and the feedback is then categorized by content and communicated to departments and stores for use in making improvements. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2022, eight Group companies* received a total of approximately 1.29 million opinions, requests, and inquiries.
Seven & i Group holds a monthly information liaison meeting, which is attended by customer support supervisors at each Group company, in order to reduce the factors that cause customer dissatisfaction and raise satisfaction levels throughout the Group. Measures taken in response to comments and requests received from customers are shared on a regular basis and the information is incorporated into product and service improvements. Annual training is also held for customer support personnel at each Group company with a view to further refining customer service skills. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2022, 100 employees from 12 Group companies participated in the training.
Customer support personnel training
Seven & i Group collects feedback from customers on customer service, sales floor setup, product lineups, and other aspects of operations in order to further improve its products and services. For example, Seven-Eleven Japan, conducts regular customer questionnaires to ascertain the needs of customers nationwide and uses the information to develop products and services. Also, Ito-Yokado has been continuously conducting online customer questionnaires, which customers can access using a QR code printed in their receipts, since July 2020. Customers can specify whether they were “very satisfied,” “satisfied,” “neither satisfied nor dissatisfied,” “dissatisfied,” or “very dissatisfied,” and a target has been set to raise customers who respond “satisfied,” which is the most common response, and “neither satisfied nor dissatisfied” to “very satisfied.” The questionnaire responses lead to improvements in customer service. In addition, store surveys are contracted to external agencies certified as consumer affairs advisors to collect feedback from store customers. Ito-Yokado, York-Benimaru, York, Sogo & Seibu, and SHELL GARDEN have installed in stores suggestion boxes where customers can submit opinions and requests. Other Group companies also analyze customer opinions and operate mechanisms for using customer feedback to improve product development and services.
Percentage of customers responding “very satisfied” (from Ito-Yokado questionnaires)
|April, 2021||July, 2021||October, 2021|
Mechanism for using Customer Feedback (Ito-Yokado)
Flow of Responses to Product Deficiencies and Customer Dissatisfaction (Ito-Yokado)
Seven & i Group introduces good practices of customer service in its monthly in-house magazine distributed to employees, along with customer compliments and appreciation. The employee who received the thank-you note introduces the method of customer service and points he or she tried to keep in mind in the in-house magazine, making it easier for Group employees who read the article to follow the examples and put them into practice. The employees whose examples of good practices are featured in the article receive a letter of appreciation from the president of Seven & i Holdings, which motivates them to continue their efforts.
Seven & i Group is seeking to create products tailored to the demands of customers with “Seven Premium” products, the private-brand products of the Group. The official Seven Premium website, which includes introductions of product features and recipes using Seven Premium products, allows website users to freely upload comments about Seven Premium products. Analyses are conducted on the ways and contexts in which the website is used by customers using the comments on the website, questionnaire surveys, monitoring surveys, focus groups, and customer feedback received via the customer support, and reflected in product development.
Nissen Holdings, which engages in the mail order business, also operates user-participation research sites for product development. In addition to online surveys, Nissen Holdings conducts focus groups, interviews, product monitoring surveys, mail surveys, venue surveys, and other research to improve services and develop better products.
Seven-Eleven Japan began selling bottled warm water in February 2021 in response to customer requests such as "I drink white water for my health but cannot buy it on the go," "I need hygienic hot water for baby formula," "I need hot water for taking medicine on the go," and "I want a warm beverage that does not contain caffeine or sugar. Since its launch, much positive feedback from customers has been received. Seven-Eleven Japan will continue to hold regular meetings in which departments in charge of product development, quality control, customer support, and other areas collaborate to reflect customer feedback on its products and services.
Seven & i Group collects opinions received from customers and uses them in an effort to improve product store environments and offered services.
Sogo & Seibu created “stations” that provide individualized advice on customer concerns and inquiries ranging from makeup to coordination and shoe selection. These stations provide highly-detailed service.
Akachan Honpo has many first-time customers and seeks to reduce customer concerns about safety by offering free premium compensation* that covers malfunction, damage, theft, and more for three years from the date of purchase of products relating to child safety. Additionally, hina dolls (sets of traditional Japanese dolls in period dress) and Boy’s Festival dolls are covered under premium compensation for five years from the date of purchase.
To eliminate privacy concerns when using ATMs and enhance their usability, Seven Bank has installed approx. 10,000 fourth-generation ATMs nationwide with an expanded privacy area, large and high-visibility displays, and universal design (as of the end of March 2022).