Samsung Fire & Marine, Lotte Homeshopping, Yakult, Korea Post, win customer satisfaction

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Lee Wan-shin (center), CEO of Lotte Homeshopping, appears on the company’s YouTube channel to interact with employees. (Lotte home shopping)

The year 2021 has been a long tug of war between the struggles in our daily lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to return to life before the coronavirus. However, according to an annual survey by the Korea Productivity Center on Monday, many Korean companies have managed to improve customer satisfaction amid the unprecedented pandemic situation.

The KPC’s National Customer Satisfaction Index (NCSI) for 2021 recorded 78.1 points, an increase of 1.1 points compared to 2020 and the highest value since the survey began in 1998.

This means that despite the socio-economic challenges hit by the pandemic, Korean companies have worked to better serve customers’ needs.

The survey was conducted among 91,697 customers in Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon and Gwangju who used the products and services of 333 companies and universities in 80 different economic sectors.

The CCP is a subsidiary of the Ministry of Commerce that was founded in 1957 to help increase the productivity of Korean industry.

The highest score of 84 was achieved by Severance Hospital in Seoul, one of the largest and oldest hospitals in the country. Samsung C&T, which took first place last year, was in second place. After the construction company, five runners-up were all hospitals, reflecting their crucial role in addressing the public health crisis.

The five were Samsung Medical Center, Asan Medical Center, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, Korea University Anam Hospital, and Konkuk University Medical Center.

The industries that improved customer satisfaction the most included education services, finance and insurance, wholesale and retail. Companies in the health and social services, in the manufacture of durable goods, in transport and storage operations as well as in the electricity, gas and air conditioning sectors recorded increases at the NCSI.

In educational services, the two-year colleges showed a notable improvement of six points to 74, according to the data. The center said many colleges have worked to resolve disruptions in online courses by listening to student feedback and requests.

Business areas with declining customer satisfaction included water supply, waste disposal and raw material recycling, business facility management, business support services, and rental services. Customers had problems trusting the cleanliness of the tap water due to an incident in 2020 when worms were found in Incheon’s tap water, the center said. Also, it was difficult for customers to rent cars at domestic tourist attractions as travelers had to stay in the country due to global travel restrictions.

According to the NCSI, Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance closed Jan.

A Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance employee advises a customer.  (Samsung fire and transport insurance)

A Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance employee advises a customer. (Samsung fire and transport insurance)

The company describes digital transformation as a critical factor that contributes to customer comfort. In response to the growing demand for contactless communications, the company has aggressively integrated its customer service into mobile platforms. Since last October, tasks such as payments or changes to contracts can be processed via mobile websites, which saves customers from downloading and installing a separate app.

The identity authentication process required to perform such tasks has also been simplified, the NCSI found. A simple step like entering a password or verification via Kakao Pay can now replace the hassle of traditional bank-issued authorization certificates.

The company added that various customer-facing services have been introduced to increase customer satisfaction. One such service is “Anyfit”, a mobile health platform that rewards physical activity with reward points that can be used to pay for insurance.

Protecting customers from unfair business practices is another area that Samsung’s Insurance division is dedicated to. In 2014, the insurance subsidiary set up the Consumer Protection Committee to proactively deal with consumer complaints at management level. Consumers also have a say, in particular through the customer panel system, as well as seniors, who encourage older customers to digitally integrate.

In the milk and fermented milk category, Korea Yakult took first place with 79 points for the 24th time in a row. It has secured its lead since 1998 when the NCSI started, the KPI said.

Yakult Korea started its business with its flagship probiotic Yakult and has since managed the fermented dairy industry and introduced various functional probiotic drinks such as Helicobacter Project Will, Coopers and MPRO3.

The center credits its advanced probiotic research technology as the main driver behind the company’s 24-year reign. Strong technology research spanning over half a century and over 100 billion won investments have enabled the company to make its foray into the business-to-business market recently.

March 2019 marks a major milestone for the company when Korea Yakult first sold its raw Lactobacillus probiotics to a corporate buyer, a huge leap from its decade-long door-to-door dairy sales model.

With the introduction of HyLabs last May, the B2B business got off to an even more aggressive start. The new B2B transaction brand has successfully launched a range of health-promoting chemical substances. The probiotic products range from the fat-burning “Kill Fat” to the skin care active ingredient “HY7714”. The number of transaction counterparties was up to ten with a cumulative sales volume of ten tons.

“The Korea Yakult research team has worked to locate microbial strains and develop the functionality of probiotics,” said Lee Jung-lyoul, director of research and development at Korea Yakult. “We plan to take our B2B business abroad to stimulate our growth engine.”

In the postal services sector, Korea Post took the lead, ranking 70th out of a total of 333 institutions surveyed.

A Korea Post employee delivers a package to a toddler.  (Korea Post)

A Korea Post employee delivers a package to a toddler. (Korea Post)

Founded in 1884, the Korea Post has been the country’s longest established government agency providing postal and financial services.

The expansion of the post-to-door delivery service is the core of improving customer convenience, said the institute. The service plays a key role in providing stable logistics services to customers who are often delays due to protests and strikes by door-to-door suppliers in the private sector.

The service has mainly benefited rural residents who have limited access to public facilities such as

The postal agency has also expanded the integration of digital technologies to keep customers updated on their tracking details. Specifically, customers receive push notifications about the expected delivery time on their smartphone and can easily change their pick-up location using a mobile application.

Another customer-facing service from the organization is the unmanned post kiosk service, which has helped reduce customer waiting times and respond effectively to the COVID-19 crisis, officials at the institution said.

Various joint projects were also at the fore of the government agency’s efforts to serve the public interest. Such engagement includes helping local farms, retailers and small businesses through the Korea Post Shopping Platform, an online shop dedicated to promoting local food producers and engaging them with consumers.

Lotte Home Shopping is another notable business, the NCSI noted, as it ranked first in the TV Home Shopping category along with CJ Onstyle.

The TV shopping channel successfully hosted a brand exhibition at home and abroad in Thailand showcasing Korean brands to help them negotiate with local buyers. The fair attracted around 2,000 visitors in Bangkok and 20,000 to the live streaming platform.

The company also praised the introduction of its virtual show host Lucy as a way of improving the customer experience. The Lotte subsidiary said it plans to upgrade its Metaverse shopping area by refining Lucy’s voice expressions and advancing real-time communications technology.

Proactive communication with customers has continued to attract NCSI’s attention. Lotte Homeshopping has actively addressed customer complaints by sharing customer feedback with employees via the company’s intranet and with viewers of the channel via an ombudsman program on television.

Lee Wan-shin, CEO of Lotte Homeshopping, even made a special appearance on the company’s YouTube channel, interacting with company employees and even sharing jokes during the live broadcast.
Sustainability is another important part of Lotte Homeshopping’s service in the public interest. The company has established an ESG committee to advance its commitment to integrating sustainability into corporate governance in the economic, environmental and social areas.

Lotte Home Shopping is another notable business, the NCSI noted, as it ranked first in the TV Home Shopping category along with CJ Onstyle.

The TV shopping channel successfully hosted a brand exhibition at home and abroad in Thailand showcasing Korean brands to help them negotiate with local buyers. The fair attracted around 2,000 visitors in Bangkok and 20,000 to the live streaming platform.
The company also praised the introduction of the virtual show host Lucy as a contribution to improving the customer experience. The Lotte subsidiary said it plans to upgrade its Metaverse retail space by improving Lucy’s speech expression and advancing real-time communications technology.

Proactive communication with its customers has continued to attract NCSI’s attention. Lotte Shopping has actively addressed customer complaints by sharing customer feedback with both its employees via the company’s intranet and with viewers of the channel via the televised ombudsman program.

Lee Wan-shin, CEO of Lotte Homeshopping, even made a special appearance on the company’s YouTube channel, interacting with its employees and even sharing jokes during the live broadcast.
Sustainability is another important part of Lotte Shopping’s public interest service. The company created the ESG Committee to advance its commitment to integrating sustainability into corporate governance in the economic, environmental and social areas.

From Korea Herald ([email protected])

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