Basic policy

Japanese housing policy is encouraging the standardization of excellent long-term housing to transition to emphasis on the importance of creating high-quality stock which is easy to maintain so that each house can be valued and lived in for a long time. Sumitomo Forestry conducts housing maintenance and replaces equipment in addition to providing appropriate proposals such as exterior renovations to sustain comfortable living in the long term for every owner. We are able to create opportunities such as consultation and inquiries through ongoing communication at owners events held in each location throughout Japan in addition to sustaining ongoing asset value through long-term support for the comfortable living of our customers.

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Respect for and Application of Customer Feedback

Operation of Sumitomo Forestry Customer Service Department

Sumitomo Forestry established the Customer Service Department in April 2000 as a Group-wide customer service help desk. Communicating the opinions and complaints of customers to improve each department as well as management is an important mission for the Customer Service Department in enhancing customer-oriented actions even further. The Customer Service Department holds periodic meetings and working groups with each business division and Group company as well as shares information to provide high-quality products and services which will bring sensation to our customers. The Department discusses the issues and examples of solutions to bring together as specific measures. The measures then are executed throughout the Group, and the Customer Service Department regularly evaluates progress and efficacy of the measures, and undertakes reviews and corrective actions, in line with the PDCA cycle.

Additionally, the Company regularly introduces example creative solutions that can be easily adapted in daily work routine and attributable to customer satisfaction as well as heart-warming stories on the intranet. Direct feedback and opinions of customers sent to the Customer Service Department, details of the consultations and their analysis results, and examples of superior response are consistently communicated to prevent recurrence of factors causing problems. The support for internal training and one-on-one meetings with Group companies are also provided.

 

Operation of Sumitomo Forestry Call Centers

Sumitomo Forestry established Sumitomo Forestry Call Centers that open 24 hours a day 365 days a year toll free as a consistent dedicated helpline throughout Japan that allows immediate support such as an emergency response lifeline to assist our customers. The telephone number is introduced on magnet cards, owner dedicated websites, magazines and other mediums so that this helpline will be used broadly by our customers.

Presently the centers are located in Tokyo and Fukuoka, and are linked together, shortening wait times for customers who call via the unified national free-dial number. In addition, the system is organized to enable response in emergency situations. The system facilitates prompt response to customer requests and consultations and also strives for improved customer satisfaction.

* The Call Center has been receiving an increased number of calls as general housing support since July 2015. Counting of the total number of calls was changed in fiscal 2017 (to include calls from customers while excluding relevant business partners)

Customer Surveys

Sumitomo Forestry conducts resident surveys three times from the second to tenth year from when residents move in to collect opinions and feedback of owners in order to deliver greater satisfaction and services to customers.

The survey questions primarily cover specifications, design, building materials, systems and fixtures, and the support service provided by the staff. The Company then statistically processes and analyzes these results, and applies any findings to product development and employee training. Customers are also given a short questionnaire at the end of any after-sales maintenance visit or inspection, requesting feedback on such subjects as the attitude and behavior of the maintenance contractor, as well as their response speed and repair techniques.

In fiscal 2017 as an indicator of customer satisfaction, the percentage of customers who responded “I would recommend Sumitomo Forestry Home houses” was 86.9% in the survey of new owners, and 84.0% in the survey of second-year owners.

Furthermore, we have adopted the Net Promoter Score (NPS)* advocated by the housing industry for the purpose of enhancing customer satisfaction. In October 2017, we revised the five stage evaluation to an 11 stage evaluation for the questions above.

We will continue to provide high-quality products and services which bring sensation to our customers by further leveraging customer feedback through the NPS survey analysis.

* NPS is a new index used to measure customer loyalty (amount of trust and affinity for the company and brand)

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Communicating Information to Customers in the Housing Business

Website Operation and Magazine Publication

Sumitomo Forestry operates its Club Forest special website for owners of Sumitomo Forestry Home houses. As of March 2018, about 103,000 owners had registered as members.

Lovely Family is a home and lifestyle magazine sent out twice a year. It also features details about Group company activities such as renovation and utilization of lands. About 287,000 prints were issued in fiscal 2017.

The cover of Lovely Family

The cover of “Lovely Family”

Century-old Home Club Regular Meet-and-Greet Bus Tour

Sumitomo Forestry Home Tech Co., Ltd. established a Century-old Home Club in July 2013 as part of its safe and reliable renovation ideas. It is a members-only club with an aim of preserving historical family houses for future generations. Members include owners of historic houses (constructed prior to 1950) renovated by the company, people currently living in a historic house, or those who plan to purchase a historic house.

In 2017, we held Century-old Home tours in eight locations from October to November to share the traditionally constructed buildings and historic houses refurbished by Sumitomo Forestry to Club members.

A cumulative total of 319 people participated in tours to these traditionally refurbished homes in an opportunity to learn about the value of buildings passed down throughout history.

Regular meeting

Regular meeting

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