Citizen and its Customers

Basic Approach to Customer Satisfaction (and Product Safety)

The Citizen Watch Group has positioned customer satisfaction at the very core of its management and always seeks to provide high-quality products and services from the customer's perspective.
We listen to customer opinions and make use of them in product development and improving services. We collect customer opinions and categorize comments for analysis into sales and planning, development and manufacturing, and service categories. The respective responsible divisions then take measures that will be useful in making improvements.

Customer Service Desk Initiatives

To raise customer satisfaction levels even further, Citizen Watch Co., Ltd. implements a range of initiatives designed to comprehensively enhance the quality of operations including after-sales service as well as product capabilities in areas such as quality, functionality, and design. Initiatives that have been undertaken since fiscal 2010 include (1) the introduction of a text analysis tool called Text Mining to analyze customer comments, (2) periodic training and follow-ups for personnel involved in customer service, and (3) expansion of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the company website and development of maintenance programs to encourage customers to resolve problems on their own.

Text Mining

Text Mining is an analytical method that converts questions and opinions received by the Citizen Customer Service Desk into text data, analyzes the data, and displays valuable information in a visual format. The Customer Service Desk creates monthly analysis reports, shares the information throughout the Citizen Watch Group, and uses it to improve product development and services. The map shows relationships among terms and the frequency with which they appear. Three large islands are formed: "repair," "purchase," and "time."
A closer examination of the "time" island reveals terms such as "on time" (and "not on time"), "fluctuate," and "slow" as well as "radio control" and "Cal. XX" (a type of Eco-Drive Watch). This indicates that there are many inquiries concerning the precision of timekeeping by radio-controlled watches.

Raising the Quality of Customer Service

To raise the quality of customer service, the Citizen Watch Customer Service Center conducts periodic training for operators on responding to customers by email and telephone and has outside experts listen to recordings of telephone calls to provide suitable guidance to individual operators. In fiscal 2013, Citizen Watch aims to provide operators with feedback on accurately identifying what customers are trying to convey and what they expect from Citizen Watch and responding in ways that are convincing to customers.

VOICE Striving to be a Brand Loved by Customers

Citizen's customer service systems in the Chinese watch business are praised for putting the customer first and are currently seen as trustworthy. A three-year longest warranty, which is the longest in the business, as well as the creation of a customer call center and management of individual products using bar codes are far ahead of other brands and create clear distinctions in service. CCW is committed to maintaining its customer-first policy throughout its operations and improving services to become a brand that is loved by customers.

Manager, Customer Center Li Ting

Citizen Watch (China) Co., Ltd.

Devoted Attention to "Genuine Customer Feedback" and the Resolution of Customer Issues

At Citizen Systems Japan Co., Ltd., a Group company that deals with healthcare products, 70% of feedback that the company’s customer relations office receives comes from the elderly, and an even more considerate and warm approach is essential in responding to such feedback. We leverage the accumulation of this kind of “genuine customer feedback” as a source for developing new products that resolve customer issues.

​The CTE707 Digital Thermometer, launched in October 2015, was developed in response to such “genuine customer feedback.” Going forward, we will endeavor to improve our levels of customer satisfaction in order to offer exciting products that exceed customer expectations.


Providing the Manufacturing Industry with Solution for New Value

Citizen Machinery Co., Ltd., provides the “alkapplysolution” service, a collection of solutions that meld the functional and technological know-how the company has long accumulated.

① “Human Oriented Factories” To look at the origins of alkapplysolution, we need to go back to the 1980s. While there was an overwhelming trend toward Automating Factories, at that time we came up with the concept of Human Oriented Factories.

We made this declaration at CFA*160, a private event held in 1990. This declaration was based around the following concept: “In the near future, high-quality products will be made in factories. People are not tools to more efficiently produce items, but instead the main actors in creating quality, and are dependable repositories of knowledge in multi-product and high-quality product manufacturing. People are an essential element within factories. We are moving away from an era in which people complement machines to one in which we want personnel in our factories.” This is Citizen’s “Human Oriented Factories” declaration.

The value that we provide to customers is that of a competitive advantage—namely, “a factory identity in which the value provided by manufacturing should be measured using the yardsticks of quality and time,” and the idea that “creating identity is dependent on people, and factories need people.”

Tools to achieve this competitive advantage include “in-plant remote operation” and “information transmission from factories,” both forms of ICT*2. Additionally, such elements as “high-speed program supply service,” “interactive machine operation programming,” “interactive animated operation educational guidance,” “automated line integration,” and “automated robots for peripheral devices” are detailed in the CFA60 pamphlet as our “dreams.” These elements are all core parts of alkapplysolution.

However, at that time the infrastructure was not available, with the concept behind this solution being ahead of its time. *1 An abbreviation for Citizen Factory Automation, an event that presents Citizen’s vision for metalworking factories with a focus on factory automation *2 ICT: Information & Communications Technology

② “Impressive Value Production” During CFA70 in 2000, when developing “Human Oriented Factories”, we announced the creation of “Impressive Value Production”. This concept refers to the idea that “work not requiring human input should be performed by machines, and people should be engaged in more creative work.”

Processing is the method by which value is added to goods. This added value is the “value of usage” provided by goods and, if put in monetary terms, can be referred to as the “value of exchange,” an area in which we cannot win against other countries that have lower-cost electricity and human resources. If Japan cannot provide a different type of value, then industry will continue its shift overseas. On that premise, the idea we came up with was the feeling one experiences when using production machinery—an “impressive value.” We want to provide machinery with which customers can create products with higher added value and thereby perceive an “impressive value.” That is what we refer to as “Impressive Value Production”. Put differently, “Impressive Value Production” means “Creating Shared Value” (CSV).

The technologies underpinning “Impressive Value Production” were high-accuracy, composite machinery along with IT. “Impressive Value Production” was a total solution that included NC school instruction in how to use that high-accuracy, composite machinery as well as in processing know-how.

However, the reality was industrial customers would pay for hardware but not for software, and as a result, “Impressive Value Production” did not become as prevalent as hoped.

シチズンマシナリ―ソリューション推進部 部長柳平茂夫

Hiroshi Shinohara Director, Operating Officer
Development Division Manager
Citizen Machinery

“Ko No Ryosan” and Alkapplysolution We continued the development of alkapplysolution, but these efforts were stalled for a time by structural reforms in the 2000s as well as the crash of the IT bubble. The impetus to start again was the reduction in customer numbers for Japanese manufacturing. Given the flow of production overseas and pressure from large players in the automobile industry, whether or not they were able to replace staff was a determining factor. To look at the causes behind this situation, a questionnaire conducted at JIMTOF 2010 asked respondents about issues that they faced; the two major issues were shortages of skilled engineers and of workers to take over from them. ICT is continuing to become more pervasive—now called the Internet of Things (IoT) and we resolved to try to make a fresh start as a way of resolving these problems.

At CFA85 in 2015, we put forth “Ko No Ryosan”, the idea that “the age of mass production and of high-mix, low-volume production is at an end.” This idea is based on the concept of “the creation of many different products” but does not mean quietly creating one after another. It requires that machinery be set up for each different item and separate programs be created, using tools in the background while processing items in the foreground. This tool is alkapplysolution. We compiled the “Citizen Machinery philosophies” based on already distributed concept books, and shared them along with the “Ko No Ryosan” concept from CFA85, at morning assemblies and other meetings, all with the aim of fostering a shared purpose.

Item consistency provides very high added value, and Alkapplysolution is one tool that can be used to achieve added value. This approach, which is closely related to the fact that people need to be involved in order to create high-value-added products, is consistent with the idea of a “Human Oriented Factories”. Has our dream been made a reality yet? We are only half way there, but are working together with customers to make this a reality. Given the current culture in which people will not pay for software, we are struggling with whether or not we are able to provide the value for which customers have paid.

Alkapplysolution is made up of nine elements, with the key two elements being:
-Alkart live: operations and status monitoring tools, which help with visualizing machinery status.
-Alkart pro 2: a cloud dialogue program creation function that integrates programming know-how, allowing customers access to create the programs they want for download and to enjoy using the latest versions of software.

The type of solutions business that Citizen Machinery is striving for is one in which it provides new added value; innovates technologies and production systems in developing solutions; and provides support for customers in manufacturing. We launched the alkapplysolution service in December 2013. As of June 2016, 16% of our customers in Japan are using the service.

In a pinch you can zoom.

From Customer Feedback to New Value Proposals

At Citizen Electronics, we have in place Field Application Engineers (FAE) at operating bases around the world, ensuring an organic link between headquarters product and planning departments and front-line operations in direct contact with customers. The aims of this arrangement is to establish and provide a self-contained local customer support system as well as to present product proposals optimized for the specific needs of each region and customer.

By putting engineers on the front-line of customer support, we are able to not only sell products but also provide on-site technical support for any problems that may arise. Additionally, customer opinions regarding the latest market information and customer needs can be used as feedback for headquarters planning and development divisions, leading to better product proposals.

Through such an arrangement, we can improve our ability to respond to customer requirements and, by clarifying tangible and potential needs, provide product proposals that will exceed customer expectations.

From Customer Feedback to New Value Proposals

LCOS Modules—Safety and Security in Wearable Terminals and Automotive Applications

As we increasingly head toward the information society, wearable devices that offer support to users have started to appear in a range of workplaces. These devices provide assistance and guidance in various settings, including manufacturing plants, warehouses, and medical facilities.

Ferroelectric liquid crystal panels from Citizen Finedevice have a higher level of responsiveness than current TFT LCDs and have enabled the creation of displays with high resolution,-definition, and brightness. These displays also use an LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) structure in which the driver circuit is fully incorporated into the single silicon backplane, obviating the need for peripheral circuits and thus reducing size and enabling application in such miniaturized devices as head-mounted displays. These display panels are small yet provide high definition and outstanding presence, and products that can provide more information let users work more safely and with confidence. In automotive applications, for example, vehicle heads-up display panels reflect important information, such as speed and turn signals on windshields, and, because this information is directly in the driver's field of view, provide a safer driving experience.

LCOS Modules—Safety and Security in Wearable Terminals and Automotive Applications