Contribution to the safety and security of customers
Operation of Customer Service Office
At the “Consultation Corners for Consumers” of the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores, consultants certified as advisory specialists for consumers’ affairs accept comments from customers regarding product quality. Comments from customers are sent to Consumer Product End-Use Research Institute online for scientific quality inspection. Consultants inform customers of the results. These test results are also provided to relevant stores and manufacturers to prevent recurrence and improve quality.
SHINOHARA Naoko, Consultation Corner for Consumers, Daimaru Kobe store
The Consultation Corner for Consumers is placed in the Customer Service Office of each store directly managed by Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co. Ltd. Consultants certified as advisory specialists for consumers’ affairs are placed there to provide various consultation services. Customers visit us “when some trouble has occurred on the products they purchased” or “when they want to tell us something they found or ask us about product quality.”
When talking with customers, we always try to understand their anxiety and listen to them carefully. Depending on their needs, we serve as a bridge between customers and sales departments, or in some cases, concerning the product quality about which customers talked to us, Consumer Product End-Use Research Institute conducts product tests, examines and reports the test results. Receiving comments from customers is a very valuable opportunity that makes us find something we did not notice from the company perspective. We have many experiences that teach us how important it is to always serve customers sincerely.
Another important role of consultants is to make store staff aware of an “appropriate response to enhance customer satisfaction” and, for this purpose, to periodically provide sales staff with training sessions concerning the material properties of products, etc. We believe that increasing product knowledge of workers to provide flexible services to each of our valued customers will lead to customer satisfaction. Technologies are advancing day by day and new products hit shelves. In the meantime, as consumer-related laws are established, enforced and revised one after another, we always strive to obtain the latest knowledge.
We will listen sincerely to what customers say and make daily efforts to make more customers smile.
“Consumer Product End-Use Research Institute” as quality professional in the retail industry
Consumer Product End-Use Research Institute (the “Institute”) operates in Osaka, Tokyo and Nagoya. Its operations include tests to identify product performance and the causes of complaints, the verification of product labels and expressions in sales promotion media under relevant laws and regulations, and consulting, trainings and seminars concerning product control in general. The Institute sends certified consultants to the Consultation Corners for Consumers in a total of ten stores of Daimaru, Matsuzakaya and associated department stores.
For the companies in the Group, the Institute conducts various tests to ensure the safety of products in use including quality tests of various products for sale, load bearing tests of wrapping paper and shopping bags and color fastness tests, as well as pre-sale tests, product label checks at stores and hygiene inspections of food floors and restaurants.
To give an example, concerning the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya common shopping bag for food products, it withstood a load of up to approximately 40kg at rest in the Institute’s strength test before adoption and it was found not to be damaged after being moved up and down with a weight of 7kg inside it 10,000 times at a speed of 50 times per minute. As a result of these tests, it was provided for practical use. Since such data are shared among workers at the department stores, they can provide appropriate paper bags to shoppers depending on the weight of the products sold to them. Thus it helps improve services.
The Institute issues an information magazine “Kurashi no Saiensu (lit. science in daily life)” twice a year to provide information to society and consumers. Under the theme of “quality demanded by customers,” it provides information which is helpful in buying products and using services and explains various cases surrounding consumers in an easy-to-understand way.
The Institute also meets its corporate social responsibility by providing companies outside the Group with opportunities to ensure active response to consumer issues through seminars (charged) concerning the matters retailers should know to comply with laws and regulations and avoid consumer complaints using its rich expertise concerning quality tests acquired as an institute in the Group. The subjects of the most recent seminars include (1) “Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores quality control of textile products – From the analysis of quality complaints caused by materials” and (2) “JIS care labeling symbols consistent with international standards.”
SHINO Takeshi, Quality Control Manager, Consumer Product End-Use Research Institute Co., Ltd.
Consumer Product End-Use Research Institute Co., Ltd. provides Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores with services associated with product quality control in general including proposal for, creation and implementation of self-control rules concerning quality control and food sanitation within the company and provision of information, creation of solutions, etc. when quality issues arise inside and outside the company.
We place the Consultation Corners for Consumers in the stores of Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores and send certified consultants for consumers’ affairs to appropriately respond to customer’s request for consultation and provide appropriate advice.
In order to support the companies in the Group in developing better relations with their customers, we will aim at continuous improvement for better quality control and help provide better quality products thinking of “what quality customers demand” first from “user’s perspective” and with “solid judgment backed up with performance.“
“Food” quality control
In order to ensure food safety, department store and other food-related business companies conduct appropriate management in accordance with management rules concerning food labeling and expiration dates, while periodically checking the status of food control in cooperation with Consumer Product End-Use Research Institute. The Group has in place a system that enables prompt action to be taken in cooperation with compliance promotion staff of each company in the Group when a serious food-related accident occurs.
Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores places “food hygiene staff” at Merchandising Strategy Promotion Unit and each store. They conduct hygiene inspections of sales floors and kitchens based on periodic/monthly/weekly/daily schedules, remedy based on the results of these inspections, check labeling including use-by/best-before dates, allergy labeling, content labeling and the presence or absence of mislabeling, and manage crises if any arises. All employees of food divisions always carry with them and use the “Department Store Food Safety and Sanitation Passport” prepared by the Japan Department Stores Association. In September 2017, a dedicated task team was created in the Administration Division of the Head Office to further strengthen safety and security of food, for example, by standardizing operating procedures and the method of confirmation across the company.
Protection of personal information
In order to ensure the protection of customers’ personal information, with basic policies and the codes of conduct relating to the protection and management of personal information in place, we educate the employees of all the companies in the Group and check their management status systematically. JFR Card Co., Ltd. and JFR Information Center Co., Ltd., both of which handle all the customer information data of Daimaru and Matsuzakaya, have acquired the “Privacy Mark” certification to protect customers’ personal information
Creation of safe and secure store environment
At the department stores and other stores and offices, we organize self-defense fighting teams and conduct emergency drills and BCP trainings*1 in preparation for earthquakes and fires. We also promote the improvement of systems by introducing an earthquake early warning alert system, a safety confirmation system for all employees and satellite-based mobile phones.
Self-defense firefighting teams at the stores carry out drills on a regular basis with the participation of all workers including people from suppliers to ensure that we can take prompt and appropriate actions including firefighting, evacuation guidance for customers and information collection. We have adopted a system in which an earthquake early warning alert, which is received when an earthquake measuring 5-lower or more on the Japanese intensity scale occurs, is automatically broadcast in the stores in real time*2.
The AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) are placed mainly in the department stores and we continuously train employees in their use.
*1 BCP: A plan that allows an organization to continue to operate or restore business early in the event of a disaster.
*2 Currently this system is in place in the Daimaru Shinsaibashi, Umeda, Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe, Sapporo and Suma stores and the Hakata Daimaru Fukuoka Tenjin and Kochi Daimaru stores and all the Matsuzakaya stores.
Efforts to help shoppers who have difficulty returning home in a disaster
From the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the “Tokyo Metropolitan Ordinance Covering the Measures for People Who Have Difficulty Returning Home” was enacted in April 2013. In line with that, the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores have organized a system in which they open part of their floor space to shoppers who have difficulty returning home as temporary evacuation space based on the ideas of “self help,” “mutual help” and “public help.”
Specifically, based on the estimated number of shoppers and employees who may have difficulty returning home when a great earthquake occurs, we store an equivalent quantity of hardtack and drinking water. We hold meetings with food suppliers and restaurant operators to ask them to sign a memorandum to the effect that they agree to provide their products (before the expiration dates) on our store shelves in case of stock shortage.
Expansion of AED (automatic external defibrillator) training and establishment of lifesaving system
It is urgent in the light of social demand that department stores, which many customers visit, have more workers who know how to operate an AED. Therefore, we increase training opportunities so that more workers can operate an AED. We have placed AEDs in all the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores and provide normal lifesaving training sessions in these stores to enable initial response to emergencies.
Each of the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores has periodically provided “normal lifesaving training sessions” with cooperation from fire stations. We will establish a system that enables an appropriate response to emergencies by increasing the number of trainees through regular trainings, placing AEDs at appropriate sites that are easily recognizable and the sites where cardiac arrests are highly likely to occur, and clearly showing where they are located.
Creation of barrier-free stores
Each of the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores always reviews its facilities and services and makes them barrier-free so that the disabled, the elderly and customers with children can shop at ease.
For all customers
- When it rains, the entrance floor gets wet and slippery. Therefore, we put mats on the entrances and use non-slip (or non-slip processed) floor material.
- We eliminate difference in level on the floors of the stores to the extent possible. In case it is infeasible, we put a gentle 1 in 12 slope as directed by the Government.
For wheelchair users
- The entrances are equipped with automatic doors and the floors on the front and back of the doors are flat so that they are easily accessible to wheelchair users.
- Some elevators are designated for dedicated use or priority use by wheelchair or stroller users so that they can move from one floor to another safely and speedily. (There is no such designation at some stores.)
- The stop buttons, floor buttons and open/close buttons of elevators are placed lower as well as at a normal position for easy use. A mirror is placed at the front of elevator so that wheelchair users can get backward out of the elevator.
- Each of the restrooms for customers has a wheelchair accessible booth. They are also equipped with baby changing tables and some (not all) booths have ostomate facilities.
- We are in the process of installing large wheelchair accessible fitting rooms.
For visually impaired people
- Braille blocks direct them from the entrance to information desks and elevator halls. Floor guides in Braille are also provided on the stair rails. Where the parking place and the sales floor are connected with a bridge, Braille blocks are provided to guide them and a slope is placed to eliminate difference in level.
- All elevators are equipped with a voice announcement system, which tells passengers at which floor the elevator is arriving and the door is opening or closing. Braille is also provided below each button.
For customers with babies and toddlers
- Facilities equipped with baby changing tables, water heaters for making baby milk, and breast feeding booths are provided adjacent to children’s wear departments.
- Each booth in the restrooms is equipped with a baby seat so that customers can use toilets at ease.
For elderly people
- Fitting rooms are equipped with handrails to accommodate the needs of the target customers of each sales department.
- The color combination and contrast of signs for customers are designed to ensure high visibility.