Global Brother Brother's CSR With Customers Minimizing "Product Returns and Servicing"

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With Customers

Minimizing "Product Returns and Servicing"

Based on Brother's Unique Concept from the Viewpoint of Customers

Efforts to minimize the number of returns after shipment

At the Brother Group, the percentage of products returned from customers for repair or return is defined as "product returns and servicing rate." We believe that the time and effort suffered by customers due to trouble with the products, no matter how small, is an inconvenience for them. To reduce the number of returned products close to zero, we are working to find out the causes of the trouble. And together with all departments from development design, manufacture, logistics, sales to services, we promote the across-the-board activity to pursue improvement of product quality for reducing "product returns and servicing rate."

Quality Improvement through Making Customer Visits

Identifying causes of troubles through making customer visits to know more about customers

The Brother Group aims to provide customers with products that impress or satisfy them. To achieve this goal, it's crucial for us to grasp customers' usage conditions of our products. Based on the daily repair requests and information of call on our printers and all in ones from our customers, if we can't reproduce declared trouble, we visit the customer who declared it to investigate under what environment and how the customer uses our product.
For example, some troubles of telephones and fax machines arise from the installation environment or usage condition of customers not from the problems of the product itself. In one case of making a customer visit who uses MFC-J870N, inkjet All-in-One designed for the Japanese market, error occurred only when sending faxes to some destinations although no error occurred when receiving faxes. Installation environment and connection of our customer's product were recorded, whether the error occurs or not by replacing the product to verification equipment was tested, and some measurements were conducted under customer's usage environment. Then it became clear that according to the positions of MFC-J870N and lines (Fig. 1), tone signals of number 1 and 7 were not detected due to the effects of external noise. (Fig. 2) By measuring line voltage and frequency level in detail, the trouble turned out to be a matching problem between modem (modulator and demodulator) built in MFC-J870N and external PBX (private branch exchange) not product breakdown. By attaching noise filter to reduce surge and changing the position of line cord, the trouble was resolved.

By exploring the root cause of trouble through making customer visits like this, we can realize various elements that cause troubles, which can't be known by simply collecting products to repair them. We lead the findings to product improvement as well as utilizing them for future solutions and advices to our customers. In addition, we reflect them to our "evaluation standards" corresponding to various usage environments and conditions of use to utilize for the evaluation of our newly-developed products.

The Brother Group keeps exploring such case one by one and ensuring the product development and service from customer's standpoint to minimize "product returns and servicing rate."

Fig.1:Customer's product connection
Connection status of MFC-J870N, PBX, telephone, and so on that the customer we visited this time was using
Connection status of MFC-J870N, PBX, telephone, and so on that the customer we visited this time was using.
MFC-J870N was connected to one of the outlet via PBX.

  • *:   PBX: Private Branch eXchange, MJ: Modular Jack, TA: Terminal Adaptor

Fig.2:Waveform of tone signal (DTMF) measured under customer's usage environment
Waveform of tone signal (DTMF) measured under customer's usage environment
Waveform of tone signal (DTMF) measured under customer's usage environmentWaveform of tone signal (DTMF) measured under customer's usage environment
Waveform of tone signal (DTMF)
top (yellow waveform):Waveform measured under customer's usage environment
middle (green waveform):Normal waveform
bottom (yellow waveform):Enlarged waveform of number 1 (left) and 7 (right)
Tone signals of both number 1 and 7 are surging due to effect of noise.