GOOD dealer service plays an important role in brand building, corporate image and customer retention. Kia Motors Corp’s director, Overseas Service Group-Kyu Sang talks about the introduction of the “Family-like Care” service to elevate Kia over other brands.
Q: The new catch phrase “Family-like Care” is being used at all Kia dealers around the world (excluding North America). Above all, what motivated the Overseas Service Group at KMC to create this slogan?
Sang: Whenever I visited dealers in various countries, I found that customers had been provided with quite different levels of service quality depending on the countries and even among dealers in the same country.
The result was that, from the perspective of customers, Kia was seen as a brand that offered characterless after sales service.
So, we decided to guide dealers to provide customers with more consistent and differentiated after sales service reflecting Kia’s underlying service philosophy.
This is how the “Family-like Care” catch phrase was born.
Q: What does “Family-like Care” (FLC) mean?
Sang: The word “family” has the same meaning across all races, religions and cultures.
The aim of FLC is to provide warm and heartfelt service throughout the Kia network, while conveying loyalty, hospitality, integrity and sincerity.
If a dealer starts to treat the customer as a family member, the natural expected outcome is greatly improved service quality.
If FLC can be ingrained into the mindset of all dealer employees, customers are more likely to trust in Kia dealers, and ultimately become loyal customers based on that trust.
FLC is not just a simple service slogan, but rather the core customer value that Kia service operations aim to underscore.
That is, FLC is the service philosophy and identify of Kia, and we believe it will function effectively as branding for Kia’s service business.
Q: At the same time, KARiSMA, the after sales service guidelines, was published in 16 languages. Could you tell more about KARiSMA?
Sang: I sometimes feel that it is hard to help distributors and dealers understand Kia’s service values clearly, let alone deliver the right message when they have different religions, languages and cultures.
KARiSMA, Kia’s service guidelines based on Kia’s core customer value – Family-like Care, was published in 2009.
Most dealers are inclined to pursue only activities that benefit themselves and tend not to do their best during the service process because they mistakenly feel that every customer who buys a car from them will be a lifelong customer.
However, customers who experience even a single disappointment for any reason often will never visit the dealer again.
Therefore, in order to ensure that customers are always willing to have their car repaired at their dealerships and even introduce their friends and neighbours to the dealer, the heart of each and every customer should be captured by treating him or her just like a family member.
In other words, the time has come for “service” to be redefined as ”after sales marketing” to create repeat and new customers, not just to resolve individual customer complaints.
Hence, we at KMC have introduced the after sales marketing concept to all of our after sales service work processes, and created the KARiSMA (Kia Aftersales Service Marketing Act) guidelines which consists of Kia’s service philosophy, strategies and exemplary cases.
Q: How have dealers responded to the FLC campaign and KARiSMA?
Sang: Actually, it took a long time to get a response from our distributors and dealers.
At the outset, distributors did not quickly come to the realization of the importance of Kia’s own service philosophy and identity.
However, after educating them about KARiSMA, the head of our overseas distributors gave proactive feedback and encouraged the related areas of their organizations and their dealer networks to take part in the FLC campaign passionately.
Nowadays we feel that distributors are cooperating and actively fostering the diffusion of the FLC campaign in each of their local markets.
Some distributors have even expressed concerns about plagiarism of FLC by other brands and have requested KMC to support registration of the FLC trademark.
As of now, we have completed trademark registrations in 60 countries including Korea.
Q: What is the next step for the FLC campaign?
Sang: The FLC campaign is aiming to change the service consciousness of all Kia service staff worldwide and our overall service paradigm.
This is why it is not a simple project.
Following the launch of the FLC campaign in the second half of 2009, it will take two years until 2012 for implementation globally.
Through the first half of 2010, 40 countries were participating in the FLC campaign, and this number has expanded 60 countries by the end of 2010.
KMC’s Overseas Service Group is pouring all of our energy into FLC implementation , and we are confident that Kia eventually will be recognized as an excellent service brand through the success of the FLC campaign.