Kia’s customer service focus – Putting on the Ritz July 31st, 2013

When it comes to quality and customer service, Kia is all ears. Even the company’s top man is willing to take advice, while one of the world’s leading hotel chains is helping dealers improve the way they treat buyers.

Just as designers use boat shows, furniture exhibitions and fashion parades as inspiration for future models, so Kia’s customer-facing staff and quality inspectors are happy to use outside expertise.

In Korea, Kia enlisted the help of the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain in 2011 to develop customer service programs, including a training manual for sales and service staff. It has recently been expanded to include sales promotion and marketing.

Meanwhile, at corporate HQ in Seoul, Vice-chairman and CEO Hyoung-Keun Lee subjects himself, the company’s upper management and heads of product development and manufacturing to a monthly grilling to address quality issues.

Putting on the Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton Kia training program is currently available only in Korea, but as both brands are global – the hotel chain has 81 properties in 26 countries while Kia operates in more than 170 markets ­­- there is no reason why it could not be extended if individual countries think it could help. Ritz-Carlton has twice won the prestigious Malcolm Bainbrige award, an American barometer of business excellence given by the President.

Last year 87 Kia sales offices were declared customer contact points of excellence, while almost 19,500 dealership employees, more than 100 staff members from service partners and 9,600 new recruits were given customer service training based on Ritz-Carlton guidelines.

What do you think?

What are some non-automotive businesses where you experienced excellent customer service? What was it that impressed you the most?