The satisfaction of our customers worldwide is determined to a significant extent by the quality of our products and services. The high quality of our models and components was reaffirmed in 2011 with a focus on customer satisfaction and supplier quality, which thus contributed to the growth of the Volkswagen Group.
Three core processes influence customer satisfaction: vehicle concepts must be guided consistently by customer desires; well-structured production processes should ensure flawless delivery quality; and finally, vehicle handover and service from the dealer must be excellent.
Customers are satisfied and loyal when their expectations of a product or service are met or even exceeded. Crucial to this is the quality perceived by the customer over the entire product experience; this includes in particular reliability, appeal and service. Only when we surprise and excite our customers in all these areas do we win them over with outstanding quality.
In spite of the large number of production start-ups, we maintained the high quality level of the previous year in 2011 across all Group brands and locations, and kept the number of repairs at a consistently low level.
In addition to preventive process stability and product reliability, customer satisfaction is the main theme in Quality Assurance at Volkswagen. Our primary focus in 2011 was to refine the program for raising customer satisfaction, which is already established across business areas. Its goals include incorporating insights from product usage into the planning for future products. This way we can ensure that customer requirements are taken into account at this early and important phase. The knowledge gained is not only factored into the development of new vehicles, but also permanently reflected on series production for established models. We acquire the necessary information for this primarily through studies and customer surveys.
Customer satisfaction is not created by product appeal and reliability alone; it is also determined by our dealers in the area of service. Raising service quality worldwide is therefore another goal of our customer satisfaction program. As the direct interface with the customer, the starting point in customer satisfaction is the dealership operation, as it is with after-sales business. Quality Assurance maintains close contact with the dealers in order to improve the perception of service by our customers. Deficiencies that may be revealed in the emotional moment of vehicle handover can be recognized early and corrected systematically.
The main task for Quality Assurance in the area of service in 2011 was to standardize the processes between market and manufacturer. Here, the goal was to anchor the optimizations achieved individually to a common structure in order to offer the best service to our customers anywhere in the world. Close integration with our dealer partners is a central element in this. It enables us to meet market-specific customer requirements even better in the future. Its scope reaches from optimal market and dealer support for repairs down to customer-oriented solutions for warranty-related issues.