Winter 2003 Forward to a Friend

is a company-wide, customer-focused corporate philosophy that puts the Subaru customer first in all decisions and actions. This perspective affects all of the company?s programs, including vehicle design and engineering, product quality, the improvement of the dealership environment, employee training, customer service and overall vehicle sales and service.

HELPING OUR CUSTOMERS is a primary objective in every department of Subaru of America (SOA). When you have a question or concern related to the company, the Customer/Dealer Services (CDS) Department is ready to provide assistance.

The CDS Department was established in 1995. “The department was created to give our customers one centralized contact point when they need to reach Subaru of America,” says Charlie McEntee, Customer/Dealer Services Department Leader. The department is the first stop for all customer communication, whether it arrives as a letter, a telephone call or in an e-mail. “Any form of customer communication to Subaru of America comes here first,” McEntee says.

The CDS team is made up of more than 50 trained professionals who are ready to respond quickly and accurately to customers who need assistance or have questions.

In addition to its highly trained staff, one of the real strengths of the department is its location. “A lot of auto companies subcontract or outsource their customer contact centers,” McEntee says. “But everyone in the CDS Department is a Subaru of America employee, and we’re located at corporate headquarters. We have immediate access to any department in the headquarters complex when we need to get information for a customer. It really makes for better customer service.”

The department’s ability to respond quickly is key – the team receives a staggering volume of correspondence. McEntee estimates the department receives 150,000 phone calls, 60,000 e-mails and 4,000 letters annually. The CDS team also answers more than 100,000 requests for Subaru brochures every year. And despite the tremendous volume, the team maintains a one-day initial response time for most of its communication.

“We answer any kind of question,” McEntee says. “We also hear from people who want to give us product suggestions. People who are driving our vehicles and want to give us their opinion – what they like, what they don’t like, or what they think could be changed.”

“Their product suggestions all go directly to our Product Development Department,” McEntee continues. “That department comes to us on a regular basis to find out what we’ve been hearing from our customers. When we get customers’ reactions to a product, we utilize it. It doesn’t just go into a database somewhere.”

The department is divided into teams based on geographic areas of the country. “There are nuances to every region,” McEntee says. The region-specific teams make CDS representatives that much more responsive. “The customer representatives are familiar with the dealers in their region, and it allows us to work with those dealers on a closer basis to make them aware of any issues their customers might be having. And it helps us accommodate customers in different time zones, so you gain a better working basis all around.”

A powerful computer network is one of the CDS team’s most-important tools. The system logs and tracks incoming telephone calls, and cross-references information from other Subaru departments. The system helps representatives see a “history” of your contact with the department. If you call us more than once, the representative can instantly access the information you provided on your previous calls. This is all in an effort to improve your customer satisfaction.

And despite the department’s complexities, its mission remains a straightforward one. “‘We do the right thing’ is the philosophy we have,” says McEntee. “We do what’s right for the customer. If we’re responsible for something that needs to be taken care of, we take care of it.”

Need to contact the
Subaru Customer/Dealer
Services Department?

Call (800) SUBARU3 [(800) 782-2783]
Eastern: 8:30-5:00 M-Th, 10:30-5:00 F
Central: 8:30-5:00 M-Th, 9:30-4:00 F
Mountain: 7:30-4:00 M-Th, 8:30-3:00 F
Pacific: 7:30-4:00 M-Th, 7:30-2:00 F

Customer/Dealer Services also can be
reached via e-mail through the Subaru Web site or by simply going to our
Contact Drive page.