Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty are major factors that contribute to Daimler AG's long-standing success in the passenger car and commercial vehicle sectors. Since its establishment in 1998, the Mercedes-Benz Customer Assistance Center (CAC) in the Dutch city of Maastrichthas been a key precondition for customer satisfaction. Over the last ten years, the CAChas become the primary contact and service center for established and potential customers all over Western Europe. The facility's employees, who are recruited from 13 different European countries, are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide advice and services.

"Our Mercedes-BenzCustomerAssistanceCenterin Maastrichtstrongly contributes to the continuing improvement of customer satisfaction at the Group," says Dr. Frank Reintjes, Head of Global Service and Parts, the worldwide after-sales organization of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, vans and commercial vehicles as well as Maybach and smart. "The international makeup of the workforce, and the great expertise on hand, mean that we offer existing and potential customers a range of services that's unique in the automotive industry. Our staff members at CACMaastricht know everything there is to know about all of our vehicle models and the services and customer loyalty programs we offer. This comprehensive service portfolio makes the CACunique in the European automotive industry."

Mercedes-Benz Customer Assistance Center

The CACalso serves customers of passenger cars, vans and commercial vehicles of the Maybach, smart, EvoBus, Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge brands as well as the Mitsubishi Canter. Staff members handle an average of around 7,000 calls per day, with inquiries ranging from requests for emergency assistance to questions regarding products and services. Employees serve customers in their own native languages and can also provide help in numerous dialects and regional languages such as Catalan.

The CustomerAssistanceCenterwas launched in October 1998 with 130 employees to provide 24-hour service for the Mercedes-Benz brand in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. "We intentionally picked Maastrichtback then because of its geographical position in the center of EUREGIO, the border region between the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. It was the ideal location to set up an international team with the outstanding language skills that are needed by a European customer center," says Reintjes. Today, 67 percent of CACemployees come from the multilingual EUREGIO area.

Over the years, the scope of services offered by the CAChas been gradually expanded and new countries and brands have been added to the mix. The CACnow has 600 employees from 40 nations who serve established and potential customers from the following European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, the UK, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, and Spain. Staff members are always available to help customers in the event of an emergency (24-hour service) and to provide a comprehensive range of other customer services. These include complaint management and the provision of information on passenger cars and commercial vehicles. In addition, the CACoperates customer loyalty programs, conducts surveys, and analyzes vehicle data.

As services have been expanded and new countries and brands have been added to the mix, the number of inquiries handled by the CACincreased accordingly. Since 1998, some 6.6 million customers and interested parties have taken advantage of the services offered by the CACby contacting the center either via telephone, e-mail, normal mail, or fax. CACemployees currently address an average of 2.5 million inquiries per year. The toll-free number for the CACis the same in all the countries served by the center: 00800 1 777 7777 for the Mercedes-Benz brand (passenger cars and commercial vehicles), and 00800 2 777 7777 for the smart brand.