Japanese Customer Service in Action

I’ll preface this post by saying that this is a personal record: it’s the first time I’ve ever posted twice in one day. Don’t get used to it…

When I train non-Japanese clients on Japanese expectations of customer service, I do my best to paint a picture with words. But there’s no substitute for direct experience, and for this reason I always encourage clients to visit Japan to benchmark “the best in the world.” When it comes to serving customers, Japan is indeed the cream of the cream.

But if you can’t visit Japan then the next best thing (for folks in Hawaii anyway) is Big Island Candies. The next best thing after that is seeing Japanese customer service in action via the magic of youtube.

Below is a short clip taken on the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Atami. The bullet train is my favorite way to travel in Japan. It feels like a cross between a train and an airplane. What’s really cool is the food and beverage service. It’s not free, of course, but the quality is way above airline food, and the service is exceptional. And they even serve beer! 🙂 Another subtle but wonderful aspect of the bullet train is that they welded all the rails together so there’s no annoying clickity-clack to deal with: it feels like you’re flying…minus the turbulence.

Yeah, they really know how to take care of customers here. But don’t take my word for it–check it out for yourself. (I figured that if a picture is worth a 1,000 words then a video is worth at least 10,000, no?) The clip below is of the “snack lady” doing her job with dedication and professionalism. What impresses me every time is how the servers bow before entering and leaving the train car. The conductors do the same.

So take heed America: we’ve got a long way to go to match the Japanese level of customer service. The only negative I can think of is that the high Japanese standard has spoiled me; now I’m ruined for life. Can’t imagine anyone else ever measuring up.

So here you go, the shinkansen snack lady in action:


3 responses to “Japanese Customer Service in Action

  1. Well, Tim, you already know how I feel about Japanese customer service, so I’ll simply add that if you’re in Japan and want to treat yourself to a rather unexpected location for witnessing the utmost in courtesy and first-class service, bowing included, visit your local gas station — and as Tim said, get ready to be spoiled for life!

  2. Yo Sue, long time no see–we missed ya! Now that you brought it up I’m kicking myself for not taking a video clip of a visit to a Japanese gas station. Will do it next trip, I promise.

    Hey if you’ve got time, mosey on over to the positive reinforcement thread. I’m looking for ideas and input.

    Hope all is well in your world. Aloha!

  3. Aloha, Tim! O hisashi buri, ne…. Been preparing like mad for a class I’m teaching tomorrow on, you guessed it, doing business in Asia. Will definitely mosey over to all the great posts I’ve missed, asap. Until soon!

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