Japanese Customer Service - Quick Response
By Peter Hanami
Japanese customer service can be known for its quick response to customer concerns whether it be a meal in a restaurant, handling a complaint, making an appointment, getting a delivery or getting a service technician to visit your home to repair an appliance.
Ever bought a product, taken it home, unpacked it and found its faulty? In my experience buying a shirt in Japan. The shirt in question had faulty button holes, it was incorrectly stitched and didn’t allow buttons to pass through. After calling the store to tell them the problem, a representative visited my home on the same day (within three hours of the call). Store staff collected the shirt, apologized for any convenience and brought a replacement shirt, the same colour and size.They arrived on time and took the damaged shirt back to the store. I experienced this type of customer service first hand with Japanese retailer Uniqlo.
Want to order a book online and get it the same day? This is possible if you order books held in Japan with Amazon Japan. If the book’s price is over 1500 yen it includes free delivery.
Imagine your shopping and a parcel delivery comes while your out. A note is left with the details of the parcel. To get the parcel you simply call the phone number on the note, enter the codes for the time you want it delivered, say 7pm and you can arrange it without speaking to anyone. Fast, quick, smooth and seamless.
Hair getting long? Time for a haircut? A visit to a local your local barbershop in Japan. You typically walk in pay for your haircut using a computerized vending machine that accepts notes, gives change and prints you a ticket with a number indicating your place in the line. Take a seat, read a magazine and wait your turn to be called up to the barber’s chair. QB House is a franchise chain all over Japan that provide ten minute haircuts for 1000 yen.
Long day at the office and your late home but don't want to cook?. So you decide to stop for a meal at a restaurant on your way home from the railway station. Walk in, pick an item from the menu of pictures on a computerized vending machine, insert your money, collect your change and hand your ticket to the waiting staff. On receiving your ticket, staff will then proceed to make your meal and serve it to you piping hot within five minutes of ordering or even quicker. A visit to a Gusto store with counter service will allow you to experience this first hand.
Having an appliance break down is never fun. The video player I purchased wasn't working and ate the video tape and couldn't be ejected. I returned to the store with the warranty card and made an appointment for a service call. The next day the service staff arrived and I was ready to have the product taken away to be repaired. The serviceman smiled and ushered me back inside. He then unrolled a mat he had brought with him, sat down on the mat with his tool box and pulled apart the video in front of my eyes. In less than fifteen minutes he had found the problem, replaced the part and rebuilt the video.
That reminds me about the history of sushi, “Originally sushi was a popular food sold from the mobile stalls known as yatai. It appealed to the busy people of Edo (Tokyo) because it was quick to prepare, and they were not kept waiting after ordering " Quote from " Illustrated Eating in Japan ” by JTB Travel, page 22.
Quick response is an essential part of Japanese customer service whether it be food delivery, telephone answering, bookings, appointment or repairs. It has become such an integral part of the delivery that the customer just expects it, all the time!
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Copyright Peter Hanami 2012. All Rights Reserved.