Having been a frequent visitor to Japan for twenty years and now residing in Tokyo, there is one unique characteristic of life in Japan that impresses me daily –– unmatched customer service called “Omotenashi,” a term that translates in both word and deed as hospitality, offering customers unreserved attention and service or to entertain guests wholeheartedly.
One only needs to reside in Japan for a short time to realize just how much attention to detail is paid across many sectors of the service industry and appreciate the extraordinary customer experience you find all over Japan in shops, in restaurants, or in taxis.
From my personal perspective, in the broader context of all my personal relationships and interactions, it is the evident ubiquitous Japanese politeness that leads to Japan’s world famous customer service. I always have a feeling of being appreciated, an almost sensory experience of being on the receiving end of kindness and enthusiasm.
To understand the difference, consider the basic foundational concept of customer service expression –– the “customer is always right.” In the United States, the concept, often used but abused, is implied in the business creed of “The Customer is King.” In Japan, the concept is reflected in a deeply held and practiced belief that the “The Customer is God.”
I recently read an interesting article in The Japan Times that cited the Tokyo taxi experience as an example of the Omotenashi. You can read to piece by clicking here: Tokyo Taxi Experience