Sunday, October 9, 2011

Japanese Customer Service

I was at my school the other day, just sitting down at my desk.  There wasn't much work for me to do, so I was scribbling some kanji on blank pieces of paper.  Class didn't start for an hour anyway and I had some time to kill.  While in the midst of practicing a mechanic showed up at school.  He was there to pick up one of the teachers cars.  I glanced out the window and saw his car in the parking lot.  He grabbed the keys to the teachers car and drove off, leaving his car in the parking lot.  A few hours later, the mechanic returned with the teachers keys and a bill for the work done to his car.  This isn't the first time I've seen customer service taking to that level.  

Since many employees in Japan work long hours, it can be difficult for them to get normal errands done.  I've once seen travel agents come to the school, sit down, and talk with the teachers planning to get away during summer break.  This level of customer service is super rare in America.  

I think there are a few reasons for this, not all of which I want to get into.  The main point I want to get to is most Japanese take their job seriously or take extreme pride in their work.  Rarely is anything done sloppy here in Japan.  Let me give you an example.  

If you walked into a 7/11 in Japan, you'll see at least three people working.  They'll great you immediately.   You head over to the chips section and pull a bag off the shelf, leaving an 'empty' space. Then you grab a coke and head to the front to pay.  While at the front of the store, you decide you want a corn dog.  You tell the clerk and before you can finish your sentence, another employee or the clerk themselves quickly head over to the corn dogs and pulls one off the shelf for you.  Puts it nicely in a bag and hands it too you.  When you're walking out of the store, all of the workers yell 'thank you' (in Japanese of course) and you're on you're way.  What you won't see is that one of the employees will go back to where you bought your bag of chips and 're-face' the brand, making sure that the shelves don't look empty.  

The level of detail and pride the Japanese take in their work is insane.  Sometimes I think it's a little to much but I have grown accustomed to it.  I have a feeling that when I go back to visit in America, I might be a little discouraged.  

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