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Companies fighting back against unruly customers

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Huh? Where is the "omotenashi" here? And all along just about everyone in the world is thinking that Japan is the land of politeness and humility! (sarcasm)

Just goes to show that Japan is just like any country in the world, there are decent folks and there aren't!

Nothing really "news" here, it's just getting more exposure that's all! Been this way as long as I have lived here, and that's a pretty damn long time! Nothing new really.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

First time in Japan years and years ago before GPS' the taxi driver kicked me out because I only had the full address and didn't have a map to show him where the place was I wanted to go.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

When I worked in retail, many centuries ago, it was common sense to be polite and helpful to the customer. Even if they were unpleasant, the customer was always right. That said, you got to see the worst of humanity come through the door sometimes. From all walks of life. Arrogant, rude, threatening and violent. Which is why I have the utmost respect and admiration for people who have to deal with unruly customers.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

I've dealt with companies that as soon as the customer swears, they hang up. My boss, a VP, called and they hung up on him too. We never purchased any more computers from that company and we were buying 4.5M yen servers.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

But but but I thought Japan was such a polite and respectful country...

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Perhaps companies should advise their staff to help instead of sucking air in between their teeth and saying something like "tchotto muzikashi desu" or some other phrase that basically means get lost.

Generally service is good in Japan, but there are many exceptions where the staff can be most unhelpful and even lie. Japanese companies spend too much time teaching their staff greetings and how to bow rather than about the product they sell.

Sometimes getting angry is the only way to get any results.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Sometimes getting angry is the only way to get any results.

I find politeness, rather than verbal or physical abuse, tends to get results.

I've not encountered many surly or inattentive staff in Japan. There was a taxi driver who broke wind quite violently when I thanked him at the end of my journey, mind.

Overall, I find American and Japanese staff to be the most helpful in all the countries I've lived or visited in.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

dealing with claims is part of the service!

Dont like being told what to do while getting paid to provide service? - Quit!

I pay to get service, as long as I pay with my hard earned cash and if it is inadequate , you will get an earfull or a complaint ,as simple as that.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

"The customer shouldn't always be king." Sometimes they're wrong. Workers should be able to tell them to buzz off.

Companies should have their workers' backs when customers are being a holes. Don't need their business.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I pay to get service, as long as I pay with my hard earned cash and if it is inadequate , you will get an earfull or a complaint ,as simple as that.

And equally, if you are rude and arrogant, or abusing my staff, I will politely show you the door.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

But but but I thought Japan was such a polite and respectful country...

For the most part it is.

You didn't think that meant every last person in the country did you?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Taxi drivers here are by and large ok but one in ten will be rude or refuse to acknowledge directions.

I always record my initial conversation with the driver and if surly will exit the cab , record the company name and plate number and send it to the company......

3 ( +5 / -2 )

No worker should put up with vile abusive customers.

However, sometimes it's the worker who shows disgusting behaviour bordering on racism. JR, are you listening?!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

However, sometimes it's the worker who shows disgusting behaviour bordering on racism. JR, are you listening?!

Pukey2 can you tell us more? Were you in the right and JR in the wrong?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You didn't think that meant every last person in the country did you?

No of course not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Some(!) companies, sales people and service providers in Japan seem not do understand the basic concept of 'customer'. There are 2 sides to this coin. If people get treated with indifference, made to wait for no obvious reasons, requests are ignored, mistakes are moshiagenai, it is not surprising that customers act up. Respect goes both ways but should start with the service provider.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Amazing... or was it intentional. The first example cited in this article was a Taxi Company dealing with an exodus of drivers.... yet Uber and Lyft are outlawed in Japan. Yeah.... the Government is looking out for you, they care about you.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No of course not.

Ok, then what did you mean by this:

But but but I thought Japan was such a polite and respectful country...

It seems that this article about some people who are unruly has lead you to question your belief that the people of the country are generally polite and respectful. If you didn't think that this meant every person in the country, then how did finding out that some of the people in the country are unruly cause you to question whether or not the people in general were polite and respectful?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Dont like being told what to do while getting paid to provide service? - Quit!

I pay to get service, as long as I pay with my hard earned cash and if it is inadequate , you will get an earfull or a complaint ,as simple as that.

Fair enough to complain if you are getting a bad service , but it needs to be within limits and without degenerating into insults, offensive language and verbal abuse.

Years ago I used to have customers getting quite agro and abusive with my staff ( major company ) thinking that being a customer gives them a carte blanch to scream and insult when not getting their way. Most of them calmed down when told that the staff is trying to help them so being abusive is not exactly gonna help them in getting a solution. Others did not and were politely told that they are out of line and if they do not change their behaviour will be escorted out by security. Just because you pay for something does not give you a right to abuse frontline staff , period.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

In Japan, customer is a “living god”, very different from the Western nations, so it is very hard for staff to ever disagree with them even if too terrible behaviour. I often see customers at combini who refuse to thank staff, and won’t even look at them. I feel sorry for staff at those times.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

In Japan, customer is a “living god”, very different from the Western nations

Not really that different. In the West there's a saying that "the customer is always right". The employee was taught to always be courteous and go the extra mile for the customer.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Not really that different. In the West there's a saying that "the customer is always right". The employee was taught to always be courteous and go the extra mile for the customer.

It's true, and while I love Japanese customer service, it's usually very inflexible. If you want things the way that they intend to give them to you, then the service is amazing. But if you have any variation from that, then almost always they are inflexible and are unable to appropriately respond to customer wishes/needs. The service in western nations is often a little more sloppy, but much more flexible and adaptable.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Strangerland - indeed,  that is definately the case.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In Japan, customer is a “living god”

No, a customer is simply a "god".

Odd confusion between "Arahitogami" (i.e. the Emperor in past times) and "kami-sama".

Very, very bizarre mistake for a Japanese person to make ....

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@ lucabrasi - are the customer living? Yes? Case closed!

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Hmmm, taxi drivers are varied in manner and skill, as you would expect with their being so many. I've had some that are very accommodating and fun, who drive very carefully. On the other hand, Ive had others who just grunt acknowledgement and drive at extreme speeds and are very reckless. From my experiences, I'm sure some of the abuse hurled at taxi drivers is warranted.

Customer service in Japan is 'generally' quite good although, it can be very slow and tedious. For example, I went to the Softbank shop the other day to pay my bill and change my address. At the time, there were more staff then customers in the shop. However, it took 55 minutes to accomplish such a simple thing. A few more examples are, dealing with City Hall, registering a car (name change, etc), making a bank account. All of these things (and more) are extremely slow and tedious processes with many stages. It's easy to understand how some people get irate over such slow tedious processes. Japanese customer service is quite good, but it could do with a lot of streamlining and taking a lot of the 'robots' out of the loops.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

But if you have any variation from that, then almost always they are inflexible and are unable to appropriately respond to

I agree. It's a chore to get the corporate pizza places here to get them to put the pepperoni on top of the cheese instead of under it, and getting it delivered to Bldg. 7 is impossible.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

claim is not equal abuse, the article speaks about two parts, one is abusing taxies - which yes they do get to serve rowdy customers, but it has another coin of them being extremely rude quite often , especially to foreigners if they think they dont speak Japanese .. had it quite few times while riding with Japanese friends.

the second part talks about claims delaying work of public transport personnel , which sounds insane, because its part of their work.

Just like if i hire someone to work on my houses and work will be done badly, late or any other wrong way, it my absolute right to speak harshly and complain if I dont get compensated up to par.

Too much leeway has been given to service industry lately.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Just because you are a customer doesn’t arm you with the right to be abusive, aggressive or rude.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

So, I was reading this article, finding it all very interesting and a reflection of the changing times and change in societal behavior.

And THEN I get to this beauty of a line thrown into the article.

In Tokyo, a sharp increase in railroad passengers is expected during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Wait, WHAT?!?!?!

So, let me get this straight.....

In an article about Japanese customers becoming increasingly rude, belligerent, etc., all of sudden there is the need to introduce the idea that a bunch of visitors are going to cause similar problems?!

Or that problems due to visitors for the Olympics is the same as belligerent domestic customers?!

Leave it to Kyodo to introduce stupidity and equivalence into the article!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Just because you are a customer doesn’t arm you with the right to be abusive, aggressive or rude.

Of course not.

But I'm English, too, and usually somewhat drunk ....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Strangerland

My initial comment was sarcasm. I thought it’d be obvious that I wasn’t including 100% of the population...

...however, the majority of foreign sources from the outside looking in, see Japan as being a bastion of good manners and respect (of course in comparison to their own countries). In addition I frequently hear Japanese people themselves say that Japan is well mannered and respectful (generally - not to a person).

My own personal opinion formed over the last 20 years is that Japan has a veneer of politeness which masks a large underbelly of rudeness. In many cases the politeness is not genuine, rather a necessity of a specific situation. This isn’t necessarily bad as it maintains the ‘wa’ - but it clearly doesn’t transfer to other situations that don’t require politeness as a rule.

This might be controversial, but I don’t see a huge difference in the politeness and manners of Japanese people and British people for example. Japan has more formal situations that require a certain type of behaviour and language, but in the UK people generally hold doors open for each other, say please and thank you more, and would probably help you if you collapsed in the street (I’ve witnessed the lack of these last 3 things in Japan this morning).

*This is only my opinion. Of course there are many Japanese people who are genuinely polite and respectful in all situations.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

about time, there are so many rude customers, treated you like dirt if you worked in

a position that they considered "lower rank".

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is what happens when people who are systematically denied the latitude to express themselves negatively encounter a situation in which they have equality, or perhaps perceive an advantage. If the customer is always right, then the counterparty must be wrong, seems to be the logic. The power dynamic between workers in the service industry and their customers is one of the most unequal anywhere, and people who have a chip on their shoulder that stems from the suspicion of being slighted themselves are the first to take advantage of it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Alex Einz: "the second part talks about claims delaying work of public transport personnel , which sounds insane, because its part of their work."

Not when you are committing what is tantamount to criminal behaviour, Alex, and why am I not surprised you are siding with said nut jobs? It is NOT the job of these people to be a punching bag for people who are misdirecting their anger. This is a problem for all of society in Japan, from customers to "monster parents" (a term we don't really have in Western countries). In fact, I don't think this goes far enough, and taxis and other jobs should be required to have cameras that record in case of abuse, with customers being prosecuted if and when it occurs.

The only problem with this "cracking down" stuff and adding new clauses is that I am quite convinced, having lived here as long as I have, that it is just lip-service. They will still be expected to take the abuse and apologize to the customer, who is WRONG when they abuse people.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is what happens when people who are systematically denied the latitude to express themselves negatively encounter a situation in which they have equality, or perhaps perceive an advantage. If the customer is always right, then the counterparty must be wrong, seems to be the logic. The power dynamic between workers in the service industry and their customers is one of the most unequal anywhere, and people who have a chip on their shoulder that stems from the suspicion of being slighted themselves are the first to take advantage of it.

it my absolute right to speak harshly and complain if I dont get compensated up to par.

You couldn't make it up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't know, sometimes I think the general public has this opinion that all of Japanese society runs like some well oiled machine, where its citizens do not like to stand out from the grain. A country where its people are well mannered and never raise their voice in public.

However, Japan is like any other country in the world. You have your well mannered folk, and then you have people that can be just as rude and inconsiderate as any other nationality. I have worked at an airport a long time ago, and some Japanese passengers were some of the most hostile and rude I've encountered, taking out their frustrations on me.

Basically, what I am saying is that Japan is like any other country, there are rude, not so rude, and in between people.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I often see customers at combini who refuse to thank staff, and won’t even look at them. I feel sorry for staff at those times.

Ganbare Japan - me too.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Are there any articles here anymore that do not somehow mahke reference to the Tokyo Olympics?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are tactics to deal with unruly and dis-satisfied customers. As hard has you train to provide your service or craft at the best of your ability. It should be known equally to train in objection and rebuttals. Some complaints that lead to rudeness can be turned around. Some you just need to let go. Some you need to ask. Okay what the real objective of this persons claim abuse and complaint?

If you are in sales this a great example of training I mean.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwcCMfPO0iU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mukX3V3PiMM

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Toasted Heretic

I find politeness, rather than verbal or physical abuse, tends to get results. Here is a yes attitude for ya!

Bees and vinegar....Genius!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

it my absolute right to speak harshly and complain if I dont get compensated up to par.

Some people make a habit out of complaining in restaurants, or with the services industry etc. Those that do shouldn't be surprised when they find it hard to find reliable waiters/agents/workers after repeat offendings.

Word spreads fast.

I've noticed that in other countries, maybe it happens here, maybe not.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

oldman_13: "Basically, what I am saying is that Japan is like any other country, there are rude, not so rude, and in between people."

Rarely agree with you, but do on that. My only problem with it is how they bend over backwards even to accommodate those incredibly rude people, when they should not feel obligated to.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've never really got this notion that Japanese companies treat customers especially well. I've certainly never experienced it. People make a lot of hay out of the Japanese slogan being "The customer is god," but that seems to only ever apply when the customer wants exactly the same thing every other customer wants, with no adaptation, alteration, or thought required, and quietly takes it without complaint when circumstances result in inferior (or sometimes no) service. Oh sure, the staff will be unfailingly polite about telling you "no" to every request that needs the least out-of-the-box thinking, but there is more to service than being polite.

Toasted HereticToday  08:35 am JST

I find politeness, rather than verbal or physical abuse, tends to get results.

I dislike this notion that the implied only alternative to abuse is politeness. Sometimes, a tactical application of non-abusive directness is necessary when confronting a company that wants to apply a surcharge they never informed you about and you never agreed to, or when restaurant staff repeatedly skip serving drinks at your table while serving and refilling drinks at all your neighbors, or when a shop keeper humbly informs you that they refuse to serve stinking barbarian foreigners like Mr. Okyakusama.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Americans are not as abusive as Japanese bad mannered customers. Because the drivers of the taxi may have guns in America. I always think politeness of Americans come from a fear that they may be shot if they insult others.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Here’s what helps me about Japan...

After being here awhile I become more polite while out and about as it’s easy to be nice like everyone else is...

I also find myself not getting up for ladies on trains, closing elevator doors fast, and not talking to people :)...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

US companies have completely solved this problem by having the customer support number lead to a computer that gives you 7 options, all of which lead to nowhere!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Generally speaking, service provided is up to the top, with impossibility to alter the service. It is a given.

Ass for taxi drivers, problem come from their age !

70 year old drivers and above, guess what, are not expected to know well other cultures, be multi-lingual, be fast or respect red lights for your safety...

I ust can't remember having an under 50 year old taxi driver or a woman driver since 2000.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Jonathin Prin: I ust can't remember having an under 50 year old taxi driver or a woman driver since 2000.

Got to agree. My last taxi ride from Narita was with an older gentleman looked to be going on 85,,, scary!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First time in Japan years and years ago before GPS' the taxi driver kicked me out because I only had the full address and didn't have a map to show him where the place was I wanted to go

Probably an address in romaji so what did you expect? :)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Got to agree. My last taxi ride from Narita was with an older gentleman looked to be going on 85,,, scary!!!

Always amusing those gaijin taxi experiences in the knowledge that many come from countries where people have limited driving abilities. What I never see are figures that the old taxi drivers cause accidents related to age.

Compared to many cab drivers elsewhere in the world the old farts are fast, polite, take the shortest routes instead of the 'scenic route for foreigners' and no tip hassles.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Americans are not as abusive as Japanese bad mannered customers. 

Never actually been to the USA have you?

>

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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