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Japan invests in service industry, reshaping its legendary hospitality

16 Comments
By Stanley White

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companies simply cannot hire enough workers.

BS. If they pay enough, people will come.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

stirring fears that self-checkout systems and software will take the human touch out of omotenashi, the country's vaunted commitment to hospitality.

You mean the women who mumble irashaimase without looking up at you from what you are doing in the conbinis or the other people who suck their teeth and say moshiwakegozaimasen when they can't be bothered to try and help you? That omotenashi? Thank you but I'll have nashi of that omotenashi.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

without looking up at you from what THEY are doing

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I've started using the "self regi" at my local FamilyMart.

Best service I have ever received.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

it embodies intense personal interaction with customers, an extreme willingness to respond to even the slightest request,

As recently reported, omotenashi in Tokyo assumes not very many disabled people will want to stay in the city's hotels and if they do, they will come with helpers. I doubt "even the slightest requests" of vegetarians go down very well most of the time. "Interaction" does not come into it.

Omotenashi is a very nice way of serving up what someone thinks you'll want. I'm a complete Japanophile, so it works for me, but it is arrogant and foolish to assume that that approach works for everyone.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Most commonly, it embodies intense personal interaction with customers, an extreme willingness to respond to even the slightest request, to speak only the most polite Japanese, and to bow frequently.

Indeed, and that response to any non-standard request will be "moshiwakegozaimasen" with the bow, killing 3 birds with one stone!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

stirring fears that self-checkout systems and software will take the human touch out of omotenashi, the country's vaunted commitment to hospitality.

This is just replacing robots with more robots. When the "human" robots provide me a service that is not already on their script or menu, the I'll call that good hospitality.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

*then

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan has the best,Customer service in the world as far as I'm concerned. I've been all over North America and many countries in Europe. I haven't see anything that comes close to Japan when it comes to customer service.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Ok you naysayers what country has better customer service than Japan??

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan has consistently good service. It's easy to get used to and forget how good it is. Yes, I've recieved much better service elsewhere on specific occasions (often by employees doing what they were not supposed to do), but it was memorable precisely because it was so unexpected.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan has the best overall service of any of the 40+ countries I've been to. It also for me holds the title of the best service I've received at any establishment ever, at a particular ryokan/onsen in Kamikochi in Nagano.

Sometimes the service can be a bit frustrating, if you go off manual, and in other countries you'll sometimes get warmer friendly interactions. But as far as quality of service goes, Japan wins.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Ok you naysayers what country has better customer service than Japan??

Countries as a whole, can't say. Varies from place to place. I found customer service poor in some parts of the US and excellent in others. The same in France, Ireland, Cyprus, Indonesia and any number of other places I could name.

Iceland was pretty good, apart from the legendary Blue Lagoon. I'll put that down to oversubscribers on the day.

But overall, over the years, I'd say Japan wins hands down.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm with those who praise Japanese service standards. It's so rare to get poor service you remember those that don't give it to you - that accommodation service guy in Takayama, that clothing shop woman in Kawagoe. Those I remember.

Sacrifice your No.1 rating in customer satisfaction? Not the way to go, Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Matsuya Foods Holdings Co is remodelling some of its beef bowl restaurants to self-service. Customers pick up their food from a counter, pour their own tea and clear their own trays, meaning less interaction with staff.

I'm fine with this. When I go to Matsuya/Yoshinoya/Tendon etc., I'm not worried about the customer experience. My goal is to get quick food cheaply, and this might even speed things up a bit without having to wait for staff.

At Takashimaya Co's Nihonbashi department store in central Tokyo, veteran concierge Masanori Shikita, 71, scowled when asked whether omotenashi would lose its human touch.

Of course, the very top echelon of consumers will always be taken care of. They need not worry. For the rest of us, looks like we'd better start getting used to AI and robots.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Service from those living robots that cant or wont go off script in Japan - I was in Taiwan this year they had great service and there was a person behind the service.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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