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Japan is renowned for its customer service. Is it overrated or well-deserved?


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Generally, service is good if a bit mechanical and robotic. When everyone is on the same script, service is great. However, if something is off script, chaos can ensue. A relatively simple question, "Does this food have pork in it?" Can cause a stoppage while someone who knows what is in the food can be found (generally not the manager).

On the other hand, I like how some clerks don't follow the rules IF THEY LIKE YOU. Upto and including government offices.

"I'm sorry I'm a week late with this form. I'm really really sorry."

"Oh, that's okay." Vs

"Here's your form."

"It's late."


"We can't accept it."

To compare, in the US service can be surly and a bit rude but less mechanical.


"I'd like a Big Mac with a large coke and fries."

"That'll be $10, By the way, you've got a bugger sticking out of your nose."

"Oh, gees, thanks."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have had excellent service with patience and politeness in Japan. I have also had terrible service, a complete lack of any flexibility or reasonableness. Generally service is good but certainly not always.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think their after-sales return/refund/exchange policies in particular are often excellent and more importantly free of charge (pick up AND delivery, multiple times). No wonder staff are on jpy900 an hour and companies on razor-thin margins, if any. 

Customer service at shops, restos, parks etc is also excellent albeit a tad too slow/detailed for my liking. Don't need a 15min explanation to know what I can/can't do, will see etc. Overall top notch though.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In general it is excellent. It completely disproves the argument back home that tipping is needed to ensure good service - the best service I've ever had has been in Japan, and no tip was required. You also don't have to endure meaningless small chat/flirting by a server trying to get a bigger tip.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

While polite, I'd hardly call it excellent. Most Japanese service is only good so long as you the customer do exactly what the Japanese staff expect of a customer. Do anything out of the ordinary, and you had better be ready for the teeth-sucking.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is definitely something else. I once wanted to try a dress on in a store, and a woman working there unbuttoned the whole thing for me, which I'm not used to. She even did it which such vigor she tore off one of the buttons!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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