Knowing your customer is doubly important if they're Japanese - and doubly difficult
There's no excuse these days for not knowing your customer, thanks to the easily available information on LinkedIn and other networking sites. But as those who work in or with Japan owned companies know, there's not quite the depth of information in English on Japanese companies or individuals on such sites or even in the print media.
British Customer Service Has Improved - or is it just the Technology?
I asked two Japanese expatriates who were both on their second stint in the UK what had changed since their last stay in the UK 10 or so years’ ago. To my surprise, both said that they thought customer service had improved.
My initial response was that this was probably due to the big increase in people from Eastern Europe who are working as waiters, shop assistants and so on, with far more enthusiasm and efficiency than had been normal in the UK in the past.
But on discussing this further, and thinking about my own recent experiences, I realise the improvement they were talking about has more to do with technology than the cultural mindset of service sector employees. One of the Japanese expatriates said “when you arrange for someone to come to your house to repair something, they arrive when they say they will”. This used not to be the case – you could take a whole day off work waiting for someone and not even get a phone call explaining the delay.
Japan's "No Overtime Day Refugees"
Why is there no Japanese word for Risk?
Bending Over Backwards to be Inclusive
Are you ‘Regular’? Probably not, if you were hired outside Japan, or female
My first essay on Japan, a thesis for my Modern History & Economics degree, was on the day labourers in post-war Japan and the so-called dual labour market. It’s with a sinking heart, nearly 30 years’ on, that I have to acknowledge that the concerns I had then, about the harm done by erecting an impermeable wall in a labour force between ‘permanent’ and ‘temporary’, continue to this day, when thinking about how to improve diversity and inclusion in Japanese companies.