Luxury Coach & Transportation

August 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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14 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION AUGUST 2018 PUBLISHER'S PAGE I AUGUST 2018 Y ou'd have to be living under a rock to not know Japan is world-famous for its incredibly polished and high service standards. Our industry was founded on the notion transportation is just that, but a luxury experience is something unique and special. Chauffeurs originally wore captain hats, breaches, and gloves. Today, in this intensely competitive market we find ourselves in, the "service" aspect of what we do has never been more important as a mark of distinction. Creating an experience your clients will never forget and doing it consistently takes more than discipline; it's a mindset. American Express surveyed 1,000 people each in Canada, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, the U.K., and the U.S. about their customer service expectations. Specifically, researchers asked the participants how many times they'd have to experience poor customer service from a company before taking their future business elsewhere. 56% of the respondents from Japan said they would go elsewhere after just ONE bad experience. The U.S. was a bit more forgiving, with one-third stating they would leave the vendor after a single bad experience. Taken from the perspective of a business owner, a single service screw up means you can probably kiss that customer goodbye forever. You can't count on clients shrugging their shoulders and coming back again after even one brusque interaction with a frontline worker. So what can be learned from a culture whose servitude attitude is No. 1 in the world? Omotenashi is loosely defined as "hospitality." It's a way of anticipating customers' needs — acting on others' needs without being asked to do so. One thing we can do in our business is to first list out all the requests our customers regularly ask of us. Having your team at all client touch points keep notes makes this an easy task. With that knowledge, you can train your team to do in advance whatever they can based on what clients request the most. That can now be a new company standard. Set out to leave your clients asking, "How did they think of that?" They don't need to know; they were just "omotenashi'd." In the West, "service" is very transactional, meaning it's directly tied to getting paid to perform. We tend to think good service is simply doing what we are charging for without making any mistakes. That's part of it for sure. But one of the main differences between our "service" thought process and Japanese hospitality (omotenashi) is theirs focuses on going beyond that. It's more about the warmth, kindness, friendliness, and mannerisms of those serving the client, whether the receptionist, dispatcher, driver, salesperson, or YOU, the owner. It is the ever-evasive heart by which we apply our daily efforts and the genuine care in which we treat both internal and external customers. Omotenashi What We Can Learn About Customer Service From The Japanese Culture Sara Eastwood-Richardson, LCT Publisher sara@lctmag.com We tend to think good service is simply doing what we are charging for without making any mistakes.

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