Consistency is the key to CX success. Consistent what?

It’s all about politeness and respect

There are plenty of excellent CX white papers which speak to the importance of “consistency” across a wide range of service dimensions and “customer touchpoints” along the “customer journey“. All very  logical and methodical.

(I always wince at the coldly analytical language used by CX professionals when referring to we, mere, ‘human beings’ in the CX context. As if we were just a cell in an Excel sheet, trickling down to a bottom line somewhere below)

We’re people!

And if there is one thing that is utterly consistent about the customer service in Japan, which IMHO leads to a lot of other positive CX outcomes, it is this….


Some of the original research I came across when I began my “omotenashi” project on where to find the best customer service in the world is particularly interesting, conducted by Nate Silver (a political pollster who accurately predicted President Obama’s first campaign win).

Two countries came first and second in his research on tipping and perceptions of great customer service.

Guess which they were? Coincidence? I think not.

So why is politeness so very important?

During my recent stay for several months in #kyoto I noticed that after a few days of being on the receiving end of relentlessly polite treatment, in every shop, bus, taxi,supermarket checkout, etc. that something happens.

One’s (for want of a better way of putting it)  “barriers” come down. No longer are you subconsciously prepared all the time to (even occasionally) be flat out ignored, spoken to in a disrespectful way, dismissed or scowled at. And once these psychological barriers come down, you open up to all sorts of vendor-customer interactions. Every shop presents the possibility of making a new friend, winning a smile and generally being made to feel good about life.

And, speaking of politeness, one last thing…. literally.

There is a culture in Japan of what might best be described “Greetings”. And beyond the usual “Welcome, Hello” they also frequently deliver a genuine, polite, “goodbye”. A “Farewell Greeting”.

In many hospitality and retail settings in the west, you are lucky to even get the “hello”.

So if you are wondering where to start with your customer service training, try installing a corporate culture of being consistently polite to all your customers/guests. It costs nothing and is a highly effective way of starting a profitable and enjoyable relationship with them.



Positive Endpoints

“Positive Endpoints”


Here in the west, MBA equipped “customer experience” consultants evangelise in impenetrable buzzword jargon about about the importance of “positive endpoints” in the “customer Journey” – (Translation  – about how the “goodbye at the end” represents the best opportunity to connect with your customer.) All as if this is some kind of ground-breaking rocket-science insight.

Meanwhile, in Japan, they do this routinely as a natural part of their extraordinary “Omotenashi” customer service culture. With a polite bow and a smile.  “When the young sales associate walked me out to the sidewalk to bow and thank me for coming into the store, I knew I wasn’t in Chicago anymore.  After all, I hadn’t even bought anything.” 

We have so much to learn….while the most effective behaviours in the world’s best-practice customer service culture example are there for all to see. Right in front of our eyes.