In Japan they have extraordinary customer service competitions

The culture of extraordinary customer service is so pervasive that some Japanese companies have competitions for who can give the best customer service. All Nippon Airlines, ANA, one of Japan's airlines, has a customer service competition that focuses on the little interactions that can make life so pleasant.

It is all part of their 'Omotenashi' hospitality and service ethos that we'll be hearing more and more about as the Tokyo Olympics approaches.

What I find most interesting is how (supposedly) mundane some of the customer service interactions appear to be on the surface. And yet, if you stop to think, given the context of a busy cabin, the sometimes limited time between take off and landing, or between takeoff and first meal for example, each of these moments of personal care took a small decision to STOP whatever else they were dsoing and pay attention to the small personal needs of somebody.

We've all been in restaurants in which it is impossible to catch the server's eye as they walk past with deliberate tunnel vision. On an airplane, it's the same thing, only ten times more acute.

"Winners of ANA’s most recent competition were rewarded for engaging in a fun conversation with a passenger who said he loved airplanes; providing a magnifying glass to an elderly couple reading small text on a customs form; and other generous gestures."

There is so much scope for this in the world of face to face customer service interaction.

Singapore Airlines is, of course, the airline to beat in this respect, but across Asia, they all seem to do this so well.

So next time you are travelling to Japan, use a Japanese airline and you can start to experience their culture of guest hospitality even before you arrive.