The Conrad Hotel

Say “Hai” To Customer Service

What an eye-opening trip! I’ve just returned from Japan again and, as always, I’m in awe of their customer service culture. It’s not just businesses practicing great customer service either; their entire culture is built upon respect. Almost everyone I came into contact understood “polite”. They were all well presented and had a genuine desire to want to help.

The presentation of the cab drivers was immaculate; collared shirts, ties, gloves and in some case a jacket! You rarely see that in Australia.

The second ‘ah-ha’ moment came one morning while I was in the lobby of theConrad Hotel. While I was standing there, I observed the front office manager watching the check-out procedure. After speaking with him, he offered me this pearl of wisdom “the check out procedure is just as important as the check in.” Now how many businesses can you think of that place an equal amount of importance on the final stages of a transaction as they do on the early stages of a sale?

What’s more, how many managers or business owners do you think take the time to just observe their processes? It’s this unwavering attention to detail that sets customer service in Japan eons ahead of the world.

Here’s another example. I’d paid for my purchase at a boutique when the team member emerged from behind the counter and handed me my bag with a bow. The whole process wasn’t rushed or strained – at that moment I was her only focus. I remember Deb at the Nautica store on the Gold Coast presenting my purchases by stepping out from behind the counter and it had a profound impact purely because nobody does it! Brilliant.

Hours after touching down in Perth I was back in the office to share my experiences with my team, finding ways we can further integrate this kind of attentive service into Messages On Hold’s culture. So the question I put to you is: what’s your ‘come out from behind the counter’ moment? What do you do in your business that leaves your customers thinking “wow, that was different”?