Welcome to the sixth edition of "In Touch". As always, I would love to continue the conversation so please hit "reply" and let me know what you think.
Story of the Week: Omotenashi & Lexus
When you get up from your seat in a Michelin-starred restaurant, you will find your drink, napkin and cutlery replenished when you return. That’s almost exactly what happened to me during a recent visit to the Lexus showroom in Nicosia, Cyprus. I got up from my seat and came back to find my fresh carrot juice (yes, fresh!) replenished. This is all part of Lexus’ “Omotenashi” philosophy. Omotenashi is the Japanese version of hospitality and an important part of Japanese culture. It's one of those things that is easy to recognize, but difficult to describe.
“Omote” means “public face” i.e. the image you wish to present to outsiders and “Nashi”, which means nothing. Combining them means that every service is provided from the heart – honest, no hiding, no pretending. “Serve wholeheartedly” might be the equivalent for the rest of the world.
Lexus exemplifies this honest, no hiding and no pretending service from the heart in every way: from how they genuinely greeted me as I entered their showroom, addressing me by name and anticipating my needs by finding out that I love carrot juice and maing it available, to how they followed up my visit in less than two hours, as their Lexus/Omotenashi philosophy requires.
On entering the showroom, I saw the words “Experience Amazing” prominently featured on the wall. On leaving, those words were engraved on my heart and mind.
Words of Wisdom
“Sumimasen” another Japanese word with a deep meaning:
In Japan, as soon as you request help by saying “sumimasen”, any employee close to you may take over the responsibility of serving you. In Japan, there’s almost no such thing as a ‘this-wasn’t-in-my-contract’ attitude. If you are in a restaurant and there are no waiters nearby, a chef or kitchen staff will be happy to take your order.
“7 Japanese Words That Teach Great Customer Service”
A truly heartwarming gesture:
In the middle of a harsh rainstorm, a Wendy’s employee went outside, removed an umbrella from one of the tables, and held it over an elderly man with a rolling walker as he went to his car. Good customer service is about more than giving people discounts or refunds when they’ve had bad experiences. Sometimes, you need to go even further and extend empathy and a helping hand.
“These 13 Stories of Remarkable Customer Service Will Put a Smile on Your Face”
By Gregory Ciotti
A Question to Ponder, dear reader
How do you create a great first impression – and a lasting one – to the people you serve?
Hit reply and let me know what you believe.
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Michael R. Virardi