Japan and its people are known for its amazing customer service, hospitality, and overall politeness wherever you go. In Japan, top-notch customer service is not limited to luxury hotels, resorts, restaurants, or country clubs. In fact, you will receive top-tier customer service even when visiting a convenience store or McDonald’s!
Of course, there are differing standards, meaning the customer service at a five-star luxury hotel will understandably be different from that of a McDonald’s employee. Still, you may be surprised at how narrow that difference can be in comparison to other countries.
Why is Customer Service So Good in Japan?
There are various reasons for the elevated customer service standards in Japan, ranging from positive to negative and cultural to professional. As a culture, Japanese people value politeness towards those who are helping them in some way or another.
On the other hand, Japanese consumers are very strict due to the cultural standards of politeness. The average Japanese consumer will likely spend more time ensuring a product is of the highest quality possible before buying. The same goes for customer service. Japanese people who experience bad customer service will likely more often than not stop attending a restaurant, store, or hotel following an incident.
Thus, customer service in Japan is always held to an extremely high standard. Sometimes, in my own experience, it can be almost overwhelming, especially when all you are trying to do is order a 10-piece chicken nugget meal! Sometimes, you even feel like you should say something along the lines of “you don’t need to do all of this for me!”.
Regardless, customer service standards in Japan will likely not change in the foreseeable future, even though the nation is becoming more globalized. That being said, recently, amidst the pandemic, Japanese people have taken to social media to express their gratitude towards postal workers who continued to work hard throughout the pandemic, ensuring top quality customer service all while taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With people being advised to stay at home for the last year, online shopping has increased, meaning that postal workers and deliverymen have to work even harder than ever. On top of this, they need to ensure things are COVID-free as they utilize hands-free drop-offs and pickups, limiting the opportunities for people to thank their couriers.
Let’s take a look at two recent examples of people expressing gratitude towards delivery workers that have been trending on social media here in Japan.
Thanking Delivery Workers During the Pandemic
The incident that has caught people’s hearts on social media comes from a Twitter user named Turi (@turi2018). As Japan is currently in its rainy season that usually lasts from June to mid-July, delivery workers must deal with rain on an almost daily basis as they try to keep people’s mail and parcels dry.
Turi posted on social media outlining an interaction with a delivery worker who was incredibly polite as he apologized profusely for getting Turi’s parcel dirty. The story goes as follows.
Turi said that as soon as the delivery man arrived, he apologized repeatedly for dirtying the parcel, even offering to compensate Turi for it. Then, Turi checked out the parcel to find it in the following condition.
Turi immediately told the courier it was no problem, that he has no cat allergies, and he didn’t care about the condition of the box. He even noted that it was more of a reward for cat lovers than a simple stain and that it was actually adorable!
The courier outlined that when opened the back of the truck, he found a cat taking shelter from the rain atop of the boxes.
Another “thank you” comes from a former figure skater and one of 12 women who have landed a triple axel in an international competition, Yukari Nakano. Nakano is also a mother of two young children. She recently outlined how with the pandemic, it is hard to go shopping with two young children to take care of. Thus, she has been shopping online.
Nakano made a video formally thanking delivery workers who have worked through the pandemic. She noted that she decided to do so after two instances of superb customer service.
One delivery man was incredibly polite and even said over the doorbell phone, “if you are worried about the virus, I will leave it on the doorstep for you,” adding that he was sorry in advance if the delivery was late.
The next was when Nakano ordered a cake and toys for her eldest daughter, who celebrated her birthday in April. She noted that the couriers had also included origami paper and sticker packs for her children to play with free of charge as a gesture of kindness.
In her video, she notes how grateful she was for all delivery workers who have continued to maintain great customer service, going on to say that the little positive social interactions help unite everyone’s hearts in a time where the “distance” between people is greater. She also urges them to rest when needed as it will continue to get hotter as we move into the summertime.
How Have Japanese People Reacted?
Turi’s post below has almost 127,000 likes and 26 thousand reposts on Twitter.
Cat lovers have been saying that the paw prints are like receipts, some even calling it a romantic gesture from the cat! MadAlice on Twitter noted how clearly the paw prints were made, saying that it was super cute and that it should be seen as a reward!
Some others on Twitter said that if cardboard boxes with paw print designs were made they would sell!
What do you think about the paw prints and the delivery workers’ customer service? Like Yukari Nakano, we should all be thanking those who have worked through the pandemic, especially those who have been working even harder ever since online shopping and food delivery has increased.
Kevin Murasaki grew up moving back and forth between Chicago and Yokohama, Japan. Known as a "hafu", Kevin is half Japanese, and half American. Now a videographer and drone operator based in Fukuoka, Japan, Kevin enjoys playing basketball, driving on mountain or "touge" roads, and fishing in his free time. Kevin is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia.