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Americans Should Re-learn the Art of Customer Service from Asia (press release) - It's no surprise that customer service has been on the decline for the past ten years in America. Many company executives are quick to blame the economic downturn for the decline in service. But, frankly, that's just a weak excuse for those companies that are unwilling to spend the money to train their employees in the art of customer service. But, there's a deeper problem that is causing the decline in customer service among American companies. And, it's a two-headed monster!

The first head on this menacing monster is a mindset among the bean counters within corporate America who fail to see the correlation between superior customer service and profit. For these mindless bureaucrats, who fatten the top line of most businesses and contribute little to the bottom line, customer service is a cost-center. From their narrow vantage point, teaching employees how to smile, be polite and answer customer questions doesn't translate into more revenue. This mindset is problematic, but it can be cured by enlightened leaders who understand that customer service is a philosophy not a department!

Unfortunately, the second head on the monster is more challenging because it is rooted in our changing national culture which has drifted away from customer service because of greed, technology and the unwillingness of consumers to fight back for better service and fair treatment. How do we go about restoring customer service as a way of life in America?

Perhaps, the answer can be found across the Pacific Ocean. On a recent trip to Hong Kong, Macau and Tokyo I found customer service is alive and well. Certainly, these destinations have been hit with tough economic times; and yet, their commitment to superior customer service is unwavering. Why is that?

I think the answer is cultural. There is something inherent among Asian cultures that teaches people to be of service, to be kind and help each other. There is also a deep regard among Asians for respect and common courtesy. How else do you explain the fact that taxi drivers refrain from honking their horns and airport safety announcements are kept to a reasonable minimum and not repeated every thirty seconds.

I remember an advertising campaign by Toyota in the early 1990s that emphasized uncommon courtesy. It was brilliant because it captured the essence of a traditional Japanese custom -- courtesy -- and Toyota's commitment to superior customer service based on respect for people.
Source : Originally Published (press release), Apr 29, 2010
Celebrities : Tom Hinton
Categories : Business Books, Business Speaker News, Speakers News
Posted 4/29/2010 12:04:16 AM | Permalink
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