In Japan, the customer isn't just king, the customer is god. Although fraying at the fringes, front-line employees in general know or are made aware that all their salary and perks come from what customers choose to give the company. And no tipping, please, the gesture could be misunderstood as implying customer care was not inclusive or could be bought.
Contrast this with today's article from
Seth Godin's blog:
How much extra for nice?
I had "reverse culture shock" when returning "home" to Germany and went to an electronics shop to get a spare battery for the video camera. Had to wait 15 minutes and was already on the way out of the store when finally a clerk showed up behind the counter. Had to put up with his drossy face as he realized he would have to walk to the stockroom to get my battery. A year later that shop was gone. Served them right.
... And I know that some of your customers (maybe a lot) would happily pay a little extra to get that one thing they want most of all...
I think there's a huge gap between what people are willing to pay for nice (a lot) and what it would cost businesses to deliver it (almost nothing). Smells like an opportunity.
Most customer-facing employees in Japan smile. They radiate purpose. I enjoy it.
Sorry Seth, for resending trackbacks to your post. I rearranged my content, pulled some before the quote of yours to make the trackback understandable.
Note to blog: I wish that a site accepting trackback removes prior trackback requests linking to the same page instead of listing multiple. Not everyone can write articles "print-ready" when hitting the "publish" button.