Part 2 of a 3-part retrospective on my Japan trip

And it’s ok, I’m still not going to mention the snow…yet!!

One of the things that has impressed me each time I’ve been to Japan is that the people are almost achingly polite, their culture is one of allowing and accepting, and nothing is too much trouble – from a customer service point of view there are lessons here for those of us who are client facing; not so much that the customer is always right (which I believe to be an outdated business mantra) but one of no matter what happens, smile, solve the problem and don’t internalise the interaction.

Another lesson in customer service was at the airport on the way out – I was prepared for the usual Australian-style long queue with polite-ish but disinterested staff.

My experience with their check-in system was anything but – it was seamless and efficient, and other airports (and our own businesses) can learn from this.

There were no queues – there was a series of check-in kiosks manned by staff who were (in the typical Japanese manner) friendly, knowledgeable and unhurried and went out of their way to make sure travelers were helped fully.

While they didn’t complete the process for me, they directed me on each step of entering the flight number, scanning my passport, collecting the boarding pass and checking my bags through, then onto the security checkpoint where I did the usual scan of carry-on luggage, pocket contents and belt.

The entire process took about 25 minutes instead of the expected couple of hours. The airport staff were incredibly patient and helpful to a “gaijin” (look it up 😉 ) who hadn’t used the system before and was, admittedly, a bit bewildered at the lack of delays.

The realisation from a Property Management perspective is that our entire value as we know is based on the relationship with the client, it’s the only thing which separates us from our competitors (and in this I include tech companies who are actively trying to encroach on what we see as “our turf”).

While we’re mostly on the right track with the technology and platforms that we’re using, we need to keep the human touch – it’s not enough to just send our clients a link to the instructions on how to access their portal or the chatbot and expect them to fumble around to get it working for them, actually making contact with them and stepping them through the process and explaining the why and how to use it is going to be far more impactful from a customer service point of view, and will elevate not just their use of the facility, but their view of us as service providers.