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The Friday Morning 35: Embracing Omotenashi in Customer Service by Hanh Minh Hoang

Welcome to another enlightening blog of The Friday Morning! Today, we embark on a cultural exploration into the fascinating concept of Omotenashi by Ms. Hanh Minh Hoang, Founder of T.A Content Production. Originating from Japan, Omotenashi is more than just a word—it encompasses an entire philosophy and way of life. Ms. Hanh has shared about the essence of Omotenashi, its principles, and the impact it has on hospitality and customer service.

1. The Difference Between Service and Omotenashi

To understand the distinction between traditional service and Omotenashi, let's explore some compelling case studies:

Case Study 1: Aeon Mall - Summer 2019

During a sweltering summer, visitors sought refuge at Aeon Mall Long Bien, often sitting on the ground to cool down. Sensing their discomfort, the mall management arranged chairs and tables to provide a more comfortable seating area. This act of kindness received widespread praise on social media, highlighting the humanistic nature of Omotenashi.

Before and after Aeon Mall provided chairs for people.jpg
Before and after Aeon Mall provided chairs for people.jpg

Case Study 2: Uniqlo Vietnam - A Tale of the Pandemic

When the Covid-19 pandemic resurfaced, supermarkets required customers to wear masks before entering for shopping. Let's examine the contrasting approaches of Vinmart and Uniqlo:

  • Vinmart: Customers were strictly asked to wear masks. Those without masks were directed to the cashier to purchase one.
  • Uniqlo: In a display of Omotenashi, Uniqlo went the extra mile by providing complimentary medical masks to customers who arrived without one, inviting them to collect masks at the counter.

Customers in Uniqlo Vietnam.jpg
Customers in Uniqlo Vietnam.jpg

Case Study 3: A Personal Experience

During her shopping experience, our guest speaker, Hanh, shared an encounter that exemplified Omotenashi. She received personalized recommendations for additional items that complemented her purchase. When the shop accidentally shipped the wrong size for her child's dress, they promptly apologized and included an extra dress of the correct size as compensation.

2. The Five Levels of Omotenashi

Omotenashi encompasses five levels of service: Moral, Manner, Service, Hospitality, and Omotenashi itself.

5 levels of Omotenashi.jpg
5 levels of Omotenashi.jpg

  • Omotenashi: It stems from a genuine sense of gratitude and sincere reception, leaving customers deeply touched without any predefined standards or monetary expectations.

  • Customer experiences are built upon understanding and anticipating their desires, resulting in actions that surpass their expectations.

  • What originates from the heart has the power to touch the hearts of others.

3. The Five Levels of Customer Experience

Customers progress through various levels of experience, ranging from the unsatisfactory to the extraordinary:

  • "Sin": An experience that falls short of expectations.

  • Basic: Meeting the minimum expectations without notable highlights.

  • Excellent: Delivering exceptional service that goes beyond expectations.

  • Surprise: Delighting customers with unexpected moments of joy and amazement.

  • Unbelievable: Creating an extraordinary experience that surpasses imagination.

4. Key Elements of Omotenashi

Paying Attention to Small Details: Omotenashi emphasizes the importance of paying meticulous attention to even the smallest details. By observing and understanding the subtle preferences and nuances of customers, we can create personalized experiences that cater to their individual needs and preferences.

Anticipating the Needs of Others: Omotenashi goes beyond fulfilling the immediate requests of customers. It involves anticipating their needs before they even express them. By proactively identifying potential requirements and offering thoughtful solutions, we can exceed expectations and provide a seamless and effortless experience. Anticipation demonstrates a deep understanding and empathy for customers, ensuring that their needs are met before they even realize them.

Going Above and Beyond: Omotenashi encourages going the extra mile to exceed customer expectations. It involves surpassing the standard level of service and delivering remarkable experiences that leave a lasting impression. Whether it's a surprise gesture, an unexpected personalized recommendation, or resolving a problem with utmost dedication, going above and beyond showcases a commitment to exceptional service and a genuine desire to create moments of delight.

Last but not least, the sense of refinement is an innate talent, but it can also be acquired through training.

5. What we learn from The Friday Morning no.35

In conclusion, embracing Omotenashi in customer service is not just a transactional exchange; it is a heartfelt commitment to going above and beyond for our customers. By embodying the principles of Omotenashi—serving with genuine care, exceeding expectations, and adding value to the community—we can create remarkable experiences that leave a lasting impact. Let us strive to cultivate the spirit of Omotenashi in our interactions, recognizing that the ability to deliver extraordinary service lies within our own efforts, dedication, and sincere passion for serving others. Together, we can transform ordinary moments into extraordinary memories and elevate the standards of customer service to new heights.

The Friday Morning 35 with Ms. Hanh Minh Hoang.jpg
The Friday Morning 35 with Ms. Hanh Minh Hoang.jpg

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