Customer service is visible and measurable, at least in Japan’s retail sector. The country has been known for its service culture for many years, and its retail salespeople stand out compared to their counterparts in other countries. Yes, department stores are dying here too, and retailers have needed to cut costs. But customer service continues to be superior. It is a great pleasure to observe the sales process – from the initial greeting and sales support to checkout and wrapping service. And of course the escort to the exit that tops off the refined ritual.
After a week of local retail store checks, benchmarking and location assessments, we have decided to add a new column to our scorecards, a category beyond European best practices. We call it the Japanese standard. We looked for and found new KPIs to measure it, and from now on we will score customer service performance by “Bow Power.” Good salespeople bow to their customers long after they have they left the store. We see a correlation between the quality of service and the length and depth of the bowing.
We haven’t figured out the equivalent service KPI for our European customer service practice (Nodding Factor?), but we are confident Norbert Pühringer will work it out.