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steven (Offline)
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08-01-2011, 11:05 AM

I've had a couple of bad experiences with 'Made in Japan' products. But for the most part... not unlike anything else that I have that is "Made in somehwere", most of it is fine.

What I have problems with lately... and I have to say more than I did in the past, is Japanese service. It could just be one unfortunate encounter after the other, but I'm beginning to think service is slipping (and quickly) in Japan.

I understand the physical difference... but what's the difference between a product designed and made in Japan vs a product that is designed and made in China? I see China getting bashed a lot of the time, but sometimes I think it's the designs of certain products that cause some of the problems. For example, I have a couple of Made in China/Designed in Elsewhere products that overheat quite a bit. The thing is... it's clearly a design flaw and not a build flaw.
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acjama (Offline)
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08-02-2011, 12:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nippom View Post
You got that right.
Oooh.
Fair enough!

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven
What I have problems with lately... and I have to say more than I did in the past, is Japanese service.
Ditto. Everybody says Japanese service is very "friendly" (No. It is polite. There is a fundamental difference) and "excellent", however that might be defined.

It is far from excellent, it is actually very slow and inefficient. Japanese know no better, and of course, foreigners are ignored. For example, travel tickets bought and paid in advance from an agency will only arrive a week before the trip, so good luck trying to fix possible mistakes/getting visas while working full-time, or getting an apology (or even a correction) when a mistake is clearly theirs.

Simple problems with ethics.
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MMM (Offline)
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08-02-2011, 01:44 AM

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Originally Posted by acjama View Post
Ditto. Everybody says Japanese service is very "friendly" (No. It is polite. There is a fundamental difference) and "excellent", however that might be defined.

It is far from excellent, it is actually very slow and inefficient. Japanese know no better, and of course, foreigners are ignored. For example, travel tickets bought and paid in advance from an agency will only arrive a week before the trip, so good luck trying to fix possible mistakes/getting visas while working full-time, or getting an apology (or even a correction) when a mistake is clearly theirs.

Simple problems with ethics.
I have never heard anyone say Japanese service is "friendly". What I hear (and experience) is service where the customer is king.

I have never experienced slow or inefficient. Nor have I ever been ignored.

I have no idea what ethics has to do with what you are talking about.
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GoNative (Offline)
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08-02-2011, 03:09 AM

I have experienced quite a lot of slow and inefficient customer service whilst living in Japan and being ignored. With some things it was incredibly frustrating. Especially when companies offered english speaking service but their operators had such terrible english it was almost useless. I somewhat agree with acjama that at least in some things customer service is very inefficient and slow and I think it may well be because Japanese people on the whole are too polite to be overly demanding!
I was in a little country town in Hokkaido though and I suspect that had something to do with it. I doubt people living in the big smokes like Tokyo or Osaka would have to deal with similar issues we had. And I was involved in things that most here wouldn't ever experience in Japan themselves, things like property development and management.

Last edited by GoNative : 08-02-2011 at 03:12 AM.
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acjama (Offline)
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08-02-2011, 05:27 AM

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Originally Posted by MMM View Post
I have no idea what ethics has to do with what you are talking about.
Then allow me to educate:
Ethics: The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession.

Definition does not have allowances for changing of rules or standards when dealing with a foreign party, as some minority in the local service industry (among others) seems to believe.

Of course for most instances, the problem in question arises from inability to adapt to the situation or to a foreign face, when one has only prepared to perform the bare minimum of one's profession and not one millimeter more, and not actual racism.
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08-02-2011, 05:54 AM

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Originally Posted by acjama View Post
Then allow me to educate:
Ethics: The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession.

Definition does not have allowances for changing of rules or standards when dealing with a foreign party, as some minority in the local service industry (among others) seems to believe.

Of course for most instances, the problem in question arises from inability to adapt to the situation or to a foreign face, when one has only prepared to perform the bare minimum of one's profession and not one millimeter more, and not actual racism.
You said "of course, foreigners are ignored." I lived in Japan for years, and cannot think of a single occasion where, as a paying customer, I was ignored. If it ever were to happen, I would remedy the situation quickly.

I am not sure what businesses you are frequenting where you are ignored, but I certainly wouldn't darken their door a second time if that was the treatment I got.

I don't think that in 2011, most Japanese have an issue with dealing with a "foreign face" as there are thousands upon thousands of foreigners living in Japan.

I am not discounting your experience, but I am just saying it is not universal.
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GoNative (Offline)
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08-02-2011, 06:10 AM

My main issue with a lot of customer service in Japan was that if you were wanting to do something a little outside of the normal (which foreign property developers often did) it was normal to be told it was impossible to do.
It wasn't that it was impossible at all. It was just that the customer service rep didn't know what to do. Rather than admit they didn't know they'd generally say "it's impossible". Requesting to speak to supervisors or managers normally ended up with the 'impossible' becoming very possible after all.
We also constantly had issues with delivery of service within acceptable time limits. Our Japanese staff would ring and be told that no one could help for x amount of time (some ridiculous amount of time that would end up in significant loss to the company) and of course the staff would just accept it without any fuss. We'd then instruct them to call back and explain that such a timeframe was totally unacceptable and kick up a bit of fuss. The staff generally felt very uncomfortable doing it but it normally ended with much better outcomes for us. It was all just very frustrating...
Getting quality and timely service in a little town in Hokkaido was not that easy. Not sure what it's like elsewhere.
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steven (Offline)
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08-02-2011, 07:47 AM

I'm not convinced that the bad service I've had was a result of me being a foreigner at all... but YMMV. I've had certain instances where I'm sure I got better than average service because I was a foreigner.

However, in certain instances, I've seen plenty of bad service. I could make a list that would go on for years, but I'll just put a few that come to mind as even being bad service from where I come from.

1. During a lunch break I went to a restaurant. Despite it being a little crowded, I got right in. Service was quick to take our order if I recall correctly. After about 50 minutes of waiting, I had to leave... literally. There was no word what-so-ever from the waitress that whole time. This was a weekday. So I got up and left and said "sorry, but see ya" as I left. I don't recall an appropriate response.

2. I called a company called Roland about one of their products that I felt was defective. I explained what was happening and the operator was convinced that I was wrong and wanted to take me through a step by step trouble-shooting process. Despite the extremely long wait to get to her in the first place, I agreed to do it. It was long, redundant, and redundant. The sound was obviously not right, but as long as there was some kind of sound, I guess it was OK by the books. I put the phone up to the sound-source to show her... and she said (bluntly) "See, it's making sound." Obviously, ticked off I said, "you're missing the point of what I want to say". And she got angry with me.

3. Landlord/Apartment Company Experiences... just too many to mention. To give you an idea, they give me a nice cup of cold iced coffee with a big smile while I wait (service that looks good on the outside), we talk, and they say they'll come to fix the current problem in a couple of weeks (whether it be no hot water, broken vents, sliding doors, etc, etc.). Then some guy comes and "fixes" it, and the problem reoccurs less than a few months later. Rinse and repeat. I've been asked "has your landlord ever charged you for repairs?", trying to reason with me once when I complained. I thought that's what rent was for.

4. I'm purposely being vague about this. Trying to get certain official documents has been a joke on a couple of occasions. It's one of those situations where you wouldn't know anything about what you need, therefore you've gone to the official place for the documents to fill out. You fill out the documents and instead of them saying "that's everything, thanks a lot", they say "I'm new here so I don't know if that's gonna cover it..., I'll give you a call if I need anything else". These kinds of documents not only cost money to obtain, but have to be done in a certain time frame to be valid.

Anyways, I'll stop there with the examples. What I seem to notice in general is a lot of these places are quick on the draw when it comes to "Sorry to keep you waiting"-like lines... but they sure don't seem to give a damn about keeping you waiting. And while the regular "I'm sorry" lines seemed obligatory a few years ago, they seem to be disappearing even when they'd be warranted these days.

However, I agree with MMM's notion that when you get bad service repeatedly (or just once if it's that bad) then it's time to stop frequenting or using that business or service. I certainly haven't bought any Roland gear since then and I don't plan on buying anything from them in the future. As for the services or products that are good (and there are quite a few that I've discovered) I'll continue to use them. I understand that sometimes mistakes or problems can happen, but good service to me means properly (which includes promptly) dealing with the problem to MY satisfaction. It's rather unfortunate, however, that some services that I've experienced are unavoidable. That's the most frustrating thing for me.

It is my opinion, however, that it can be hard for a company who has bad service to make a good product. Like I said, it's nearly impossible to have a 100% track record, so it sucks for that small percent of your customers that get a bum product when they have to deal with your crappy customer service.

Likewise, it may just be me, but I think that any store that carries certain products should be willing to help customers out when things go wrong with that product. In other words, if the store decides to carry a company's cheap products from X-country, then they should be willing to deal with that the company on behalf of the customer. I go to some stores where they are willing to deal with all aspects concerning a products warranty/their extended warranty on that product. They go as far as filling out the forms (outside of names, phone numbers, and addresses of course) with all necessary information. They've even mailed said forms for me before. Obviously that's an example of excellent service... but I think it's interesting to note that there can be such great service even when there's bad service around the corner. I might be making quite a leap, but I think that maybe the average Japanese customer is less particular than they were say 10 years ago.
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acjama (Offline)
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08-02-2011, 07:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MMM View Post
You said "of course, foreigners are ignored."
My bad. I was referring to complaints made by foreigners. I could have expressed it more clearly.
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acjama (Offline)
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08-04-2011, 01:30 AM

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Originally Posted by Nippom View Post
Gomen if I ever offended you or anyone else. m(_._)m
No such thing.
Just that my "sources" were not in English AND a blog (a countryman reporter's economic China blog from a magazine, but still), so not very presentable as evidence.

But since it was a magazine reporter and reliable (to me), in it's view I cannot dismiss "Made in China" so easily. It's a big nation and I think not so restricted culturally as the equivalent Japanese, so... basically, China=Android based things (basically crappy and sloppy, but has more range, potential and freedom for development), Japan=iPhone (proven class NOW and simply works, but less potential and freedom).
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