Take notes from Asian cultures to improve the customer experience

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Asian hospitality is touted as a heart-driven customer service. It emphasizes building a solid customer relationship while consistently providing the best service for its customers. It's known for putting customers as their priority. Your call center might benefit from observing Asian business culture to improve the overall customer experience.

asian businessman reaching out offering shake hands smiling coworkers in back
In order to utilize the Asian hospitality for your contact center, you must first understand different Asian cultures.

Most Asian cultures are collective societies—Middle Eastern countries and Korea, just to name a few collectivist cultures. Harmony is observed and maintained between people. Unlike the individualistic Western culture, fostering relationships is part of the Asian culture, both in business and personal life. That said, here are some insights on Asian cultures that may help you.

Saving face.

One defining aspect of Asian cultures is the sociological concept of saving face. From the Middle East to Southeast Asia, most Asian cultures have variations of face. For example, in Japan, the term "mentsu" comes into mind; in Korea, it's "kibun;" China has "mianzi;" Arab countries refer to saving face as "ḥafiẓa māʾa l-wajhi;" and in the Philippines, it's "hiya." While some of the terms do not literally mean saving face (hiya is directly translated as shame, kibun is more of a feeling, mood), they all revolve around the concept of maintaining, preserving one's dignity and honor.

Whether it's your customers or your employees themselves, always avoid putting them in humiliating situations. In the words of famous author Dale Carnegie: "Let the other person save face." Should an agent make a mistake, you mustn't call them out for it in front of other employees. Talk to them privately. In the case of customers, lead customers to the right direction instead of blatantly disagreeing. Handle both your customers and employees with tact.

A fruitful business relationship.

Asian cultures are known for its emphasis on long-lasting business relationships. There is a great emphasis in building trust with your Asian customers. They need to know who they're dealing with. In create a harmonious customer relationship, take note of how Japanese and Filipino businesses take care of their customers.

Japan's customer service is one of, if not, the best in the world. Japanese businesses treat their customers with utmost respect to the point of being treated like gods. This Japanese hospitality is called omotenashi. As soon as you enter a store, you are the business' priority and responsibility. Japanese businesses make courtesy calls and post-sale visits as well to measure customer satisfaction and gain insights.

Filipino businesses try to create business relationships through the "suki" system. The suki system is centered on achieving customer loyalty. Its premise is fairly simple: buy goods from the business regularly, and they might provide you with reduced prices and bonuses. Customers can also return the favor by providing word-of-mouth promotion for the business. In this system, both customer and business are affectionately referred to as "suki," much like the fact that both parties benefit from each other.

The takeaway of the Asian customer experience is that the customer service does not end at the hanging of the phone. Rather, it's the starting point of your business relationship with your clients. Uphold the honor of your contact center by ensuring the best customer service for your customers. Keep your customers in mind—follow up on your customers or give them promos or bonuses to ensure customer loyalty and customer satisfaction.