The West Japan Railway Company has issued an official apology after one of its express trains left the platform at Notogawa station in central Japan 25 seconds early.
Yes, you read that correctly; 25 seconds early. The commuter train left at 7:11:35 a.m., instead of the scheduled 7:12 a.m., on May 11, 2018.
According to the company’s press release, the train conductor misunderstood the departure time and closed the train doors ahead of schedule. The early departure didn’t affect any other travel schedules that day but led to one person missing their train.
“We inconvenienced our customers very much, and we will strive to prevent this from occurring again,” JR West said in a statement quoted by the country’s Asahi newspaper.
Japan prides itself on punctuality. Last November, management at the Tokyo-area Tsukuba Express line also apologized for a train leaving 20 seconds early— it had left at 9:43:40 a.m. instead of 9:44 a.m.
Can we in the U.S. expect this level of attention-to-detail or a willingness (or obligation) of our service providers to apologize for small mistakes? Well, probably not to the extent of this company but we do need to hold ourselves accountable for any of our shortcomings.
Our customers don’t ask for much. They patiently wait in line for the next available bank teller or supermarket cashier or to buy tickets for a show. The least we can do is provide the quickest service possible and anticipate the high volume times and staff accordingly.
- Create journey maps to identify and improve each touch point along the service path.
- Develop clear and attainable standards.
- Realize that the service provider is responsible for the entire experience the customer receives. Don’t look towards others for blame when we fail.
- Provide realistic expectations of your ability to service the customer as planned.
- Never settle for less than the best the industry has to offer.
- Hire the best, train for the highest expectations and empower your employees to go above and beyond.
- Strive to be better today than you were yesterday.
Maybe after we take on these challenges we can truly boast that our service standards are second to none. Until then, continue to expect more from those we give our hard-earned money to.
> Stop paying businesses for their failed service.
> Stop your willingness to be treated like a number instead of a valued customer.
> Stop accepting less than the best service at all times.
Sounds like a plan? I thought so…
See original article on Business Insider.com