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Japanese Business Culture Blog

A blog about communications between Japan and other cultures, particularly in business.



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Omoiyari – Dealing with External and Internal Japanese Customers
Rochelle Kopp
Mar 13, 2014 01:46 AM
The sixth presentation of our Succeeding in a Japanese Company telesummit is Pernille Rudlin talking about Omoiyari – Dealing with External and Internal Japanese Customers. The presentation will be posted at 9 am Pacific on March 11th. To listen, please register at www.JapanInterculturalTelesummit.com.

Brought up partly in Japan and partly in the U.K., Pernille worked for nearly a decade at Mitsubishi Corporation both in London and Tokyo, and at Fujitsu in the U.K. for three years. Pernille is an expert on the communication challenges faced when Japanese and people from other countries work closely together, and has a particular interest in the topic of customer service. At Japan Intercultural Consulting, Pernille heads up our European operations and conducts seminars for both Japanese and European audiences on cross-cultural communication, team building, and post-merger integration.

The old saying goes that "The customer is king" but Japanese have an alternative version: "The customer is God." And indeed, that well captures how Japanese customers, both internal and external, expect to be treated. This means that satisfying those customers can be exceedingly tricky. In this interview, Pernille will share what Japanese customers most want, and the best ways to provide it. The art of omoiyari -- anticipating customer needs before they are verbalized -- will be analyzed and examples of how to do it provided. You'll come away from this conversation with some great ideas to keep your Japanese customers happy.

During Pernille's call you will discover...
  • Why Japanese customers are famous for being difficult to satisfy, and what makes them so fussy and particular
  • The different approach to use when trying to win business from a Japanese customer, as opposed to a western customer
  • The best way to establish your credentials with Japanese businesspeople
  • How to choose the main client contact for the customer
  • What to keep in mind about negotiations with Japanese customers
  • The best way to ensure smooth communication with a Japanese customer
  • What omoiyari is and why you must know it
  • How to deal with unreasonable demands from a Japanese customer
  • You've made a mistake or there's a problem, and now your Japanese customer is upset. What should you do?
  • What Japanese expect in terms of customer service
  • The differences between dealing with internal and external customers and how best to deal with each

In addition to signing up for the telesummit, you'll also want to check out Pernille's e-book Omoiyari: Six Steps to Getting it Right with Japanese Customers and this article she wrote When dealing with customers, a little 'omoiyari 'goes a long way.


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