Reputation and product is the key for Japanese consumer
American express international conducted a global survey(2017) about "Customer behavior towards service", and it shows interesting insights in each country.
When people purchase new product or service, many countries refer to the recommendation from their acquaintance or sales/promotion, but Mexico, India, Japan mainly refer to company reputation.
How do you make a decision to buy new product or service?
In this case, reputation might mean "brand awareness" also "who else knows about your brand", "impression towards the brand"etc.
Referring to whatever source you trust and you are about to make a purchase. And a decisive factor of considering long-term relationship with the product/service also varies depending on countries. Most of the countries consider cost performance, but India considers customer service quality, Japan considers the product itself.
What do you see when you consider long-term relationship with product /service?
One thing to mention is "Online shopping availability". US, Mexico, UK, and India stands out in this answer. We are in this rapidly evolving digital world today, but if you are planning market entry in those countries, advanced online platform should be must-have feature with your product/service.
Free service is "trade-off" in Japan
In Japan, we see many cases where people compare products when they buy, going back and forth and finally make a decision.
We also hear people say here and there "there's no such thing as a free lunch". I assume that some people in Japan consider free service as "trade-off". You take something free, you need to give something to their product/service.
As I mentioned in the other article, people in Japan are very conscious about personal information disclosure. So if you are trying to provide free service that needs personal information, make sure people will be very cautious about it. So when promoting your free offer, people calculate in their brain "Is this offer good enough for giving away something to them?"
People in Japan see "politeness" in your customer service
When you go to a department store in Japan, you see many food shops waste tons of wrapping papers and paper bags because they use them very often. If you buy more than 2 boxes of something at the same place, they even ask you "Shall I give you extra paper bag so it looks alright when sending it as a gift?"
Is this just a waste of natural resources? Or is this the reflection of politeness? The answer would vary, but this is one of the examples of how people describe "service" in Japan.
What do you think is the most important element in customer service from a consumer standpoint?
Many of the countries think efficiency in customer service is the most important part, but in Japan "politeness" is the most important thing. In Italy, they want customer service from who has authority, which means customer service person should not transfer the case that the person is dealing with.
Entering new market is always hustle for any company in the world. Searching for what's best is different depending on where you are from. But having a relevancy in the new market is a great way to adjust your product/service to market needs. Hope this article is helpful for you.
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