Certain Canadian banks like to pride themselves on providing convenient, comfortable customer service. Well, I'm here to tell you that Canadian banks could learn a thing or two from their Japanese counterparts.
I popped into a Japanese bank the other day to exchange some money. Instead of waiting at the counter while the teller went into the back to change my Canadian dollars into Japanese yen, I was directed to a comfortable couch.
"Please sit," the teller said, bowing and gesturing to a soft blue sofa in the corner.
So I sat down. Next to the couch was a large-screen TV broadcasting an interview with a 75-year-old Japanese man who climbed Mount Everest earlier this year. Who knew banking could be so relaxing and educational?
There were a few other nice touches. Like the complimentary reading glasses next to the deposit and withdrawal slips.
I left the bank armed not just with Japanese yen but with rested legs, new information and better eyesight.
On the way out, I was showered with a chorus of "thank yous" and polite bows from each of the tellers. And just in case I wasn't sure how grateful the bank was to have my business, a computer thanked me too.
The voice came from a waist-high metal pole with a speaker that had some sort of motion sensor on it. Whenever someone passed it, the sensor was triggered and a woman's computer-generated voice chirped, "Arigatou gozaimasu!" (thank you)
Now that's customer service.