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RailsConf 2019 – Applying Omotenashi (Japanese customer service) to your work by Michael Toppa

Since the mid 1990s and I enjoy helping teams, Explore agile and lean practices with the goals of improving quality communication.

And developer happiness If you’ve worked with Agile or lean practices you may be familiar with some Concepts that come from Japan, like Kanban or Kiazen, Both originate from the world. Of Japanese manufacturing and have since been Applied around the world to software work Kaizen is about making Constant small improvements and empowering individuals to discover and make those improvements. Kanban was originally a system used to monitor assembly lines.

And in the world of software it’s grown into a system to help teams prioritize work, manage Flow and uncover obstacles The term I wanted to introduce You to today is Omotenashi, which describes Japanese Customer service and hospitality, The application of Kaizen And Kanban software work is something that has evolved over time. My goal in this presentation – Is to share some thoughts on how Omotenashi might Provide similar value for us to start exploring how We might adapt concerns, adapt concepts from it to our work and evolve.

Beneficial practices, Kaizen and Kanban are Concepts from management in Japanese manufacturing so aren’t really part of every day life for most people in Japan. In contrast, Omotenashi is very much part of every day life in Japan and is a significant Aspect of Japanese culture In Christel Takigawa’s presentation to the International Olympic Committee, in 2013 she made Omotenashi the key theme of Japan’s successful bid.

To host the 2020 Olympics, She highlighted Japanese hospitality as something that set Japan Apart from the other contenders, She began her speech by saying “. We will offer you a unique welcome. “ In Japanese, I can describe It in one unique word “ Omotenashi” Now before I go on, I should Probably answer the question that might be on your mind at this point: Why is an American white guy on stage talking about Japanese customer service at a Ruby on Rails conference? I’D like to answer that question by way of answering another question, which is what do I think About when I think about Japan First, I think about the time I spent in Japan with my family.

My wife, Maria, is a second Generation, Japanese-American She’s an academic and studies; Japanese, Politics and economics She received research, grants that brought us to Japan. To live for six months in 2007 and again in 2014, My oldest son went to yochien there, which is Japanese kindergarten. She has relatives there and we’ve made almost a Dozen other trips to Japan over the past 20 years, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to Travel extensively within Japan and I’ve made several good Friends in our time there.

But having said all that Since I’m an American, my knowledge of Japanese Culture has inherent limitations and I have no relevant Professional expertise, so I’m not here to sort Of mansplain it to you, Instead, I’m here to Share what I’ve learned, in my time there from my own experiences, my wife Maria’s experiences and from talking with Friends, I’ve made there Having an outsiders. Perspective also has value, as it’s helped me gain a deeper Awareness of my own culture and learn from it’s differences.

With Japanese culture, So what are some of the other Things that I think about when I think about Japan, I think about so many things When I first worked on My draft of this talk, I filled it with slides about Japan’S high-tech modernity, its ancient history, Its cultural heritage, its wonderful food and even Its amazing manhole covers, But for the sake of making sure there’s actually some time, Left for our main topic, I’ll, unfortunately, have To skip all of that and limit myself to Aspects of Japanese culture that relate to the Omotenashi So with that in mind, Something I think about when I think about Japan is orderliness and societal respect.

I took this picture in 2004 back when pay phones were still a thing. This is my wife, Maria using a pay phone on a subway platform in Tokyo. Sometimes the most mundane things can tell you a lot about a society Notice that all the wiring Is not secured at all The power chord is exposed and plugged into an ordinary wall outlet. The handset chord is about the same as what you’d see on a home phone. This is because street crime and vandalism Are rare in Japan Compare that to an American pay phone where the only accessible Wire is the handset chord and it’s wrapped in steel.

Tokyo is one of the biggest Cities in the world, How long do you think a pay? Phone like this would last on a subway platform in a City like New York or LA Also note how spotlessly Clean everything is In case you can’t see. The picture that well the subway platform floor is immaculate and the chrome, railings and The wall tiles are all shiny, Which brings me to the Next thing, I think about when I think about Japan, cleanliness For anyone who might not Be able to read that it’s a sign in a Japanese Bathroom that says, “, please urinate with Precision and elegance” Things you may think Of as inherently dirty like public, restrooms or garbage trucks are just about always Really really clean, I think about politeness, personal Respect and friendliness Everywhere I have traveled in Japan.

I have always been made to feel welcome. This quote is from a friend of ours after she visited Japan for the first time, and I can’t think of a better Way to describe the feeling She said “, I just wanted to hug. Everyone” Japanese are known for being polite, but they’re not generally Known for being friendly, but they actually are, especially if you Venture outside of Tokyo, If you make an effort to engage socially, you may be surprised at the warmth of the interactions you’ll have, I think, about professionalism and decency, One of the things that Struck me the most in Japan, is that almost any full time Job will pay a living wage people are treated with respect, Regardless of their job – and you can pretty much always expect professional quality service As an example, Shinkansen The bullet trains – these are the trains that go very fast and go all over Japan and can get you anywhere.

About as fast as an airplane, These trains average 12 minutes between arriving at their last stop and then departing again. Five of those minutes, Are needed for passengers to get on and off, which leaves 7 minutes for cleaning the train. Typically, there is one person Cleaning every train car Those cars each have 100 seats, So they have seven minutes to pick up the trash on The seats clean the floor wipe down the trays at every Seat check for any lost items and since the seats rotate They also have to make sure to rotate them all to Face the same direction for the new passengers, Doing a job like that.

Well, In such a short amount of time requires having a Standardized set of tasks that maximize efficiency and it requires executing those tasks with Excellence day in and day out Now here I am on stage At a software conference excited to tell you about how They clean trains in Japan, It’s an ordinary job. But when done so well, it rises to the level of an art form, One that Harvard business. Students want to study – And this brings us to The idea of Omotenashi, Japanese customer service and hospitality A key motivator for why Things like cleaning trains are taken so seriously.

In Japan is hospitality In the US, we think of Hospitality of something we experience when visiting Someone’S home or maybe a hotel, but in Japan it’s also a key aspect of almost every business. When you do something like get on a train, it’s very much considered similar to visiting someone’s home in terms of how you should Be made to feel welcome Bridget Brennan, who is a Columnist for Forbes Magazine put it well in describing her Customer service experiences in Japan, She said “ wherever I ventured.

In stores large and small “ I experienced what would be Considered white-glove service “ back home, delivered with A kind of warm enthusiasm, “ and salesmanship typically found “ in black and white movies” Omotenashi is a combination. Of two words in Japanese omote, which refers to the public face that we show the world and nashi means without Omotenashi, means that your actions are whole-hearted.

Sincere And without artifice, Whether people genuinely Feel that way, while say working as a cashier at a 7-11 day in and day out is another question, but The main point is that customers experience The service you provide as if it was always true Uniqlo, is a clothing store company chain that started in Japan and Has since gone global, To give you a sense of the Quality of their service, Uniqlo’s, CEO Tadashi Yanai, said this when they opened their First store in Australia, He said “, there is customer service “ and then there is Japanese customer service” They spent a full year.

Training, the Australian staff to get them to a Japanese Level of quality service Imagine going through 12 months of training before taking a job at A place like The Gap Now, if you’ve been to One of the Uniqlo stores that have opened in the Us in the past few years, your customer service experience may not have stood out. As anything special, the quote in my slide here is from 2014, So this is just a guess on My part, but I think Uniqlo must have found it cost prohibitive to do this level of training as they rapidly expanded.

Globally in recent years, But to give you a more personal example when I was living in Tokyo, With my family in 2007, I was responsible for our boys each day, while my wife was working After dropping off my Oldest son at Kindergarten, I would usually find a Place to explore in Tokyo with my one and a half year old son, I found out about a department store that had a children’s play. Area on its top floor, So we headed there one day We were the first to arrive.

When they opened the doors in the morning and there Were no other customers Now in an American Department store, you might see the staff milling around and still getting ready for the day. You know this early in the morning, But in Japan there are There and they are ready to serve you Department stores in Japan also have more staff than in American stores, as You would never want to risk keeping a customer waiting.

Now I had to head across the main floor to the elevator on the other side, to go up to the play area and, as I walked with My son in the stroller lined up in front of me on each side every 15 feet or so was a staff person and they would bow deeply To me, as I passed by, I had experienced this before With individual staff people, but never with so many like this, and it made me feel like royalty. It also made me feel a little bit bad because I wasn’t actually Going to buy anything, We just wanted to go play with Legos and UltraMan action.

Figures at the play area. Similarly, if you visit A boutique retail store like a nice clothing, Shop and make a purchase when you leave the person who helped you will follow you out. The Door and bow deeply staying bowed until you’ve. Reached the end of the block, Westerners typically perceive this as self-less devotion to the customer. You get the impression That Japanese workers will do anything to please you, since you were made to Feel so well taken care of.

That’S certainly how I Perceived it at first, But this perception is The result of our own Western cultural assumptions, Where we presume a Hierarchical relationship That it’s a service provider’s job to do what the customer wants. That’S, not how customer Service works in Japan. As a customer, you are expected to respect the professional judgment of your service provider. And respect their expertise, If you are a customer Service provider in Japan and you have a customer Asking you for something that isn’t supposed to be! Part of their experience, that means things are Starting to go wrong, It means the customer has overstepped the bounds of their role.

It’S your job as a service provider to steer them back onto the correct path. Not surprisingly, this Happens most frequently with foreigners visiting Japan who naturally don’t know Anything about Omotenashi Situations like this put a Japanese customer service provider in an awkward position and they need to get things back on track as gently as possible, but also firmly To illustrate this. I’M going To show you a brief clip of a TED Talk from Dr.

Sheena, Iyengar She’s, a professor at the Columbia, Business School and is an expert on choice. Why people want choice, how they choose and so forth At first, I wanted to just paraphrase what she says here, but I realized that I really couldn’t do it justice, So here she is describing One of her first experiences when visiting Japan for the first time I knew even then That I would encounter cultural differences And misunderstandings, but they popped up when I least expected it.

On my first day I went to a restaurant and I ordered a cup of Green tea with sugar. After a pause, the waiter said: “ one does not put sugar in green tea” “. I know,”. I said “, I’m aware of this custom, but I really like my tea sweet.” In response. He gave me an Even more courteous version of the same explanation: “ One does not put sugar in green tea,.” “, I understand,”. I said “ that the Japanese “ do not put sugar in their green tea “.

But I’d like to put some Sugar in my green tea”, Surprised by my insistence, the waiter had to take up The issue with the manager Pretty soon (, lauging ), a lengthy discussion ensued and finally, the manager Came over to me and said “, I am very sorry. We do not have sugar” ( laughing ). Well, since I couldn’t have My tea, the way I wanted it, I ordered a cup of coffee which the waiter brought over promptly Resting on the saucer Were two packets of sugar ( laughing )? My failure to procure myself A cup of sweet, green tea was not due to a simple misunderstanding.

This was due to a fundamental difference in our ideas about choice From my American perspective, when a paying customer Makes a reasonable request, based on her preferences? She has every right to have that request met The American way to Quote Burger King is to “. Have it your way” Because, as Starbucks says, “ happiness is in your choices”, But from the Japanese perspective, it’s their duty to protect Those who don’t know any better ( laughing ) In this case the ignorant Gaijin from Making the wrong choice: Let’s face it, the way I Wanted my tea was inappropriate according to cultural standards, and they were doing their Best to help me save face, So she says at the end that they wanted to help her save face.

This is a common reason why You may not get what you want in certain situations. She didn’t realize that From a Japanese perspective, she’s unwittingly embarrassing herself by asking for sugar with her tea, So they are trying to Protect her from herself, There can be other reasons for these kinds of situations as well, which we can explore with A couple more stories: Here’s one from my own experience when Japanese customer Service professionalism collides with Americannotions of choice.

In 2014, we lived in a City in southern Japan called Fukuoka for six Months and near our apartment was a pastry shop called Anderson’s. It was a favorite, stop. Especially for my boys, as you can see in the picture here, You would get a tray and Pick our your own pastries and then go to the cashier to pay The cashier would also individually bag. Each of your pastries, I’m very eco-conscious. And this would bother me, It felt very wasteful to Me to use so many bags So one time using my Limited Japanese skills: I mustered the courage to Politely, ask the cashier to use just one bag.

Her response was to simply ignore me. I felt confident she understood me as I’ve had many other kinds. Of simple customer service, verbal exchanges without any trouble, My Japanese wasn’t comfortable Enough to feel comfortable pressing the matter further. But on future visits I tried a few more times and they would always just ignore me, So why were they doing this? It’S because they knew what might happen if they actually did what I asked I would go home and take my Sugar donut out of the bag and give my wife her egg bread and it would have sugar All over it from the donut and she would think to herself “ boy what a lousy job those People at Anderson’s did”, So in this situation, There are not just trying to protect me from myself, They are trying to protect Others from me, as well and by extension, maintain Their own reputation, Here’s a third and final example of a customer service situation.

Going a bit off the rails, This is a story. My wife Maria told me She was in a small tableware shop in Tokyo and was admiring a handmade tea caddy, which is for storing tea leaves. Unlike me, her Japanese is excellent and is actually good. Enough that native speakers often don’t notice her American accent at first She was chatty amiably With the store owner and said that she would Like to show the tea caddy to her friends back home in America At this point, his demeanor Completely changed He stiffened up and he said “, oh you’re from America, “ You’re not going to put Paper clips in it are you?”, (, laughing ).

This isn’t just about Protecting her from herself or protecting other from her It’s about protecting The product from her He would prefer to not make the sale rather than see it used incorrectly. This may seem a little extreme. So what’s really going on here Before I answer that question, I have to provide some context for the next short article. I’M about to show you My wife, Maria, has recently gotten into a very ridiculous, very Fun and very self-aware, Japanese, heavy metal band Called Maximum the Hormone Now, when you read articles on YouTube, they automatically recommend other articles that their algorithms think you might like, and so she came across a Article by Marty Friedman, So who is Marty Friedman, He’s the former lead guitarist for the American heavy Metal band Megadeath: It turns out that he has lived in Japan for the last 16 years and Has his own TV show there? So I give you Marty Friedman, proving some advice for First time, visitors to Japan in an interview he did With the online magazine, Metal Injection and it Turns out it’s perfect for what I wanted to say: About this experience, Maria had while shopping for a tea caddy, That’s one of my favorite Things about Japan, customer service is off the charts, Just wherever you go.

Whatever you try to buy even from a convenience, Store fast food chain high end department store The customer service is second to none. They will really make Your experience great, but one thing I want you to know, is unlike America and sort of like Europe, special orders are not Really going to happen This on the side or this with extra sauce or this with no sauce, pretty much. Take that out of your mind and you’re, going to have a Much more enjoyable experience The food is so incredible, Just go with it.

I mean how many times do You go to Japan in your life, you know what I mean It’s their way and if they Try to do it your way, it’s not going to come out right and they’re, not going To have the same pride that they would have In doing it their way, So if you get refused, please do not mistake. That for unfriendliness, Please understand that What they’re doing that’s their way and they Want to give it to you the best way they can A lot of restaurants.

Don’T Allow you to take food away like doggie bag type of things, That’s mainly because They don’t know exactly how you’re going to Deal with it afterwards and they want you to have it In the best possible form, So tying this back to Dr Iyengar’S, tea and sugar story, my pastry bag story and Maria’S tea caddy story: you can start to see the common threads There’s a very strong Focus on providing service according to strict Standards of excellence, The salesman Maria was dealing with, definitely went a bit Too far with his comment, but it’s an expression of His worry about a customer not having the right Experience with the product So there’s a reason: I’m Focusing on these stories about customer’s desires, Coming into conflict with the professional standards of Japanese customer service providers, because that’s where I think The most interesting lessons are for us.

There are three lessons that I thought of The first lesson is about How we, as developers, do our work and how we Work together, as teams Omotenashi, entails a rigorous approach to achieving consistent Excellence for everything from cleaning trains – To hosting the Olympics and with developing software, we have standards and practices that allow us to achieve. Excellence as well, And you have them right In most of the places I’ve Worked over the years when I started on the job, my team didn’t have things Like a definition of done or mutually agreed upon, Ways of doing things like testing or pair programming, Or if we did have them, they weren’t followed With any real consistency, I just mentioned the definition of done and, if you’re not familiar with this, it’s essentially a checklist Of tasks you should complete before saying your work.

On a feature is done, The checklist is something your team works together to create, and it should evolve over time as your team’s practices grow and evolve. It’S purpose is to help provide your team with a shared understanding of what it means to do. Quality work When you don’t have a mutually agreed upon way of working in your team disagreements. Typically End up being resolved by someone asserting authority, Or by whoever decided to push their position more aggressively or a situation may end up unresolved lingering to plague the team again, the next time it comes up Over the years, I’ve worked At major universities, medium sized tech firms, small Venture funded start ups, consulting shops and non-profits, and at all of these places, I’ve experienced team Environments like this, where there are always some areas of significant dysfunction, Maybe I’ve just been unlucky, but I’ve heard many stories like this from friends over the years as well.

So my impression is that these situations are more common than we might think. This has led me to believe That, just like every family, every organization is dysfunctional. It’S just a question of in What way, and to what degree, Just like with families, what you experience on a daily basis, naturally becomes to Define your perception of what’s normal, making it easy to become Blind to the dysfunction and the cost over time of That blindness can be high in terms of its effect on quality efficiency and team morale.

This happens because people are unwilling to have hard conversations or they don’t know how to have them, or they don’t have the Organizational support to have them In addition to that challenge, there’s a whole other challenge. As an industry, we are still figuring out the best way to do things. So, even when you can Bring your team together: it’s not always obvious what The right way forward is On any given day.

You can go online and find people arguing About whether Scrum is great or should just die in a fire or whether application Monoliths are bad design and we should all just Switch to microservices or whether test driven Development is dead, The world of software Development is like this because our industry is fairly Young compared to others, This is both a blessing and a curse. It’S a curse because it makes it hard to figure out how to proceed when you’re hearing really Smart and experienced people tell you really different things: About how to do your work, But it’s also a blessing because it means we have the opportunity to participate in the conversation about where we’re all headed, to learn, different ways of working and decide for ourselves.

What works best for us, So I encourage you to have conversations with your team that might be hard to work towards being on the same page for things like testing strategies having a definition of done, code, reviews, pair programming and so forth. Having those conversations first requires having an environment of Trust and mutual respect. Sometimes you have to Build up that trust first, but when you do, I have found that having a mutually agreed Upon way of working is really empowering and promotes team harmony, quality And job satisfaction, So everything I just said is about teams.

The challenges are even greater. When dealing with clients, whether it’s an internal Client in your organization or you’re, a consultant Working with external clients, The Japanese customer Service stories, I’ve shared have all been one time: retail Or food service interactions In our world, we have Ongoing relationships – This is a huge difference, Doing things like ignoring A customer’s request as a way to solve a problem like the cashier at Anderson’s Pastry shop did with me: that’s really not an option for us All the mistakes you can Make working with clients over the years I’ve made them.

The most common mistake is over promising and under delivering Unless you’re lucky enough to have an especially Enlightened management you’ll always face pressure. To do more in less time, I’ve done things like meekly saying yes to impossible deadlines. And then I exhaust myself and cut corners to try to make it happen. The end result is almost always damage damage to the code, quality stress and damage to your health and damage to the client relationship, Where, even after all, that they still end up with some combination of missed deadlines and buggy code.

To give you a sense of what I mean, this is a chart I made after I started as the Director of the web team at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, It’s an effort allocation chart showing the number of people we would need to do. The work expected of us For the upcoming six months, compared to how many People we actually had The blue bars represent the staff we had, which were assigned to meet the needs of specific departments and small teams of Mostly one or two people, which meant the team sizes, were too small, but that was a separate issue and the red bars represent The number of people we would need to do the work that was actually expected of us Until I got everyone together to make the estimates That informed this cart, we didn’t really see the big picture of the situation we were in.

The team had never done. Estimating like this before, We used, what’s known as the Swag estimating technique to generate this chart If you’re not familiar with The term it stands for Sophisticated Wild Ass Guess, ( laughing ). So it’s by no means perfect, but it’s very valuable for Proving a general sense of scope and scale when you’re looking at a long time horizon and many projects, Almost all the demand.

In that tallest red bar was coming from one department. They had a history of always Getting what they wanted if we ever pushed back, they Would escalate their demands politically through the School’S administration to apply pressure Prior to this, we had no means to really Respond to this pressure other than to just give in These demands for projects Also came, of course, with deadline pressure, Which meant we would rush and not always do our best Work leading to more suffering for us in the long run, With bugs unhappy clients and poor experiences for users, This marked the start.

Of a very challenging but very worthwhile Transition for the team We discussed and implemented Good engineering standards and practices and stuck with them Over time. This allowed us to deliver more maintainable and less buggy code, giving our customers and Users, better experiences: We also adopted agile workflow And project management practices that allowed us To articulate and visualize the bigger picture of what was Going on with our projects Together, these changes Gave us the ability to do something analogous to what Japanese service providers do when faced with difficult situations, We were both protecting The client from themselves and protecting the Product from the client Importantly, these changes also Help us develop the ability to have productive Conversations with the client about how we had been working, Together over the years and how to find a better way forward, We even learned how to protect other clients from this client by developing skills for estimating and making data and charts.

Available about our work to all departments, we were Able to provide transparency on where our time and effort was going, which enabled other Departments to participate on a more equal footing and the higher level Political conversations that would determine our team’s Overall effort allocation So having standards And practices is good, but a huge part of what we do. Is creative problem solving Every project we work On is a unique creation, not quite the same as any other On a regular basis.

We are called upon to be insightful and ingenuitive To solve new problems, This is very different from The Japanese customer service stories I’ve been telling you, which is all about consistent Adherence to standards and providing service in The same way, every time An American friend of mine who lived in Japan for Many years said this, He said “ in Japan. I consistently Get very good service “ In the US, I’ve had the worst service “, but I’ve also had the best.

”. So what is he getting at here? At this point we know About the high quality of Japanese service and If you’re from the US or have spent any time here, you know about the terrible Service that can happen, But the best service he’s talking about is when you’re provided with Creative problem solving When Marty Friedman was Saying to try not to customize your order at A restaurant in Japan, that’s not such a big deal if we’re just in the realm of preferences, but what, if you have a food allergy When we were living in Japan? In 2014, we became friends with my Japanese tutor and her daughter had a food allergy.

She told me that going out to eat in Japan was often a frustrating Experience for them, While staff were always very willing to provide information about Items on the menu to avoid trying to customize an Order was difficult When they visited the US and when we went to good Restaurants with good staff, she was thrilled at the Service they provided Waiters would usually say something like “. Oh, it’s no problem.

“ I’ll talk to the chef “, We’ll see what we can do. “ We’ll come up with something That’S just for you.”. There are parallels here for the kind of work we do with software. Creative problem solving is Essential to the work we do and we need to incorporate It into our standards of what it means to do quality work. To give you an example, creative problem solving Can sometimes even call for pushing back on a client’s requests and educating them on possibilities? They hadn’t thought of When I was working in a consulting shop.

We had a client whose Business was to make buildings more energy efficient. They would retrofit buildings with new windows doors Insulation so forth. They wanted us to build an Online calculator for them for prospective customers To provide information about their buildings and then receive cost savings estimates They already knew how they Wanted us to do the calculations, but, as we became familiar with everything, we had an idea for what we thought might be a better way to do it.

We asked if they had Actual cost savings data from previous customers, and they said yes, So we said great if you’re willing to Share that data with us, we can do some statistical analysis and use that to have The calculator provide more accurate estimates, They seemed intrigued, but Also a little apprehensive, They said. Well, you know, we’ve always done it this way And they hadn’t worked with us before, and so they weren’t sure How much to trust us So they said no! No! At that point we Could have just said, fine and just gone ahead with their approach, and they probably would Have been perfectly happy, but instead we came back and offered to develop and Run an initial analysis and share the results with them and show how it had Compared to their old way, We said if, at that point they still wanted to do it their old way.

They wouldn’t have to pay Us for the time we spent on the analysis, So they said yes And once they saw what we did and stepped them through it. They really liked it and Adopted our approach Now, there’s a whole talk. I could give on interview, clients and Eliciting business requirements, but my point with this example is to illustrate the Value of asking questions and creative problem solving The key question is: where does a situation call for adherence to professional standards in order to avoid giving in to unrealistic demands, and when does it call for client, education and creative problem solving? I believe the answer is that many situations call for both.

You want to adhere to Engineering standards to maintain quality and moral, and you want to offer Alternative creative solutions to problems when necessary. This is the key point of my talk. There’S a lot. We can learn from Omotenashi for ways to think about. Having high standards and achieving consistent Professional excellence, but, given that the nature of our work is also about creative problem solving, we also need to always Be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

For example, if a deadline must met – and we don’t have enough Time to do the work well, can we defer certain features until later, or can we start with simplified version of certain features Or are there other creative Ideas we can explore that don’t require compromising quality or putting the team on a death march. These are the kinds of questions we need to be asking, But how exactly do we go? About having these kinds of conversations with clients, conversations that can often be difficult In the world of Japanese customer service customers are expected to respect the professional judgment.

Of their service provider In the world of software development, we’re educated on programming, languages, frameworks, tools, workflows, but we’re not taught how to behave. We’Re not taught how to clearly articulate and diplomatically present and defend our professional judgment. The key part of the education Of doctors and lawyers is how to behave with their Clients and coworkers Doctors know how to handle themselves in the pressures of an emergency room or how to persuade a patient to make more healthy choices By cultivating a perception of knowledge and expertise for their professions.

Doctors and lawyers are typically treated with great respect, even when they have things to say that their clients don’t want to hear Now. I’M not suggesting we All have to go to school for a million years like Doctors and lawyers do and spend a million Dollars in the process, But I am suggesting, is that if you want to be Seen as a professional and treated like one, that means pursuing technical excellence, providing creative problem solving standing up for the quality of your work and always being courteous and diplomatic, ( speaking a foreign language ).

That means the end ( audience applauding ). My slides are available at the link here. You can find me on Twitter @ mtoppa, I’m going to leave you with another short little article. This is a moment of Zen. This is an example of Creative problem solving and team work – These are my two boys when we were in Japan in 2007 and we were living in a small apartment In Japan. They call it a 1LDK. 1 means it has one bedroom.

L means it has a living room D means it has a dining room, which is also the living room And K means it has a kitchen which is also the diving room, which is also the living room, ( audience laughing ). So this is a small place. We had set the boys up in the bedroom and my wife and I put a bed in the living-dining-kitchen room. So this is the morning My boys are having breakfast and my younger son decides.

He wants to have access to my older son’s drink, But doesn’t want to have to Bother moving that drink So together they construct An extended straw – And you can see my wife In bed there still furtively trying to get some sleep: ( boy, laughing, ), ( boy, blowing bubbles, ) ( boy, blowing bubbles, ) ( boy, laughing ). Thank you very much. ( audience applauds ), (, upbeat music, ),

Thank you for visiting my post about the video I found on Youtube. I hope it gives you a little insight into customers and how you should treat your customers. Remember, I appreciate you and what you have to offer. Check out what Allshouse Designs thinks about customer service.


By Jimmy Dagger

Find out my interests on my awesome blog!

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