5 Must-Read Articles for Cementing Client Relationships in Japan

5 Must-Read Articles for Cementing Client Relationships in Japan

As a foreigner doing business in Japan, you will likely be given leeway when it comes to following many aspects of Japanese business etiquette that these articles cover. 

In fact, if yours is a technical position and your primary role is not sales or customer service-related, then you won’t be held to the same standard (in using Japanese honorific and humble language) as a Japanese in a similar role.

However, if your role is outward-facing, what areas of knowledge should you acquire so you can build strong relationships with your Japanese clients and customers?

Here are 5 resources on how to establish and strengthen your relationships with your Japanese clients. 

1. Can You Compete in the Land of Supreme Customer Service?

Can You Compete in the Land of Supreme Customer Service?

Certain rules of customer service are universal. Listening and empathizing are basics in the customer care profession. Yet, differences across cultures could land you in a tight spot if you aren’t aware of the subtleties. 

So what methods should your business consider implementing to boost customer loyalty, capture more leads, and build strong relationships with your Japanese clients?  

Here are 3 key strategies—backed by data—that will help you maximize customer satisfaction and minimize the risk of offending potential prospects when communicating with them. Learn more

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2. The Secret to Better Introductions with Japanese Clients

The Secret to Better Introductions with Japanese Clients

When you arrive at a prospective Japanese client's company, how do introductions unfold? 

Japanese business protocol dictates that the visiting/sales party initiates greetings, introductions, and business card exchanges—and within the visiting party, the senior executive goes first. 

Therefore, if you are trying to secure the business/patronage of the other party, you should be the one to introduce yourself first. 

According to Nishide Hiroko, a business management consultant, from her book on Japanese business manners, what follows is the generally accepted protocol to introducing yourself (and your team) to your clients during your first face-to-face meeting. Learn more

3. Seating Protocol in Japan: Who Sits Where When Meeting Clients?

Seating Protocol in Japan: Who Sits Where When Meeting Clients?

Do you have an upcoming meeting with Japanese clients? Perhaps you are pitching your service to a Japanese company?   

In “The Secret to Better Introductions with Japanese Clients,” you learned the order of introductions with Japanese clients, and you are now ready to take your seats. 

What should you know about seating protocol in Japan to avoid offending your clients? Graphics and pictures are included to make learning the rules easy! Learn more

4. Keigo Mistakes to Avoid With Your Japanese Clients

Keigo Mistakes to Avoid With Your Japanese Clients

You don’t need to know the ins and outs of keigo grammar construction to improve how you sound, starting from today. Master these 5 keigo mistakes to avoid, and you will make a better impression the next time you interact with your Japanese clients. 

As a foreign executive in Japan, you won’t be expected to know and use keigo to the degree your Japanese colleagues must use honorific language. 

But correcting these easy-to-make keigo (honorific and polite language) mistakes will help you avoid offending your Japanese clients and customers.

Master these phrases that even Japanese get wrong—and quickly improve your overall presentation. Learn more

5. Your Company's Phone Number: Who Answers It?

Phone Reception Desk - Why it's important

Businesses worldwide are opting for chatbots vs. humans as a low-cost option to a live phone-in reception desk. However, in Japan, a recent survey shows customers have a distinct preference for speaking to a real person. 

Consumers and Corporations: Communication Fact-Finding Survey (trans. title), published in December 2020, was conducted online by Trans-cosmos Inc., receiving answers from approximately 3,000 respondents. 

The survey’s findings provide thought-provoking data for those who are wrestling with what to do with your Japanese business phone number and whether to hire a full-time phone receptionist for staffing your company's call-in reception desk. Learn more

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