Have you heard of “Omotenashi Skills Standards”? They are a new set of standards for the service industry that Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) introduced in October 2018. There is no direct English translation of Omotenashi, but the essence of it is to provide exceptional customer service, and to anticipate the customer’s needs before they even think to ask for something. The Omotenashi Skills Standards aim to raise the level of interpersonal skills across the service industry, focusing on face-to-face services. By initiating an Advanced-Skills Certification Training Program, METI hopes to encourage personnel to obtain higher service levels.
Achieving services that only human beings can provide
The fourth industrial revolution is expected to mean companies will increasingly replace many types of jobs currently done by humans with artificial intelligence (AI) and robots. To ensure that there is a role for human beings, the service industry needs to cultivate personnel with the skills to provide flexible and high value-added services. The Omotenashi Skills Standards system launched by METI, with its introduction of the Basic Certification Program, was the first step towards establishing a set of standards for skills required by on-site personnel who are involved in the service industry.
Encouraging on-site personnel to attain higher levels of service
Feedback from trainees showed that they wished to study for a higher level of service, beyond that of the Basic Certification Program. This would allow them to upskill and provide exceptional service to customers. To meet this demand, METI introduced the Advanced-Skills Certification Training Program in September 2019.
Improving skills of on-site personnel with an effective training program
The Standard Certification Program aims to foster on-site personnel who have mastered the basic philosophies and actions of Omotenashi, while the Advanced-Skills Certification Training Program is geared towards middle to top management and aims to improve leadership and problem-solving skills in the service industry. By providing trainees with long-term, successive courses with on-site training, the skill level of personnel will lead to mastering exceptional customer service across the industry.