What is the real reason for Japanese train delays classified as “customer support”?
When you hear this term used on trains, it’s often a euphemism for something more serious.
What is the true meaning of “customer servicethat the railways sometimes invoke to explain train delays? That’s what our reporter PK Sanjun found himself thinking the other day, when he was on a train that was eight minutes late and “customer service” popped up on the on-board screen and was announced by the driver as the reason.
“This train is currently approximately eight minutes late due to customer support which occurred at XX Station. We apologize for any inconvenience caused to passengers on board.
It’s an announcement that PK has been hearing a lot lately, but while she’s been hearing it more often, he’s not more aware of what “customer support” really means. He knows the railways often use soft-sounding terms to describe serious situations – ‘human incident’, for example, is often used when a person is killed by a train – so he decided to get to the bottom of it. things by asking a railroad employee about it as soon as he got off the train.
The staff member he spoke to was a handsome resort employee who appeared to be in his early 30s, and here’s how their discussion went:
PK: Excuse me, I would like to ask you something just out of curiosity. What is “customer support”?
Railway staff: “Well, it’s not a specific thing, but for example, officiating a fight between customers is classified as ‘customer support’.”
PK: I see. A fight, huh?
Railway staff: “In addition, responding to abusers will also become ‘customer support’.”
PK: Hmmm. However, in the case of caring for a suddenly ill person, it’s announced as “caring for a suddenly ill person”, so why isn’t the refereeing of fights and the response to molestation specifically announced? ?
Railway staff: “Well, I wonder why? There are instances where we advertise it as “customer support” even when caring for someone who suddenly fell ill.
PK: Oh, it’s true isn’t it. So where is the difference between announcing it specifically as a “suddenly ill person” or “customer care”?
Railway staff: “We don’t know anything about it because it depends on the directive… Sorry.”
PK: No, no, don’t worry. I understand. By the way, what was the specific “customer support” this morning?
Railway staff: “Actually, we don’t even know. Since the station where the delay occurred is owned by another railway company, we will only know if we ask for details. But I think it’s probably related to a fight or an indecent assault. I am sorry. “
As you can see, “customer support” seems like a complex term to describe situations where staff need to help customers with fighting, sudden illnesses Where molestation. Furthermore, it is up to the person in charge to decide whether the reason for the delay should be announced specifically or under the catch-all umbrella of “customer support”.
However, since sudden illnesses are often advertised as such, the phrase “customer support” is more likely to be used in public announcements when troubling situations such as fights or muggings occur.
Whatever the reason for train delays, announcements like these are always meant to make one thing clear: delays are not simply due to the negligence of train staff or the train company. People can’t really blame a railway company for a late train when “customer support” is given as the reason, and so the image of the company and its relationship with customers is not tarnished.
After all, the railway companies in Japan pride themselves on excellent customer service which they will openly admit when they are wrong, even if it means apologizing for trains running 20 seconds earlier.
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[ Read in Japanese ]