In the first three months of the year I have travelled between Japan and the USA and have had to cope with customer service in both countries. When one travels to Japan the first reaction is that most sales staff are rude. Walk into a store and the staff ignores you. The reason is culture. If sales staff approached the consumer it would be perceived as rude and the average sale would actually go down. The culture is that the customer should be allowed to browse and then when they want service it is their role to approach the sales staff, not the other way around. Having learned to cope with this style of customer service I travelled to eastern USA and staying in a Customer Service award winning hotel. I checked the in room menu on the Sunday for lunch and found that room service was available from the hotel restaurant, it was promoted as a 24/7 room service policy. Since there was no menu I went to reception, the conversation went as follows; “Can I have a room service menu please?” “They are closed on a Sunday” “The room information guide tells me it is 24 hour service” “They have decided to close on a Sunday; you will have to go out for lunch” “I do not have a car and there is no local restaurant” “Well, what do you want me to do about it?” I do not need to continue with how this dialogue went; I guess like me you have got the message. It is okay getting an award, but you need to constantly check the procedure and to train the team in empowerment and helping the customer, not put the barriers up. We have programme called Day Makers which is available on our e-store. If you need help creating a positive customer service culture than this may be a helpful part of your tool kit.