Futoshi Yamamoto, general manager of Daiichi Koutsu’s Beppu office
The first thing that tourists—including those from overseas—visiting the hot spring town of Beppu start doing is going on a “hell” tour. These “hells”, with white steam rising everywhere, are a sightseeing spot unique to Beppu. A large number of tourists rely on the taxis of Daiichi Koutsu for this tour. I was able to thoroughly enjoy the major “hells” myself thanks to their taxis. With that, I talked to Futoshi Yamamoto, the general manager of the Daiichi Koutsu Co., Ltd Beppu office.
Mr. Yamamoto says that “regarding our taxi service, we have a strong awareness of setting ourselves apart from other companies. For example, our drivers accompany the customer on their “hell” tour and provide them with an explanation about each “hell”. The driver doubles as a guide. The time required to see the sights in Beppu, including the “hell” tour, is about 2 hours, so many customers additionally sightsee in nearby Yufuin and Kumamoto as well.”
The parent company of Daiichi Koutsu, Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo, has its head office in Kitakyushu City in Fukuoka prefecture and grew by purchasing taxi companies throughout Japan. It now has offices across the entire country from Hokkaido to Okinawa. “There are 8 taxi companies in Beppu, but 7 of them are local operators. In other words, we are the outsider, so we must provide service that surpasses the other companies. I always emphasize this point to our drivers. Right now, our office is aiming to stay close to the community with the three key pillars of safety, comfort, and speed,” stresses Mr. Yamamoto.
With a business policy that places importance on setting itself apart from other companies, Daiichi Koutsu is enthusiastic towards the introduction of new services. A concrete example of this is their 10 language interpretation service that began this year aimed at tourists from overseas. This resolves the worries of taxi users from overseas who don’t understand Japanese. “In Beppu right now, Asian tourists are increasing, primarily from China and Korea. Enquiries about the fare of course make up a large amount of the use of our 10 language interpretation service. In an environment with a sharply increasing number of taxi users from overseas, this new interpretation service is a business tool that is certain to differentiate us from the other companies,” concludes Mr. Yamamoto.