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Customer Service Around the World

4th December, 2014 I by Amanda Barnstien

If you have ever worked in a restaurant or retail store, the phrase “the customer is always right” might have been drilled into your head. But does customer service around the world really follow this rule? Customers have power to influence a company’s profit based on the quality of service they receive by telling others about their positive or negative experiences. As a result, customer service is no doubt crucial to the success of your business, but can there be a level of too much customer service? By learning about how customer service is conducted around the world, you can combine ideas from multiple places to provide the best service for your company.

Customer service in Europe is generally stereotyped as being poor. With much higher wages for waiters , there is less motivation to provide high-quality customer service than in America. American servers rely on tips for their livelihood due to the lower wages, which results in better service for customers. While paying higher wages is much more stable than relying on tips, this stability for workers results in lower service for customers. If many of your employees will be interacting with customers directly, keep in mind this trade-off.  Set wages at an appropriate level in order to keep employees afloat but motivated to please customers and receive higher tips.

In Asian countries, the level of customer service varies, with Chinese customers being the most dissatisfied and Japan being the highest (PDF). Westerners visiting Japan are often amazed at the attention to detail Japanese customer service encompasses, from clean stores to incredibly polite staff. For the Japanese natives though, this level of customer service may be too high. Many Japanese would be willing to trade in less detail to customer service in order to receive cheaper prices. This proves that there can be too much of a good thing. Look at your competitors and level of customer service they provide. Strive to give customers even better customer service, but without a stark increase in prices.

In America, service industries, airlines and banks tend to score badly on the American Customer Satisfaction Index.  In harder economic times, most companies satisfaction level with customer service decreases.  If you are starting a company in one of these more unpopular sectors, make customer service a priority. Doing so will put you at an advantage to get ahead and gain customer loyalty. Establish what customers want that other businesses are not providing to them and fulfill that gap.

Customer service from around the world offers valuable lessons to businesses looking to provide suitable customer service. Remember to find a balance between wages, price and quality of customer service.

What’s the best customer service experience you have received?

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