Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Rant No. 11: Customer service.

“The customer is always right”. Wrong.

Often in a bar or restaurant I will notice just how much I used to take for granted in England: Being greeted in a bar, smiled at in a restaurant, acknowledged by someone assuring you that they will be with you shortly. No, not in Berlin.

The idea of customer service like we have in the UK is non-existent. In fact, those from the US or Canada must have a really tough time here, because customer service is such an important part of their culture.

Often you can walk into a bar or restaurant here unacknowledged. Sometimes in a bar, the bar tender will see you, and then carry on pretending to clean or whatever until it is in their schedule to serve you. And if you interrupt their cleaning, then they will make a point of serving others before you.

Service as we know it is obsolete. There is no pleasing the customer or the customer is always right mentality. Here, the mentality is that your job is to deliver the food to the table or the drink to the customer. Anything else is superfluous. Actually, in many places the bar staff are simply outright rude.

Smiles, chit-chat, pleasantries go out of the window. As far as the bar people or waitresses are concerned, they have done their job, but those of us with a more developed customer service industry are left feeling ignored. 

I miss the banter we have in England. I miss the chat with the bar staff. Having spent most of my student years also working behind the bar, half of my job was to be friendly with the customers. If I had ignored them like I am ignored here, I would have been fired.

And more to the point, why would I want to ignore them. Chatting with the customers is what made working in the service industry fun!

1 comment:

  1. You are unfortunately RIGHT! When I moved back from the States to Berlin I couldn't believe how customer unfriendly service staff is here. Unbelievable!!! Often times they make you feel like you are interrupting them when you ask for their help. I hope this will change over time when more international chains are coming into the German market.