mercredi 8 avril 2009
I am sure that everyone has horror stories of French customer non-service.

Whenever this happens, I try to remind myself that bad customer service happens everywhere, and it is not just because they are French, but really, honestly, I think that the "The customer is wrong 95% of the time" attitude is more prevalent than say, in the US.

Sure, in the US you might get a cranky customer service rep. around Christmas present return time, but that is about it. (not talking about service via the telephone, that is bad everywhere).

Last week I went into a store, which shall remain anonymous but it rhymes with NANGO and sells clothes and accessories, in Aix. I poked around for a while, and then found a belt that I liked and needed.

Was a bit staggered by the 25€ price, but bought it anyway.

Went back to my office, took the tags off (stupid! but I couldn't buckle it with the tags as they were) and put it on. Saw right away that it was not the size I wanted, so kept the tags and receipt. Didn't even wear it home. Total wearing time- about an hour.

Went back today to exchange it. Picked another belt, same model and price but different color and size. Went up to the front desk and said I would like to do an exchange. She took the items, including the receipt and the tags, then looked at the belt and said "Oh, I can't accept it- it has been worn." Uh yeah, but just for a little bit so I could tell whether or not I wanted to keep it.

Sorry, can't accept it.

For goodness sakes- it is a belt, not underwear.

Nope. No way no how.

I was so mad I stormed out and proclaimed I would never shop there again.

To her cheerful MERCI!

Thank goodness I don't really like the store, so I can stick to my declaration to never shop there again.

I need to work on my reactions to typically bad French customer service so that they come out automatically when confronted with such a situation.

Step 1: Get out a pen and a piece of paper.
Step 2: Smile and ask for their name.
Step 3: Write it down.
Step 4: Smile and ask for their manager's name.
Step 5: Write it down.
Step 6: Thank them and walk out.

Even if you don't follow up on it, you will probably give them the scare of their life.

If they refuse to give you the information, consider a) taking their picture or b) writing down as much identifying information as you can. In this case, definitely write a letter.

I looked online and tried to find a Lettre Type for this type of occasion. The French love Lettre Types- they have them for everything. Want to send a letter to your neighbor complaining about their barking dog? Purchase and download the appropriate lettre type, fill in your name and address, and presto! Ready to go, complete with "Je vous prie d’agréer Cher/Chère Madame/Monsieur X mes salutations distinguées".

This is another thing I love about the French. You send off a fiery letter basically saying "I hate your guts you idiot." and end it with "Please accept my most distinguished considerations."

At least in the US we aren't hypocritical about complaints about poor service .

Anyone else want to share their tales of bad customer service?

3 commentaires:

screamish a dit…

oh how to choose, so many examples.

I think the one that sticks in my mind is an encounter strangely enough I was thinking about this evening. I was at the market in mushroom season.

I was also poor and terminally single and tried to buy like ONE cepe, and the guy looked at me and sneered and told his assistant "forget it, she's a tourist"

I assume i was supposed to buy a kilo.

Quel connard!!

Starman a dit…

Your first mistake was in accepting her negative reply as final. Your second mistake was leaving before you got what you wanted. Taking her name and her manager's name will do absolutely nothing because their manager will probably tell her she did a good job.

amerigirl a dit…

I am sure I could write an entire book of bad customer service. The most annoying are places like Darty. To buy ANYTHINGS you have to take a 6 digit number written on a sale's associates special paper to the checkout. I think that any idiot on the whole store could write the 6 digit number for you. BUT NO, you have to find the one person working in the department of the item you want, who is always on break before you can buy a toaster oven or alarm clock. I mean REALLY!

No one else can possibly break out their pad of special paper and write the number for you, but instead argue with you for 5 minutes about how it's not their job and how you need to find "Michel", since after being there 5 minutes you have memorized the name of everyone working there to their faces???

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