TRAVEL with pat and lew

* French customer service … NOT!

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 19, 2009

Posted in ParlerParis …

Part of the American roots which go so deep that it’s doubtful they will ever cross to French soil is the concept of “customer is king” — that because we are the paying customers, the merchant will always do their best to accommodate us. WRONG.

I’ve practiced the French technique of getting good service for years now, with tutelage by Polly Platt and the other cultural experts, not to mention a lot of trial and error on my own. And just when I think it’s been perfected, something happens to stir up those deeply entrenched American roots…like a visit to an Orange/France Telecom boutique to exchange old mal-functioning equipment for the latest model.

I won’t bore you with the details, but imagine a grown woman sitting on the floor in the middle of the boutique on boulevard Saint-Germain at Odéon, papers spread all over the floor, with her coat, hat and other belongings draped on a nearby chair, blocking their copy machine so no one could use it, on her cell phone to a France Telecom customer service representative (oxymoron) after dialing 3900 and a zillion other code numbers which eventually take you to the right person. The person on the phone, now after having spoken to 5 or 6 others, is asking to speak with a sales person in the boutique to settle the matter, who are not only completely ignoring her pleas to come to the phone, but downright refusing to assist! That’s when the American roots exposed themselves…when the yelling started causing a big stir…and then guess what happened? The customer service representative on the phone hung up. TRUE STORY.

Three trips to the boutique and three trips to the apartment later, the issue was settled, but those old American roots found their way to the surface and asked, “will I ever get used to this?”

For the entire post and links to many other interesting and useful articles, click … http://www.parlerparis.com/?utm_source=Parler+Paris&utm_campaign=5ba8176e37-pparis19_1_091_19_2009&utm_medium=email

LMW NOTE: We’ve had our own customer service issues, with IKEA, getting our phones and internet set up, and with the Paris bicycle rental system. We’ve also had some quite positive experiences at Galeries Lafayette and Le Train Bleu, among many other restaurants. You can read about these experiences by clicking * IKEA’s idea of customer service* getting connected: telephone & internet* Velib … not designed for tourists* anniversary at Le Train Bleu* good customer service at Galeries Lafayette. Or just click “customer service” in the categories list to read them all.

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