Customer Service & Nationality: Does a person’s country of origin define their customer service standards?


By: Customer’s Poet

I get it.

To many people around the world, we Americans are viewed as spoiled, ungrateful, entitled, and even greedy. And when it comes to customer service, their viewpoints are only confirmed. Many consider us too demanding or unrealistic in our desires. While their viewpoints are not true of all Americans, it seems to be a common misconception. Yet, my recent trip to a beauty store made me challenge this belief in terms of cultural standards and wonder are Americans really too demanding or are non-American small business owner’s standards of customer service set too low?

Like many shopping for Halloween costumes this past week, I took I trip to my local beauty store to find the perfect wig that would make my costume standout. Before committing to a purchase, I wanted to shop around to be sure I was getting the best price. After trying on 3 wigs and having the rep tell every one of them looked beautiful on me (even the ones I clearly expressed I hated) the rep relentlessly continued to push for the sale.


She handed me 2 wigs without asking me if I wanted to purchase them first. She stressed the reason for purchasing the wigs today. She even went as far as attempting to run my credit card for $30 as a payment plan to finance a wig when I clearly stated I did not want to buy. After declining the sale multiple times, I witnessed the rep let out an angry sigh as she explained that she was only trying to help. Yet, in retrospect, she was eagerly trying to make a sale. Doing anything and everything she could to get money out of me. Unfortunately for her, she ensured I would never return.

Using my experience, if you’re ever in a situation where language is a barrier to receiving proper customer service, consider’s advice.

Using my experience, if you’re ever in a situation where language is a barrier to receiving proper customer service, consider’s advice.

Simply your message: Use simple, short statements to communicate best.

Gather the information you can: Get the information you can, let the rep know you’re having trouble understanding, reiterate what you believe you understand, use non-verbal communication to get remaining details.

Speak clearly and slowly: Don’t mumble. Speak slowly and clearly, but not condescendingly like you’re teaching Kindergarten class.

Avoid jargon and slang terms/phrases: Many culture-specific terms have become habitual to use but not everyone knows them.

Patience: Patience is a virtue when cultural communication barriers exist. If you don’t display it, all of your communication efforts will be pointless.

As always be smart, be savvy, and equip.

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