A Cultural Sidenote (4)

We have had a number of things to learn in the area of customer service. Rule one:  upon entering the premises of somewhere you haven’t gone before, immediately look for the number machine. Until you have a number, you are not in line (even if you are physically standing in one). This includes, but is not limited to, the post office, the deli counter, any government office, any place where you go to pay a bill, or any customer service line. Rule number two: always begin your conversation with good day (afternoon, evening) or you will come across as extremely rude. Rule number 3: they have yet to bring “the customer is always right” motto to Portugal. For example, when we went to get a refund on our washing machine that was damaged during delivery, we were told we would not get a refund because the machine had been a floor model. Which, in essence, meant that we had paid 500€ to have the  our machine delivered, damaged, and returned to the store it came from; but were entitled to nothing else. (We were really glad to have a Portuguese helper with us to fight on our behalf.)  Rule number 4: remember that even though you may be tempted to look at this system of customer service and say”This is stupid, why do they need to make a production out of everything?”: don’t. Instead, look hard for the ways they do customer service really well; like the store shelf clerk who actually knows where everything is and will take you to it when you ask, or the cashier who says to you,while they are cleaning up the yogurt from the container you dropped on the floor and splattered everywhere, “It is no problem”  and actually means it.

One comment
  1. Wow, I’m so glad you were able to get your washing machine problem worked out! This is an interesting difference from American customer service! 🙂

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