Good Customer Service Needs to Consider Culture

Is Good Customer Service not the same wherever you go?

Not always! Cultural differences mean that what is considered polite and a good service depends on cultural preference and if not properly understood can cause offence. Customer service needs to be understood across cultures and services adjusted to accommodate the customer.

What differences are there?

There are many! Some of the main differences are how people like to be treated. The phrase ‘treat others the way you would like to be treated’ does not work when you are providing a service to different cultures. Some cultures prefer a very personal service, to be remembered by name, for you to get to know them personally while others who prefer a more distant relationship with their service provider feel uncomfortable and consider such an approach too personal.

Why does Customer Services needs to adapt to cultural differences?

How we expect to be treated is related to our cultural beliefs and values and how we expect people to act and behave. Using first names with customers can be perceived as a friendly gesture to some cultures while cultures who value a higher level of hierarchy will consider it disrespectful.

How can you improve your Customer Service?

The expectations of your customers will be differ depending on the culture you are serving. Understanding how culture influences behaviour and how to ‘read’ the behaviour of your customers helps you to adapt your services to different cultural needs. It’s not about making any radical changes, just tweaking your service!

Hospitality & Customer Service Expectations:

Meeting & Greeting
Use of names and titles
Body language
Touching
Personal Space
Eye contact
Dining/Serving etiquette
Foods
Conversation
Misunderstandings and the barriers to communication

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