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.

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Careers Convention in School

Delighted to have a stand at a careers convention day in school for over 100 year 10 pupils to promote the importance of languages for careers and to help them understand how the EU works and the rights of citizens to live, work and study in other regions.

A number of local businesses also attended the event and the pupils had the opportunity to walk around the stands and discuss careers, languages and opportunities for placements and volunteering to gain experience.

I loved the stand they designed for me!



Schools study visit to Belfast

Two schools came together on a cross community basis to explore their shared history and to take part in a study visit to Belfast where they visited the Somme Heritage Centre and took part in a debate at Stormont to understand how the regions is governed.

The aim was to promote an understanding of how the EU works and the rights of citizens to live, work and study in other regions and to promote acceptance of cultural diversity, understanding our history in a wider EU, why the EU was created, member states and when UK and Ireland joined.


Everything is cultural including how you pause when you speak!

We all pause during the normal flow of a conversation but what is a normal pause for one culture can be very different for another culture which affects how we communicate.

The pause is cultural!

Each culture has it’s own cultural pause. The time that it is appropriate to pause while speaking.

In UK/ Ireland the pause in normal conversation is around 3 seconds. If you pause for longer the listener feels uncomfortable. They probably think you’ve lost your train of thought and feel embarrassed for you. And quite often people will jump in and speak to fill the embarrassing silence.

For cultures like France the pause is shorter and conversations overlap while Finland has one of the longest cultural pauses.

Check your own cultural pause!!


Next time you’re in a conversation try pausing for longer and shorter than you normally do to see how comfortable or uncomfortable it feels for you. Notice the impact it has on your listener. Do you prevent them from speaking if you use a shorter cultural pause? Do they speak to fill the awkward silence if you use a longer cultural pause?

Then think about what you do when you’re in conversation with someone with a different cultural pause than you!

The importance of languages in careers

Every year Rainey Endowed, Magherafelt invite Europe Direct NI along with other speakers into school to talk to students about the need for languages in order to have a successful career in a globally diverse world.

A number of speakers from a wide range of business backgrounds talked about their work and the increasing need for languages in order to do business. Europe Direct NI provided information on the freedom to live, work and study in other regions of Europe and the range of languages spoken throughout each of the Member States.

Over 100 year 10 students took part in a series of talks during the morning.

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