As a European, I love traveling to the U.S. because customer service seems so perfect compared to the service that you experience as customer with the majority of European companies. And I ask myself how we can learn from this customer-oriented culture and move it to Europe?
Many reasons come to my mind spontaneously – education, affinity to serve, labour conditions, modern company leadership….. how come a rental car agent in the US is so kind to look for a baby seat, take it to the car and fix it, and a rental car agent in Spain doesn´t even bother to tell you where to get the reserved baby seat? The first, positive experience just happened to me during a trip to California, and the second, negative experience happened to me more than once across Europe.
So, what is different in these two cultures? If we think about education, a difference could be that in the US parents as well as school teachers show their kids/students a positive attitude towards a serving culture. Comparing this to Europe I remember an internal promotion within a major European airline that asked its employees to better serve the customer: the reaction of the employees was devastating – nobody understood his role in working for the airline as responsibility to serve the customers… and nobody understands that the monthly paycheck is being provided by the customer, and not by the internal HR department.
Coming to labour conditions it comes to my mind that in Europe employees may be too protected by law. If you are conscious that your company cannot just fire you if you don´t perform, or if it does so it has to pay you a certain amount of compensation, why bother to do things perfectly towards the customer? As far as I know, the risk of losing a job is higher in the US and employees may just try harder to satisfy the customer? And what kind of consequence does this have for European companies? They must educate, educate, educate, and link a bonus payment to the individual performance with a positive customer experience. Would this work????