After I lived in the USA and came back to Holland I was shocked to see how horribly some Dutch companies treated their customers. Be it in a store, bar, restaurant or call center. Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone and I think things have become better over the years. Although I still can be in utter amazement about the way customers are sometimes treated. See my post on Vodafone. I still enjoy visiting the USA, where I can bask in the service and attention I receive at so many places of business.
Maybe it is a cultural thing. Americans know how to give good service (by nature?) and the Dutch don’t. Of course when you say that to a Dutch person most likely the reply will be that Americans are fake. This prejudice seems to be solely based on the American way of greeting people: How are you? Many Dutch for some reason think this is insincere and shallow and hence the label fake. Unjustly so in my opinion.
We Dutch can learn something from the Americans when it comes to giving good customer service. Seth Godin wrote about the cheapest form of good customer service: the apology. In his post he questions the sincerity of the apology. The example he gives is great. It prefer sincerety and authenticity. I however accept insincere apologies above authentic rudeness any day!