E-mail your contributions *here*

22 September 2008

Bitch-Slapped - Not service with a SMILE!

Coming from the UK i may be a little too used to the ways of the British and how they serve customers, how they spend so much time in getting the customer service right, how service with a smile is always present if only for a second or so whilst they are taking your money. On the whole i would say in general you get good vibes on entering a store in the UK because they know the end result will be your money leaving your pocket and being placed in to their till.

Since arriving in Turkey i have been extended many Hosgeldiniz (welcomes) and experienced instances when i am given something for nothing (impossible in the UK), or someone gives me a glass of tea in a shop whilst i am waiting for my photographs to be processed (also impossible in the UK). And on certain occasions i have a healthy chat with one of the employees of a shop or business because they have time to spare and seem like nice enough people. But today made me irate, i go to the same bank every week, one assistant there is nice (pardon, perfect) and always helpful yet the other is always aloof and basically a short skinny bitch with the attitude of a ermmmmmmmm! short skinny bitch. Even though i asked for the same amount 3 times to withdraw from my account, 3 times this person refused to listen and just said the thing that was in her mind, now i am not Turkish but i do know how to say numbers in Turkish and this person was just taking the piss. How do i know this because she does it every time i go in there.

I won't mention the bank, but it is supposed to be one of the best banks for foreigners. I go in this bank regularly, i always says "merhaba" (hello) when going to the till, I always say "kolay gelsin" (take it easy) when leaving and i always smile. I am also in and out of the bank very quickly (like a ninja on acid) unlike most of the customers who seem to stand at the till for what seems like a half century. And lastly, i don't ever ask them to do anything complicated for me. This one bank teller, has a serious problem not only with me it seems, but the whole world. When you leave the bank you feel like you have been physically 'bitch slapped' (like in one of the old Turkish movies "Your place is in the home and not in workplace - bitch!") After a fairly run of the mill, straightforward banking transaction i feel physically raped, like i have had my trousers pulled down to my ankles and had some strange probe plunged up my ass, not good as you could possibly guess! Not only this, but the withdrawal i made and the minor interaction that i made with this lady er! bitch makes me reassess my whole being thinking that i am causing the problem when it is quite apparent i am not.

I have come across many occasions when similar types of bad customer service has occurred and i believe that in most countries i have been to and have heard of they would not accept this kind of behaviour. In fact in the UK this woman would be booted promptly out of the job because her attitude sucks. I worked on a telephone support line providing support for Internet users in my past and even though i was verbally abused and tainted by all sorts of crazy calls, i still extended courtesy to every person that rang after the verbal beatings. It is called customer service and is the best and the only way to get return customers and indeed survive in the business world.
After thinking about this occasion i realised that this practice of being rude, arrogant and downright ignorant to customers is a widely used form of customer disservice.

I think back:

  • A carpark attendant: "Are you English, I hate the English! You are the scum of the Earth" (after accepting my money for the carpark)
  • The supermarket worker: Throwing my money in to the depths of the carrier bags at the end of the till. (because she didn't have time to put it in my hand, surely a lot easier than throwing downwards)
  • A lot of shop-workers (mainly bakkals): Selling faulty products with no return policy or food that is out of date.
  • People opening a door for themselves and letting the door drop back into your face when they know you're right behind them.
  • The phone operator reseller (Bayii) who after asking a question then puts his head under the counter and never comes back to answer the question. Where did he go? I don't know maybe he was under the table doing a Recip I'madickhead impersonation or is that Recip Ivedik. Either way 'dick' should definitely be in his surname.
  • The shopkeepers who make decisions for you, "I'll have a set of 'faber castell' pencils please", but the shop-keeper then proceeds to give you a completely different set of pencils with a strange unknown mark, 'fakin numbskull' trademark written on the side. Then for the same price as faber castell you now own a far inferior set of pencils because he couldn't reach the other ones or couldn't be bothered to reach them, and afterwards saying, "They're exactly the same quality you know!" "What like nescafe and nosecofe?"
  • A person bumps into you, nearly knocks you off your feet, and they don't even have the humility or kindness in their souls to say "Sorry!"
  • And many other occurrences which probably aren't just Turkey, but many of these are seen in Turkey on a regular basis.

If full entry in to Europe as well as the world marketplace is needed then these inadequacies in customer support need to be addressed. You can't treat your customers bad, if your customers don't like you saying, "Buyurun! Buyurun! Buyurun!" (Come! Come! Come!) a couple of hundred times then it's about time the customer service practice was reassessed and "Buyurun!" was only said perhaps two times to foreigners. Since coming to Turkey, i have been amazed at the kindness and how superb Turkish people can be but on the downside of the coin why do i see so many bad mannered people. Is it because they are not aware of it? Is it because my manners have been tuned in to say, "sorry" if i knock someone clean off their feet by accident. Or to give money in to a person's hand rather than throw it in a downwards direction to any surface it can be thrown to.

I am not a Turkish citizen so am i asking too much of people i meet on a day to day basis? I don't think so, because today's economy is all interconnected with world finances. Manners and everyday rules of life are in fact quickly adopted wherever you are. Am i seeing a broad enough base of the population to view this is in a critical way? Maybe not, but surely if these manners can gain ground in other far off countries then surely this is the way forward and can be achieved in Turkey too. If you ask any person to take their shoes off when entering a mosque, these people are doing it to be respectful, then why can't this respect be in other areas saying a simple sorry when your whole 200 kg weight steps on somebody's toes, a simple smile now and again to be given after every sale made in the local bakkal (corner shop). Surely this can be accomplished.

There is a story a while back of how the aeroflot cabin crew staff members were getting a virtual facelift because all of the staff's mannerisms that were very bad indeed. I think one of the worst customer service in the aviation world at that stage. Whether they knew this or not i doubt it but if you had your in-flight lunch thrown at you by some tall Russian blonde with a face like a baboons bottom, scowling rather than smiling, would you believe this to be acceptable?

The world is customer oriented so if your job requires that you smile, then you smile! The customers should in most cases be right. The customer has certain expectations that should be extended to them. Courtesy should be the first, kindness the next, feeling that they are your only customer when you are dealing with them, and lastly patience. A large part of Turkey's economy is based on Tourism, so Turkey should be working hard on their image like everywhere else in the world.

The strange thing about this is that if you watch an episode of 'Var Misin? Yok Musun?', roughly translated, 'Is there? Isn't there?', (a game of chance where the person picks boxes until they are down to the last two and the last box they can win the money, or failing that chicken out and accept the set money pot) then you will see a tremendous amount of outpouring of emotion and humility. Everybody cries together, everybody smiles together, everybody cheers together, what a perfect world, everybody is so nice. It appears this is only real if you are very close family or in the confines of the television box because not all Turks are like this.

Things will change in Turkey more and more. There are good people in Turkey - lots of them, there are great people in Turkey - lots of them too and there are unfortunately not so great people like in every country but it is up to the good and great people to show the not so good people how to behave for success.

And as for me, "I don't wanna be bitch-slapped no more Ms Bank Teller lady" "I deserve better!"

Bitch-Slapped Blogger
Anton J.


Anonymous said...

Ask to be serviced by some other employee (the nice one) and report her behavior to management. How else will it change?

Bitch slapped blogger said...

The only problem here is the actions are not so blatant and it is possible she is not aware that she is giving out this service without a smile. Working in banking, she is probably intelligent enough to be sarcastic and not get caught abusing customers in a round about way.

Also as i say i can't report everybody and since i have had many experiences like this maybe it is somewhat the norm and that is something that as a foreigner without full citizenship would not be able to change and even as a foreigner with full citizenship would not change.

Bitch slapped blogger

Anonymous said...

Reporting her attitude is something you owe yourself first and foremost. It equals standing up for yourself and asking for respect.

You might be one among many others subject to/ reporting this kind of behavior and eventually it will make a difference and call for change.

"Qui ne dit mot, consent" say the French (Silence implies consent)

Anonymous said...

I am wondering where were you living before!? I lived in Germany as a foreigner and beleieve me I have been through much worse... So basically foreigners are generally accepted as a second tier person. This is not specific to Turkey, on the conterary Turkish people generally love foreigners and tend to build a relationship with them unlike the majority of Europe including England. But don't forget the fact that English government is equally quilty of the death of over a million Iraqi people in the past 5 years..and some hundered thousands in the rest of the world, basically some people may have an offensive approch to English guys as well (I believe it is an unappropiate attitude) like the carparking guy. Every result has a reason. Still I believe and seen that Turkish people are much more friendly, helping and hot bloded comparing the rest of Europe by far...especially considering Izmir. I think you should reconsider your thoughts.

Bitch-slapped blogger said...

Ok, first of all i am guessing you are Turkish and this is why you have taken offence. Secondly, the fact that you are Turkish means that as i have seen you will defend all things Turkish including things that are on some occasions wrong. I never said all Turkish people were bad. Unfortunately, i meet some of the bad ones, the rude ones and the downright nasty ones, but as i said in my post, i do find superb people as well.

I am not a nasty person in my heart and you are perhaps right about the fact that foreigners wherever they are sometimes have a rough time. After all, there will always be someone who is jealous that some guy coming to their country could possibly be earning more than them and may be living a richer lifestyle than them. That is not something i wish to get in to because this is up to the business that employed the individual, and is usually based on a skill-set that perhaps the managers couldn't find in their locality.

One thing i completely disagree with is what you wrote about Iraq what has Iraq got to do with anything regarding me. This is a govermental decision and i play no part in this and anyone who mentions this tedious and rather boring subject has to re-assess their level of intelligence. The whole country didn't support the war because in the UK, there may be different problems that there aren't in Turkey, but one thing we are is free-thinkers. We don't all follow one person and we definitely don't all follow one flag. You may be right when you say that people may hate UK citizens for fighting in Iraq but i see these people as people who rarely check facts and generally follow everything that a few people tell them. People tend to just use the Iraq issue becaue they didn't like UK citizens in the first place.

In Turkey there is a precedence that i haven't seen in other countries where many people go elele (hand in hand) like a day out on a school trip. Break free a little, do your thang, and don't keep blaming the worlds' troubles on Iraq.

If i go anywhere in the world i expect decent customer service and no matter if there are problems in Iraq, Russia, Georgia or wherever you don't have to take bad service from anybody. Business is business and there is a code of conduct wherever you are.

And finally, the fact that a country (?) could have possibly slaughtered a million or so people in their past and yet not stand up to be judged, then why should i stand up to be judged for something that my army is currently doing.

Bitch-slapped blogger

TurkishRu.Net said...

leaving the Iraq issue aside as it doesn't belong to this conversation, i have to say that i find most Turkish employees courteous and polite. true, some are not, but, just like "anonymous" (sept. 29), i have also seen similar behaviour in Germany AND the UK. when you encounter this, you simply ask to talk to the manager. that's a lot more helpful than writing tirades on the net. ;) respectfully, non-Turkish reader of the Izmir Blog. :)

Bitch-slapped blogger said...


I agree with what you said about leave out issues that are not anything to do with the original post.

But when you say you haven't seen anything like this with your employees and also that it is exactly the same in the UK, Germany and many other countries, i fail to agree. I have been to many countries English speaking and non English speaking coutries and i haven't seen such bad behaviour. The instances i wrote about are just the ones i remember. I have assimilated a little more since being here and have begun to forget some of the instances and treat them as normal.

Today for instance, i went in to an office to discuss something. The lady on the phone saw me come in, no aknowlegement whatsoever, no nod of the head, no one second pause of the conversation to say, "I'll be with you in a moment!" just a rude as you like continuation of her conversation with her mother about nappies and other unforgettable stuff, for 10 more minutes. She could have said, "I'll call you back there is a customer here!" She could have said, "Sorry, this is a really important call to my mother about my one eyed, one legged, half deaf child who is in a critical condition on a life support machine!" She could have even said, "F@@k you, I'll be ready when i'm ready freak!" Anything is better than nothing, and even in the rudeness of 'f@@k you' sentence above it would still be reassuring because then at least i would know that she was dealing with me at some stage in the next 24 hours. In the end it wasn't an important call, her one legged, one eyed, half deaf child wasn't really ill, he was just angry that he couldn't see - sorry i forgot to mention the child was blind as well. Now, to me her behaviour was just plain rude.

Maybe she does this because in Turkey family is more respected than anything else and i am not saying this is wrong i am just saying that if you are at your work place, you do your work. If you are in your break, you have your personal phonecall. And like i said previously a huge amount of Turkish people are not like this but i still say i don't see this behaviour as much in other countries. Admittedly, there is a huge list of countries i haven't been to, but the countries i have been to I haven't seen bad manners this much. Who's to say that the people who are dishing out the bad manners even know they are being bad mannered. Maybe they don't know! Like me getting used to some things that i once considered rude, they are also used to it.

The previous poster who replied (TurkishRU) said and i quote, "talk to the manager that's a lot more helpful than a tirade on the net". I don't believe what i wrote was a tirade,i believe all i am doing is being truthful about my experiences whilst in Turkey which is exactly what a blog is about. (I must add a Thank you for Izmir 2 Blogger for allowing me to blog here also) Some people throw things out there maybe interesting, maybe boring, maybe controversial, but the good thing about controversial things is they get people talking and no matter what you say about it, it is sometimes for the good of things. Maybe in the holiday resorts someone may read this and say, "only say Buyurun 10 times and not 100 times and then we may get a sale because the foreigner may then browse in my shop and not just pass it by" Good or bad these are my experiences and that's all there is to it.

Maybe later i can write about my good experiences in Turkey but like i said before my post was not a tirade because a tirade would just be bad points and i did offer some good points about Turkey and Turkish people. I'm not anti-Turkey just anti-bad manners.

Bitch-Slapped Blogger

Nomad said...

I lived in Turkey for 18 years and during that time, there were so many chances with regard to service. If there is one thing that really annoyed me about Turkey was what I called that beggar mentality.. so many people expected something for nothing and on the other hand, they expected to be treated like a beggar.
Example: Modernity has reached many parts of Turkey these days, but up until recently, paying bills or any official form of business would pretty much take a full day. You sit in a crowded bank.. because the banks opened at 9, took an hour break at lunch and closed at 4. Open on Saturdays, you must be joking. You take your number and wait.. 32.. 33.. 34.. and then suddenly 90.. and somebody marches in out of nowhere in front you (lucky 35) And why? because there were two levels of service.. one for the Mr. Riff and Mrs. Raff and the other level for the important people. The wives, mothers fathers, lovers of important people. They cant wait and why should they? You know what the worst part, the most maddening part was? I was the only one who even seem to notice anything out of order!

So I am now back in the USA and I have had a few dreaded things to do with government offices. And things could not have gone smoother, people were helpful, informative, and as I was leaving I happened to see a booklet at the exit. "How are we doing?" it read. I examined carefully and rolled my eyes back. It was a questionnaire from the city government asking citizens to give ratings to the quality of service they received.