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!"