Saturday, October 24, 2015

German Service Culture (2)

This is part 2, part 1 is from July.

Service in Germany has a terrible reputation, and that for a good reason. The German Service Culture is so bad that there is even a word for it. We call it the "Servicew├╝ste Deutschland" (service desert of Germany).

But it would be wrong to just assume that every sector of the service industry is equally bad. So I am going to explain to you how and why there is this terrible reputation in our culture.

Why the German Service Culture sucks

First of all, it doesn't suck everywhere. In industries such as hotels, catering and the like, it is more common to encounter good service. However, politeness and other values don't seem to apply everywhere either.

One contributing factor in assholy behaviour that I noticed is the monopoly effect. The more a company is independent from the market, the more it can afford bad service, here in Germany.

There are examples, and I'm not strictly talking about typical monopoly companies like Microsoft (operating systems for computers). I'm also talking about other kinds of monopolies or "almost monopolies".

One example is the postal service in Germany. There are competitors, but they are very small and can't keep up with the Deutsche Post and its other delivery service, DHL. Therefore, people delivering packages and letters can act like assholes and will. They will accuse people of "ordering too much online" or not answering the door immediately (which may or may not require you to answer the door with a shitty ass and / or totally naked). Even if you want to boycott the postal service, you may not be able to do so, because if you order at Amazon for example, then Amazon decides the postal service for you. In other words: You're fucked.

Another examples is groceries. These companies are not really monopolies, but they are de facto monopolies because customers will not be willing to walk another mile if they are not satisfied with the service. They just want their groceries, which they have to buy again and again throughout everyday life. Therefore, the grocery will notice the need of the customer and not care much about friendliness, or maybe they do, it's all about being lucky with the staff.

What I do notice though in groceries: Restocking items is a big problem and sometimes the policy seems to be: If you don't find your particular food, by something else, ASSHOLE!

Other companies also benefit in this way. Many German cities have their own bus service owned by the respective city administration. If you wanna go somewhere by public transport, there is exactly one company to get you places. Therefore, neither the people selling tickets in shops nor the bus drivers need to be marketing or service experts.

Another problem arises here which is easy to explain when talking about bus drivers. And this problem is that many people who, in other countries, should have some sort of service skill, just don't. Because they need different skills. It's hard enough to become a bus driver, so the preferred skills that bus drivers should have are: driving licence for busses, driving well, being on time... no friendliness needed. In other countries, an impolite bus driver will be forced out of the market by 10 nicer people being willing to take over the job. But not here.

Maybe employee right in Germany also play a role in this. It's very difficult to get rid of someone who has been with a company for more than, let's say, 2 years. And you can't just fire someone without a reason.

How to deal with bad service

Since the German culture is very weird, it's not easy to deal with bad service. One thing you should do if you have the chance: Immediately go to a competitor and spend your money there. It is the most direct and useful way to punish bad service. If this is the case, you can combine this punishment with talking to the idiot's boss. Only then will talking to a supervisor have an effect, because if you're dealing with a monopoly, complaining about bad service doesn't have negative consequences because you WILL spend your money there.

If you can't get around spending money at the company with bad service, you must try other ways. You can make the company look bad online, for example. There are also illegal ways to piss of individual people, but so far I haven't come to the point where I actually wanted to take personal revenge, but it could happen. It requires some sort of endurance and willpower, for example you could find out where the person lives and then it's all up to your personal revenge fantasies. You could try all kinds of things and basically all you have to do is make the person look bad without anyone noticing it's just some background manipulation done by somebody else - you.

And then there's waiting for them in the dark at night... but that's another story.

Okay, all of this was OF COURSE for sarcastic reasons. I do not encourage anyone to take illegal actions bla bla bla... Okay, did I save my ass in legal terms? Thank you. Bye.