Customer service positives in Germany

133 posts in this topic

Posted

I know we all like to have a big moan about the appalling state of both supermarkets and customer service in this country, and I certainly do think it's still got a long way to go, BUT - I'd just like to say that there are a few exceptions:

my local Neukauf (EDK group supermarket) is an absolute joy to shop in since they did it up a year or so ago. It used to be this grubby, slightly seedy looking place that I never really felt comfortable going into, although the women (and occasional man) on the tills were usually ok and not actively unfriendly.

Since the big re-do, it's like another world.

Actually, what it reminds of most is what Sainsbury's (my absolute favourite supermarket) used to be like before they went all mega-hyper-superstore: it's clean, light, nicely laid-out, got an excellent (and ever-expanding!) selection of goods (including Cadbury's chocolate - yes!!!), nice low-level shelving so you can see around the shop (my main gripe with all the new Sainsbury's in the UK - it feels like you're stuck in a warehouse!), but best of all is the change in the staff: they are really, genuinely friendly and helpful. They also don't pretend not to know who I am (I'm in there every other day) and some even greet me by name. They don't moan if I've forgotten to weigh something, they notice if for example one of the packages has been ripped and needs replacing, and I even had one go and get one of those little plastic bags for me because she was worried my aavocado was so ripe it might get squashed by the rest of my shopping!

They make pleasant chat while scanning in my stuff, wish me a nice evening/day/weekend or whatever.

It's not just the ones on the tills either - at the meat and cheese counters it's the same. They'll advise, let you try bits (of the cheese, obviously, not the meat!) and generally act like they want you to come back again.

I really must make a point of congratulating the manager some day - it's just such a pleasant shopping experience, and really stands out.

My husband also had an interesting experience regarding customer service last week: he went into a local sports shop to buy some trainers, waited at the desk for about 10 minutes (he was the only customer in the shop) while the two ultra-cool young salesmen chatted to each other and completely ignored him, and then left. The shop is one of two, the other branch being in Waiblingen where the owner/manager is. So my husband decided to email the manager and tell him what had happened. He expected, of course, no reply, so was amazed when the next the day the manager wrote back thanking him for the information and saying that as he wasn't in that particular branch he obviously had to rely on customers giving feedback to know what was going on!!! He then went on to say they'd be looking into it, and if my husband would like to come into the Waiblingen branch they'd be happy to advise him on what trainers to buy and they'd like to give him a small gift to thank him for making the effort!!!

So maybe things really are getting better! :D

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Some services are undoubtedly better now than they were several years ago: Deutsche Telekom has improved. If you think its bad - 10 years ago it was impossible.. Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Post are much better too.

One thing that I still find especially bad here are dry cleaners.. Why are they so unfriendly and rude here. And all this "Vorkasse" stuff (paying in advance).. And its not just a one-off or two, Ive yet to come across a German dry cleaner that has heard of the word service. And as for such things as "In 8am, ready at 5pm" not to mention anything like "2 hour cleaning" - forget it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I have never really had a problem with the service here. I have returned goods, bought complicated train tickets etc without a six act drama. It's not all fake smiley smiley "have a nice day" but I find the service here to be no different to any of the other seven countries I lived in before. The exception to this is of course, Telekom. I am thanking my lucky stars that I was not here ten years ago, if the service was even worse!

I have had much worse service from Ryan Air and Ikea outside of Germany than I have had from services here. (again, Telekom excluded)

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Oh, and I forgot - I even had to collect a package from Deutsche Post the other week and I forgot my ID. The man behind the counter said with a smile "It's OK, I trust it is you!", now THAT is progress!

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

"It's OK, I trust it is you!"

and you laughed out loudly as you left the post office with your scum-bag of a brother-in-law's new ipod.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

QUOTE Post #4

From: Frankfurt

Oh, and I forgot - I even had to collect a package from Deutsche Post the other week and I forgot my ID. The man behind the counter said with a smile "It's OK, I trust it is you!", now THAT is progress!

Ive experienced many a humorous moment at Deutsche Post`s post offices. The funniest ones are those small offices with very few counter staff. That means a long, slow-moving and long-suffering queue of German "Dienstleistungs-Beschädigte". One such little P.O near me is especially bad on Saturday mornings - when they`re only open for 2 hours on that day (now theres service for you - and only 9.30 till 11.30 & 2.30 til 5.30 Mon to Fri). Having to collect a parcel from there is murder.

Once I waited the best part of three quarters of an hour in the queue. Most of the other people were also waiting to collect parcels - and many were being turned away empty handed as the parcels they had come to collect were inexplicably not there. The assistent- a young Azubi (trainee) working on his own, was wandering back and forth in a leisurely, dont-care manner and filling "missing parcel" forms for each customer, saying to them, "If it turns up - wenn es auftaucht, in the meantime we`l let you know"! So people send a parcel via Deutsche Post in the "hope" that it will "turn up" at the other end. So many were being turned away that whenever a parcel actually was there the people began to cheer.

But one middle-aged businessman type was getting increasingly riled by the long wait, when it was his turn at the counter, he said to the clerk "and I advise you to step on the gas (Gas geben) - you`re wandering back and forth as if you`re on the Sommer Strand, - else I`ll speak to your superiors!". This of course only had the very opposite effect, and he threw the guy`s parcel collection card into the out-tray with a gesture of disgust!

Another time at the same P.O the customer in front of me was an eastern european guy with poor german was taking ages to open a Postbank account. This involved the clerk filling in a form for him, which involved asking and replying to all manner of personal - and to my mind, utterly irrelevant questions, the sort of thing you would expect to get from bank back in the Victorian era: are you married/single, what is your age, what is your profession, and so on. And a host of other questions - is a partner to have access to the account as well, do you want telefon banking, do you want online banking, etc etc. There was no end to it.. The long suffering queue were beginning to huff and puff.. When he finally departed and my turn came the clerk said to me "was kann ich für Sie tun - what can I do for you". I was sorely tempted to say in jest "Id like to open a Postbank account please". But chickened out, for fear that those in the queue behind me would by this time take up arms..

Deutsche Post on saturdays - good for a larf!

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Rick that's funny!

Here's my story about the post bank:

My Fiance and I wanted to make a joint account from his single account. We asked for the forms, filled them at home and took them to the post bank the next day to get our id's checked. A week later, the post bank wanted the details of all my previous addresses which we sent off with all the right documents they needed. weeks and weeks went past. My fiance called them and he got fobbed off. We got no information about the status as there were no available people there. He tried a few days later, still no person to answer our enquiry. The third time he called and got no decent answer. We wrote a letter of complaint. After 8 Weeks, we got a letter saying our documents were "leider unauffindbar" that was the apology. Could we please fill the forms out again. We had to make ANOTHER trip to the post bank to get the ID's checked AGAIN. The woman filling out the rest of the form complained about my unreadable passport. I explained to her what she needed to know. Then she asked for my residency permit. I told her I didnt need one because Im english and part of the EU. She said it wasnt. Yes it is I told her. She then proceeded to look at her computer and ask her colleague whether this was true. Hmm! I sent a really nasty letter of complaint and withing three days, the account had been changed to a joint account. Now I know why the Germans complain so much!

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hmmm someone has mentioned the Bahn here already but I had an interesting experience in Hamburg last sunday. I had my kids over the weekend and I had to take them to Hamburg where they live with my ex (spit!!!) the pick-up was arranged at the Hbf so I booked a ticket from Bonn to Unterlüß (where I work) over Hamburg Hbf for Sunday night. All was going well until all of a sudden the ICE started slowing down due to "work on the tracks" and ended up being 20 minutes late arriving at Hamburg kids got handed over to a whinging ex and lo and behold I had missed the last opportunity to travel to Unterlüß and was faced with the prospect of waiting all night in the station.

As I was wandering around looking for somewhere to sit and pass the time I noticed a poster where was stated that if through no fault of your own you were more than 60 minutes late at your destination the Bahn would be liable to recompense you. Armed with this information I approached the information stand and told the tubby Bahn person there what my problem was, his answer went along the lines of "tough shit" (Dann haben Sie Pech), "hmmm thinks I" and mentioned the information on the poster to which he sprang into action and arranged for a Taxi voucher from Uelzen (nearest I could get to Unterlüß) which he made out that he was doing it out of the goodness of his heart and that this was not normal (Ausnahmsweise). :rolleyes:

Now call me an old cynic but could this be Bahn policy that these services should be avoided if at all possible? If I hadn't seen the poster I wouldn't have been any wiser. :angry:

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

you were more than 60 minutes late at your destination the Bahn would be liable to recompense you.

Now that is very useful info as I take the bahn quite often from Heidelberg to Garmisch & just lately the train is always late & I have missed several connections in Munich, do you know if it means to your end destination or just on one train?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The poster said to the end destination. If the taxi fair is more than 80 Euros then they will pay for a hotel room.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I had some good service recently - from Beamters!

I recently got married (not in Germany) - so my wife needed to do an Anmeldung at the local Rathaus (Griesheim near Darmstadt).

Firstly, when we went in the the relevant room there were two girls behind a long counter - both of whom asked what they could do for us with beamng smiles.

This was not the end of it - I explained that we wanted to do an Anmeldung for my wife. When I gave my address, the girl said "Oh - you live with Dr Klemens? How is he?"... (Dr Klemens is my landlord)

We moved on to doing the tax issues.. The girl asked if my wife needed a tax code, so I asked my wife (in English) if she wanted to pay tax. The girl thought this was this was quite funny and said (in English) "It's not about whether you WANT to pay tax!".

When all the paperwork was done, the girl said "OK - now you're married!", to which I replied "Oh - I thought we were already". The girl then asked "Have you kissed the bride yet?" - to which I responded "Once or twice!"

Anyway, we finished up, said goodbye and left the Beamter girls giiggling amongst themselves.

I can't remember having a more friendly interaction with officials anywhere. I wish all German officials were more like this.

Oh - I forgot - they also offered help filling out the form.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Just curiosity, what happened about the "Familienbuch" or has that problem solved itself since I got married 16 years ago?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The Familienbuch thing has not been raised which , AFAIK, is because we are both foreigners. We got marrried in Copenhagen due to the lack of formalities. They do a civil wedding for 500 Kroner = 67 Euros. The ceremony can be in Danish, English or German and the certificate is in all three languages. The officials there were easy going too.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

jg,

You were lucky!

I got married last year in the Czech Republic, when we tried to register my wife we were told we would have to get the wedding certificate translated into Deutsch (we already had an apsotile).

After alot of cost and faffing around we got the certificate translated (€100), when we turned up at the Rathaus make the registration again. The new girl didn't ask for the translation, infact she didn't ask for the certificate the passport was enough. I asked why I just spent €100, but she just shrugged her shoulders!

Next we tried to register my son who was born in Czech. They would not register him because he needs a visa. I don't because I'm British, my wife dosen't because she's my wife, but my son does???

It is just one big pain in the arse dealing with the authorities over here!

Duncan.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Get him a British passport. They give them to anyone.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Familienbuch

Can someone explain this please then I might understand the postings :P Thank you :D

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

A Familienbuch is a book you get (have to buy it from the Standesamt) and it contains copies of the Certificates of marriages, births and deaths in your family. I think the Standesamt also has a big book like the one that the British Registrar has that has all the details entered into as well. The book is supposed to be handed down in the family. (that's what they told me anyway)

There's probably a bit more to it than that but that's my take on it :)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

It's something the Germans should have got rid of after WW2, to eliminate yet another social pillar of Nazism, but they didn't.

As previously described, it contains information about family history (lineage) and relationships within the family (who is related to whom and how). It helps the authorities track the citizenry (same angle as registering your religion on your tax card - another social pillar of Nazism).

It's a German (and other continental European plus Chinese/Japanese) cultural thing... blood-lines still being important and all...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

it's also called "Stammbuch" and it is one of the things which my exhusband did not really want, so I kept it. I also keep the divorce "urteil" in it now :D

So the good thing about this thing is, if I will ever need anything of the stuff again, I know, where the papers are :$

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Get him a British passport. They give them to anyone.

Applied for one last week, and registered his birth at the same time.

150 quid all in, bloody typical!

Dunc.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

do u do that in düsseldorf? can it be done by post? i want to get my daughter a british passport.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I always make a point of writing to the manufacturer if I buy duff goods - anything from rubber gloves with a hole in(!) to a piece of wood in frozen Rösti. It really pays off - I either get a box of their products, money or a replacement. It's easy to find their web site and contact e-mail address, so doesn't even cost a postage stamp.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

One thing that has changed is that you are starting to see a single line for multiple counters at the Bahn and Post office, you no longer have to worry if the person in front of you is planning the trip of a life time and you have only a quick question.

I good experience I did have was with Trusted Shops. The idea is that you can shop with confidence over the web. If something goes wrong with your purchase they step in, and they did. I bought and returned a TV from a firm that went bankrupt they were supposed to but didn't return the money. After a 30 day waiting period Trusted Shops refunded my money.

Only complaint was after my money was refunded they blocked my email so I couldn't send them a thank you email :angry:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

i want to get my daughter a british passport.

When we still lived in England and Lucy was born...we applied for a British Passport for her. I did all the phonecalls...got all the Paperwork together and even had to get Passport Pictures done of Lucy. (Try that one with a 3 month old child :( ) Because I was working I also had to give a written consent that I want Lucy to have British nationallity. So with the wee one in tow my other half headed of to London to get the Passport.

And guess what...even thou Gilly was on her Birthcertificate...Lucy was not intitled to a British Passport. :(

Now I told them beforehand that Gilly and I weren´t married and they said that it wasn´t a problem. But now it was...because I am a German National and we are not married she had no right to apply. Gilly having served 13 Years in the British Army for his country...paid his taxes and lived in the UK...flipped the lid at the Passport office and was nearly arrested.

Because we wanted to take Lucy over to Germany to let my family see her...I phoned the German Consulate and within 24 Hours and one visit to the Consulate...Lucy had a German Passport. Without a picture in it...(where´s the point in that anyway)? They even arranged all the paperwork to get my divorce acknowledged by the German Goverment and were really helpfull and friendly.

We are married now and Lucy has got a right to her British Nationallity...but wether my Husband is ever going to aply again remains to be seen.

What really infuriated him was the fact that there were Pakistanis, Chinenese walking about with British Passports in their hands and his own daughter...born in England...having a British Father...wasn´t allowed one...now where is the justice in that ???

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now