Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Customer Service USA vs. Indonesia

This morning I was waiting in the Starbucks line, not moving and realizing the stark differences between customer service and or the customer's expectations from American customers versus Indonesian customers. 

The barrista's working the line were very nice and pleasant, but very slow (as perceived by this American), being the only non-Indonesian in the line, no one else seemed to mind the turtle pace. The cashiers seemed unable to do more than one task at a time and each thing was done with painstaking care and no worry for how long it would take. The barrista making the designer drinks was busy chatting and occasionally paying attention to composing the drink. There was no concern by either the customers or the employee's that anyone had to get back to work, that they were "on the clock." I was trying to make a bus shuttle and I had one minute to go, at one point I did finally tell the woman behind the drink counter, "please hurry, I'm trying to make the shuttle." She was still unconcerned. 

It made me think of what would have happened in the USA, first I would not have been put in that situation, as the initial barristas I came in contact with, would have pumped me out, quickly taking and executing the order. And if their was a line, Americans would have grumbled and the manager would have come out and pitched in, working to clear the line. 

But does this take away from the customer service provided, are they American barristas not as friendly or warm. On the contrary, I find them equally engaging as in Indonesia but understanding the needs of their American customers, where time is money. 

As I write this, I wonder if the difference isn't between customer expectations but our concept of time??? 

I will say this, these cultural differences are often the biggest of foreign service challenges. 


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