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Customer service stories

    • Official Post

    Yesterday I went to a computer shop in Belgrano to buy a laptop on behalf of a client, having arranged everything beforehand - the price, reserving the laptop etc etc.

    Anyway, I turned up with a very large amount of cash, the laptop was put on the counter for me to inspect, I gave the go ahead and the manager indicated that I should follow him two or three yards over to the cashier section so that he could put the notes through a counting machine, which was in public view on a shelf in front of the cashier desk.

    So I wandered over parallel with him, watched the notes go through the machine, not realising that less than a foot in front of me, a woman was sitting at a desk, presumably the cashier clerk.

    At the precise moment I noticed the woman, I heard her say in a very aggressive tone "Sir, move away, you're not allowed to be in this area."

    So I said, "Pardon me?"

    This time much louder and more aggressive, she said, "I said move away!"

    Now, there were no signs, no glass partition, no warning messages, painted lines or anything indicating that I was trespassing and I was a little miffed by her attitude, to say the least. I was also towering above her, so I kind of had the advantage in one respect.

    So I replied, "I'm actually spending a lot of money in this shop at the moment and that's not really how you should talk to customers."

    Two customer service chaps, the manager and a couple of other women further down the corridor were listening to this and the silence between the exchanges was noticeable.

    So she said, "Move away!"

    No indication of please or thank you at all. Just nasty, aggressive and she was literally barking the words at me.

    So I replied, "Basta! (enough!)", but she wouldn't let go and told me not to be so rude (maleducado) and again to move away.

    Clearly this was going nowhere, so this time I shouted 'basta!' to her one more time and moved back to my original position, where I concluded the deal with the manager in complete silence and asked him to meet me outside.

    I told him that if this had my first visit to his shop, I'd have walked away and he'd never have seen me again. The fact is that I know the shop well, the prices are incredible and they stock exactly what I need.

    He said that perhaps she'd had a rough night or something and brought her problems to work, which kind of told me a lot about the woman actually.

    I said I couldn't give shit about all that crap and that he needs to give her a good talking to, at which he apologised and promised that the next time, we would conduct the business in his office.

    I thanked him and left, grateful that I hadn't completely lost my rag. I could quite easily have sworn at her in English, but I didn't, even though I was tempted, but certain words even carry over by their context and tone, so it really would have been nasty.

    Either way, customer service here can be quite appalling at times and I sincerely hope that Mr Manager gave her a f**ing good bollocking.

    • Official Post

    This is gonna be a long thread.

    Let's say that the fact that they use the vos with customers doesn't help. And they seem also very scarce in words, not making the least effort to formulate their requests in a nice manner.

    Maybe for you English speakers you=vos and that's okay, but we have the Usted in Italian and it says a lot about the consideration you are given, if you are being talked to using the vos and given commands instead of polite and respectful requests.

    At first I thought that here they were using the vos in an attempt to put me at easy because I am a foreigner, but then I noticed that they keep using the vos even if I am using the Usted.

    I imagine the scene described by Splinter was entirely with the 'vos'. My reply would have been 'vos lo decís a tu marido y no a mí'.

    People here aren't appreciative of the many tools and nuances that the Spanish language has to offer. They oversimplify and reduce everything to two syllables. My name has five letters and my Argentinian friends just say the first three.

    Short names like Sofia are abbreviated to Sofi, 'más o menos' is abbreviated maso etc.

    • Official Post

    I love continuing with Usted when they are talking to me with vos.

    Makes me feel superior. ( I am being stupid?)

    I honestly think many of them don't know how to do it.....

    When telemarketers call here, my husband teases them and requests to be addressed with Usted. He says many young people are not able to carry out a conversation using Usted. They make an effort for the first two sentences, then they are unable to proper conjugate verbs.

  • ''No hablo Espanol'' alwasy works for me....then the wife appears on the scene and sorts them out. ^^

    Out here in the sticks I find most shopworkers are very nice when they realise you're a foreigner as they don't get the chance to meet many foreigners here.

    • Official Post

    I use the no speaky Spanish trick when the police stop me on my bike.

    I use it with the people trying to collect money and signatures for Doctors Without Borders, Greenpeace, Save the children etc.
    I walk fast but they decide to stop me of all people. Why?!
    There is plenty of slow paced elderly with all the time and joy to interact with perfect strangers on topics they are not related to.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • OMG, my husband is going through this RIGHT NOW, having been re-routed, put on hold, given the runaround [rinse and repeat 10-12 times] for nearly 3 hours now.

    In our case, the perp is Delta Airlines. We’re chasing the refund that, on April 29, they said would arrive in 14 business days.

    Argentine friends have always longed for American-style customer service. COVID-19 has brought Americans Argentine-style service. See? Great Equalizer!

  • I almost had a smooth process cancelling Telecentro and moving to Fibertel.

    No problem with coming out and installing Fibertel, and surprisingly Telecentro quickly responded to us wanting to cancel, did not go deep on trying to get us to stay, and promptly sent out someone to pick up their equipment. It was going so well until Fibertel decided to bill us three times for the first month. They claimed they are unable to change the situation now so we have to pay. Argued for about a week over this over several phone calls. Then I thought well, let's pay it so we can at least forget about two months of cable/internet bills... it's not too bad.

    So, we contacted them for payment methods. We chose debit and paid, including the confirmation message. 2 days later the money remained in the bank, 3 days, 4 days, 5 days. Then, Fibertel phones and says we have not paid. Well, no shit, you didn't take the money but we have the confirmation. Next, another couple of phone calls over the next few days getting them to confirm the cancellation of the previous debit payment (to avoid them sneakily taking it out). We've paid it now, but what a mess.

    At least my internet connection is strong now though. Although, that in itself is interesting because it turns out it was not Telecentro's fault that my internet has been rubbish for four years. When Fibertel was installing, they could not get an internet signal. He went down the floors in my apartment and found on the 6th (I am 10), someone had rewired the internet connections. Basically everyone from six up was having shite connection for years. He said it was something to do with people probably on floor 5 and 6 sharing one connection and only paying for one. He explained it but through a combination of not listening, understanding, or caring, I missed exactly how this scam was working.

    Anyway, years of crap internet gone and now I can finally use the internet in my bedroom.

  • We are still quarantined in the US, and it is becoming clear that we won’t be allowed back into Argentina for many months.

    Here is the latest in my own saga of the Covid-era Argentinization of customer service in the US:

    We’ve been waiting for the refrigerator repairman, who was finally to have come yesterday. Instead, he called to say he had read the symptoms and we were going to need an evaporator rebuild, which must be done by someone else. That company didn’t return my calls until today, and they can’t get to us until sometime after August 5.

    A new refrigerator is out of the question. There are suddenly none available, with back orders for several months.

    It is hard for Americans to learn to wait, because we have always had immediate service. My husband and I are somewhat conditioned, after all the years of conditioning in Buenos Aires. But facing another 2-3 weeks of waiting doesn’t come easy.

  • I wish you could, GlasgowJohn . But it needs a $1k evaporator rebuild. ( Splinter , does that qualify as a humble brag?)

    The good thing I should have reported is that the original service man, from the store where we’d bought the fridge, looked up the model and serial numbers, and offered to email those along with our phone number, address, and directions to the second guy. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened in Buenos Aires.