Focus on the product as well as the smile at your pub

By Mahdis Neghabian

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Customer service Sweden Customer

Neghabian: "Customers know what they want and you can’t force them to buy your product by being overly nice"
Neghabian: "Customers know what they want and you can’t force them to buy your product by being overly nice"
I recently returned from Gothenburg, Sweden’s second city, and my adopted home town. Customer service in Gothenburg (and most of Sweden) is absolutely spot-on. I would even say that, for me, it comes close to faultless.

Why? Well what amazes me is its effortlessness; it’s not done with force, rudeness or a fake smile. People want to be nice and
you feel it’s genuine.

I believe their customer service can only be this good due to one major reason — the product is fantastic. People are not ashamed of what they’re selling — whatever it may be they take pride in offering it to you.

Sure it can be expensive but you never feel hard done by or ripped off. I believe in great customer service but I can’t stand it when it feels forced or contrived.  

Can we learn from the Swedes? I believe so. I feel sometimes we take things too far here in order to compensate for the mediocre product or service we are selling. We are chasing a quick buck.

We need to take a step back and look at what we are actually selling, and whether we can be proud of it.

Then we can reap the long-term benefits of word-of-mouth recommendation.

There is so much talk about what great customer service is and how we should train our staff to treat customers in a perfect way, but the conversation should be equally focused on the quality of the product and how to improve it.

I believe people want to be part of something amazing and would like to be motivated by a sense of pride.

The Swedes are also inspired by the Americans, but I think they have found a good balance of what great customer service is all about. I guess it all goes back to the Swedish mentality of ‘lagom’ — this means not too much and not too little, just about right. A good concept to have in life, it seems.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that people from the US can’t get over how bad the customer service is in Sweden, which in turn says a lot about the customer service standards over there.

Customers know what they want and you can’t force them to buy your product by being overly nice and believing you are giving great customer service.

This varies from culture to culture, of course (the Italians can sometimes be overly rude, but they make the best chefs). Call me biased, but I like to do it the Swedish way.

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