Wednesday, 11 May 2011

In Praise of French Customer Service

Just because I never thought I would have the occasion to use that title ...

I went to the bank today. Now admittedly, I went to the bank to complain about the ridiculously high charges that they were levying for running my account, but when I got there (and after I had hung around for ages avoiding the stares of the grim-faced lady with the anklebiter-sized dog who clearly thought I was going to queue jump her before anybody said "Bonjour" or asked me why I was there), what a welcome!

One of the major differences between my French bank and my UK banks is that in France I have a personal advisor. I know his name and I have his phone number and email address, which means that I can actually ring the bank instead of a call centre in Bangalore and make appointments with a real person.

M. Real Person dealt with the objectionable charges on my account, explained the difference between Visa and Electron cards and how to avoid paying fees on international transfers within and outwith the Eurozone, calculated my social security and tax payments for the year, recommended options for savings accounts, apologised for calling me English and taught me several useful expressions in bureaucratic and financial French, and all without once implying that I might be dumb, too foreign or wasting his time. Given that visits to the bank generally cause me sleepless nights as I try to predict all the things they might do to pull the wool over my eyes or avoid helping me at all, it was a very, very pleasant surprise!

1 comment:

  1. That was a good story to hear. Having had the experience of trying to get a carte de sejour, my memories of French customer service aren't all that rosy!