This is the twelfth installment in an examination of customer service in nine countries. (for the previous installment, see this link)
Florence Italy is a tourist town. If it weren’t for the Statue of David, the Art Gallery and the Gigantic amounts of wine in the region, Florence would not be on a lot of people’s bucket lists. Underneath the surface of the thousands of hawkers and shops selling tourist junk, however, Forence has the spirit of Italy.
When all is said and done, Italy is about people. It is about family and friends. When they meet someone for the first time, it is simply a friend they haven’t gotten to know yet. There is a genuine joy in this culture. Even when you watch two friends shouting and gesturing at each other, you can feel that it stems from a deep passion for life.
The food in Italy is breathtaking in its freshness and the care in which it is prepared. The drink – whether it is a local wine, beer or orange juice squeezed off of a tree in the back yard – is legendary. But, while Italians love to eat and drink, the food and wine are just vehicles for being with people.
The times where you will see Italians being very serious is when they are on the job. Italians take profound pride in their jobs. Whether you are talking with a driver, a shop owner, a winery employee or a construction worker, you can hear it in their voices and see it in their faces.
This unique blend of a passion for people and a passion for work is a beautiful recipe for customer service. It has been a terrific experience.
Apparently, however, we didn’t experience the best of it. In one of the beautiful wineries we visited in the Chianti Region – Rocco Della Macie – the employee told us that the people are much friendlier in Southern Italy. We had no reason to doubt her, but I can’t even imagine what that might look like.
If you get the chance, I would highly recommend you visit that winery. The wines and the people are outstanding. I would also suggest a visit to Borgo Scopeto e Caparzo in Montelchino. A wonderful, fairly new, family winery that provides a terrific experience.
Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group and has been consulting and speaking on customer experience for 23 years