This is the third installment in an examination of customer service in nine countries – and customer service aboard the MSC Preziosa
Customer Service on The MSC Preziosa. (for the previous installment, see this link)
Our next stop, as we move up the coast of Brazil, was Rio de Janiero, home of the legendary Carnivale, Christ The Redeemer Statue, and Copacabana beach. The atmosphere is markedly different than that of Sao Paulo and Santos. With the thriving international tourist industry, and the full-speed preparations for the upcoming Olympics, the people of Rio are much more aware of customer service. There is a warmth; an eagerness to help, that just wasn’t apparent in either Sao Paulo or Santos.
It was also interesting how closely the merchants worked together to look after their customers. I asked one vendor with an outdoor key-cutting stand, for example, if he sold watch batteries. He smiled and stood up instantly. Guiding me by the arm, we walked a half a block to another merchant who did, indeed, sell batteries. The key-stand guy walked away with a cheerful “Ciao!” and the watch-battery guy smiled, took my watch and replaced the battery in a matter of seconds.
Wow. I didn’t see that coming.
I think of outdoor vendors in virtually every other city I’ve been to, my home town of Ottawa included. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, most will give you an annoyed look, grunt out a “no”, then go back to checking their Facebook page. Not so in Rio.
The language barrier still creates a challenge, but the people of Rio seem more than willing to get creative with gestures and props to make sure they understand and are understood. There was a lot more laughter and engagement pretty much everywhere we went. All in all, a terrific experience.
Next: More about customer service on the MSC Preziosa. Stay tuned!
Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group and has been consulting and speaking on customer experience for 24 years