This is the eighth installment in an examination of customer service in nine countries – and customer service aboard the MSC Preziosa. (for the previous installment, see this link)
Customer Service in Spain
This is the ninth installment in an examination of customer service in nine countries – and customer service aboard the MSC Preziosa. (for the previous installment, see this link)
Cadiz, Malaga, Valencia and Palma de Mallorca
Spain is without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The culture, which was influenced by the Romans, Moors, Muslims and Christians over the last two thousand years, is rich and complex.
As a North American, one of the most difficult adjustments I had to make has been the Siesta. Shops and business will close from 2-5pm, and many restaurants from 4-8pm.
The long tradition began as a way to give workers a break from the fields under the hot Spanish Sun. Up until 2012, Spanish law limited store trading hours to 72 per week, so stores adopted the siesta period in order to say open later in the evening. In 2012, the law increased the hours to 90 per week, but a great many shop owners have not taken advantage of that.
Needless to say, though, I’m used to the convenience factor of stores being open pretty much whenever I want, so this whole siesta thing is taking a lot of getting used to. (Although I really like the idea of mid-afternoon napping…)
The Spanish are tremendously friendly, and this is obvious in the customer service everywhere. The service is not as fast, perhaps, as in other places, but it always seems to come with a smile.
The pace in Spain is relatively slow – though not the plodding slow that one might find in the Caribbean. If you ask someone a question here, even to someone who might not speak your language, you won’t get brushed off. They will do their best to try and answer, and not give up until you’re happy.
All in all, with the beauty, the history and the people, Spain needs to be on everybody’s bucket list.
Tomorrow – France. Stay tuned!
Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group and has been consulting and speaking on customer experience for 24 years