n an increasingly international environment, national borders seem increasingly blurred. Many companies therefore easily choose to go international. It is easy to choose for an office abroad or to start delivering to one of the surrounding countries. Yet we see that customer service is often forgotten. Providing customer service for foreign customers is more than just having the right languages available. In this blog we describe the 8 biggest differences between Dutch and French customers. Handy anyway.
1. Informal vs. Formal:
Whereas Dutch customers are fairly quick to say you and you, French customers value a somewhat more formal approach. The Dutch are often more direct and angular in their communication. The French are a lot less direct and often more formal in their contact.
2. Language proficiency:
Whereas in the Netherlands we speak English fairly easily and accept it in business communication, it is different for the French. They speak French and expect you to do the same. In France, foreign TV is still dubbed. French people expect customer service to be available in native French.
In French culture, hierarchy plays an important role. French customers often expect employees to be aware of social status and show respect for their position. Dutch customers, on the other hand, tend to place less emphasis on hierarchy and are more focused on egalitarianism.
4. Keeping appointments:
You wouldn't say it but with regard to customer service, etc., French people are punctual. They set high standards and expect appointments to be kept. In daily life, however, this is less so. Here we Dutch are of the agreement = agreement.
French customers greatly value personal contact in customer service. The French like a personal approach where the interaction is of a high level. The Dutch are somewhat more focused on efficiency.
6. Work ethics:
French people work longer hours and have longer breaks at noon. In the Netherlands, we still work a lot of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a half-hour break. For companies that have French customers, this is something to consider. They may want to contact you during their break and after work. Then, of course, you have to be available at the times your French customer wants to reach you.
Cultural differences can also emerge in negotiations. French clients tend to have a more assertive and non-verbal communication style, while Dutch clients tend to be direct and open in their negotiation approach.
8. Satisfaction and complaints: The Dutch, of course, can complain. Yet when it comes to complaints, the French are more expressive than the Dutch. If you want to set up French customer service then you have to take that into account, for example. French customers can get angry faster if they have a complaint where the Dutch are a bit more understanding.
So when setting up good French customer service, it is best to take into account a number of cultural differences. By understanding and respecting the differences between French and Dutch customers, you can build a solid foundation for successful customer relationships. Cultural sensitivity and adaptability are key to building sustainable and profitable international business relationships.
We are SpangenbergGroup! And we can help you make your customer service an good customer service to make. Just good customer service where the basics are in order. Where customer contacts add value to the customer experience. We relieve you in the area we are good at (customer service) so you can concentrate worry-free on what you do best. Sound good? Get in touch.
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