French call center 101: What pleases the French?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hearing the word "French" gives us the images of romance, sweetness, submissiveness, or anything that is not negative. But if you are a representative in a French call center, having these positive traits is not enough for you to please your French customers, especially if they are infuriated over a faulty brand, say a television with a remote control that doesn't work or software that takes time to download.

Know the language well

A quick glance at their government papers would tell you that the French think highly of their own language, which is good. Say, their police clearance document and passport do not have any English (or other major languages like Spanish or German) translations for titles and designations (e.g. nom, prénom, nationalité). They are so proud of their language that they are very particular of hearing the right pronunciation of their words. Being adept at their language—from the brand's jargons to the everyday French—would at least save you from being an additional reason to further anger the already-infuriated customers.

Know the "French" time

In France, there is no such thing as business hours. Employees eat complete meals during break and lunch hours while at work. This is kind of weird, but it talks of their being seriously professional. From the French call center representative's end, this would remind him that the French are not into wasting time. They need a straightforward and quick answer—no frills and embellishments, no unnecessary answers.

The French are not all rude

People always have their own notion over other races. Actually, the French are a sincere race. They don't smile if they don't mean it, nor do they tell you that they are happy and contented if they really are not. So you can only consider you have done a good job helping your French customers if they tell you that they are pleased with your service. However, in turn, the French always expect politeness as they practice politeness too on a daily basis. Moreover, saying Bonjour for every request is kind of compulsory to French-speakers.

A little call to action

A short glance at the current French customer service sector will show you that it is in bad shape. The country lacks solid support for its workforce, such as incentives and benefits that would encourage workers to exert effort in doing their job. So, for the support representative catering to the French—giving them the service they do not get from the waiters, sales clerk, and other service providers in their country would take him to a higher plane. Remember: customers generally value first impressions.

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