We have been living in North America for a long time now. With that said we can say we have been spoiled and our value system is messed up.
We believe that a customer is gold and that he should be treated with respect. This is until you deal with French companies, and we travel back in time. Two instances in the last month make us laugh and realize that France is still far behind in this aspect of sales.
The first is a life raft company, they have a decent product at a good price. We discovered that at the Seattle boat show, through one of their reseller. Knowing that we like to get the word from the horse mouth, we shoot an e-mail directly, to the head office.
First response is here is the list, and why do you contact us it’s on the website. Well the list is not complete our local reseller and inspection center is not on it. Second e-mail asking them if they would have an updated version. After three weeks of no answer, I send a reminder stating, that when a customer ask a question it’s nice to answer.
Ok I will admit I can be provocative, when I don’t get the answer I am looking for… Below is their answer! : Typo and wording identical just translated.
I can confirm your list is updated
If a station is not on it, it’s because we are ( ISO 9001 et Résolution 761 (18) de OMI )
So until validated we can’t list it
For the stereotype !!!!!!
Mrs… is sick and that why you didn’t get an answer
Staying at your disposal.
Well in that case put an auto response, or assigned somebody to be in charge of the e-mail. Nowadays everyone uses it for all communication with the outside world on your website.
The second is our EPIRB company, They had a special on last year when we purchased the unit “free battery for life”. We sent the paperwork but never got anything, and there I am thinking : “that’s ok it can happen”. Though after six months, I sent an e-mail direct to head office in France. Pass on to the importer in the US, and the answer was yes send us this and that we take care of it. Done deal plus the blog on installation for good measure, that customer service “a la American”.
After a month no movement, my usual follow up e-mail and the answer is quick. We didn’t get the receipt and the document is incomplete. We know that, it’s because you never processed the first batch, but somebody had me believe that it was all solved on the second trial.
The cherry on the cake, is when the answer contain. You say you bought it on that date impossible, we never sold any via this vendor. You are trying to scam us, but we will make an exception. They must have gone to France to do a training session on how to deal with customer.
So for the third time, I scanned every piece of document from them and e-mail. The answer sorry, we read the date in the US format when the documents are in French format. Sacre bleu, a French company using a French dating nomenclature unbelievable, and all this without an appology!
And those companies want to get into the North American market. I have news for you, get some salesmanship blood in the mix. Gallic flair, innovative product and competitive pricing are not enough in good old USA.