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Customer care in Hungary

I really do think that many mechanics mistreat female customers more then male customers.
They do not think women understand a thing about cars and take advantage of them.
My son's old GF in Vegas was both a female and a minority.She was from Japan.
She took her car in at least 4 times for the same repair before my husband had a look at her car. He was so mad, he noticed they didn't do half the work they told her they did and overcharged her like crazy.
I was scammed big time on a brake job when I came in with my young son, they preyed on my fears. Told me my car wasn't safe to even drive home with.Over paid and they didn't do more then just change a brake pad or two.
Told me they did this and that which was not ever done.
My first car I bought myself when I was 18. Just bought it from a private party on my own, never had my step-dad or anyone look it over before I bought it.
When my step-dad looked the car over, he was insanely mad, wanted to know where the guy lived so he could beat him up for selling me a junker.
He calmed down and redid the head gaskets and a ton of other repairs, scammers are everywhere.

klsallee :

...In game theory, it is a non-coperative game, and having their buddies as guaranteed clients places the local business climate here into a Nash equilibrium where the business does not have to treat customers well since doing so could destroy the equilibrium to there disadvantage (treat a customer nice and do good work and pretty soon all the school chums will expect that too). But getting a new customer via a guilt trip can move the equilibrium in their favor without the business having to change its strategy. So the business is not acting insane, it is in fact acting quite predictably within the local conditions pretty much as expected by game theory.

What is "insane" rather are the local conditions causing this type of equilibrium in a position that allows the business to maintain poor customer service and still have a viable business.

In game theory, it's all about trade offs, same as mutually assured destruction, vis-a-vis if poor service results in tit-for-tat escalation (cf. rule of law) then poor behaviour would not  be rewarded and a new equilibrium would need to be established.  All it takes is one googly (cricket term for an unusual ball throw) to upset the balance.   

It's like my snail paced land dispute.  Everyone knows the land registry is wrong but it takes a googly (me) to upset the balance and establish a new equilibrium amongst the landowners.

I also throw in the Peter Principle that everyone rises to their level of incompetence.  Some quicker than others.

fluffy2560 :

In game theory, it's all about trade offs, same as mutually assured destruction, vis-a-vis if poor service results in tit-for-tat escalation (cf. rule of law) then poor behaviour would not  be rewarded and a new equilibrium would need to be established.  All it takes is one googly (cricket term for an unusual ball throw) to upset the balance.

Actually, in game theory, most cases result in long term equilibrium (i.e. that is why it is called the Nash equilibrium, not the Nash moving target  ;) ). That is kind of the entire point of the theory. Rarely does it shift from the equilibrium. But when it does, it is usually from an external pressure on the rules of the game; that is, the players rarely inject this disturbance or end up changing the equilibrium themselves. And (the important word) I do not see a lot of external pressure (i.e. "rule of law") working well enough in Hungary to greatly offset the current equilibrium for poor customer service, especially in small businesses like auto repair. Nor are googly events going to disturb a well set equilibrium because that equilibrium has too much society inertia behind it; such googly events just cause a ripple (if even that), then are forgotten.

klsallee :

.... And (the important word) I do not see a lot of external pressure (i.e. "rule of law") working well enough in Hungary to greatly offset the current equilibrium for poor customer service, especially in small businesses like auto repair. Nor are googly events going to disturb a well set equilibrium because that equilibrium has too much society inertia behind it; such googly events just cause a ripple (if even that), then are forgotten.

You're right of course and it's true that enough people are upset by the behaviour, the equilibrium will shift.  The same can be seen with monopolies/cartels (incl.  governments) and high prices.  Another googly could be introducing true competition will cause price adjustment downwards and a move towards higher service levels as these are the only things they have differentiate distinguish themselves within pool of the market players. 

In the case of poor service here, it's a case of whatever they can get away with and usually it's a lot.  But  the laissez faire/bird in the hand type attitude relies on individuals being a fragmented bunch, having insufficient capacity to organise and not even being coherent in their bargaining. 

In theory, social media could give them a voice, without being organised.  Like Ebay, businesses need to be rated.   Google have that for listed businesses but I see very few comments for HU based businesses unless I am looking in the wrong place.

Even some hair salons could use a bit more business "savvy" in Hungary.
In the past I had frequented several of the "high end" salons for a hair cut.
The worst offender was of all places the "world famous" Toni and Guy salon.
I had my appointment for a cut, brought my husband with me( not always the best idea as he dislikes the whole seance)
My new to me stylist was still working on a client so we  were told to sit and wait.
The problems was that all the chairs and couches had salon assistants literally laying on them, they saw us clients standing and never got up of their bottoms to move.
We stood for about 15 mins. my husband was ready to just walk out the door because of the attitude but I really wanted my haircut.
Finally got into see the stylist, was a ok cut, nothing really worth the hassle of hearing my husband complaining about how rude they were to paying customers.
This was 10 or years back, he refused to let me go back there again not because of the cut but because of their bad attitude towards customers.
I was a assistant in a high end salon in Westwood, Cal. when I first started out doing hair.
My GOD, no way did we ever have the time to lounge around let alone treat the clients like trash.
It was serving coffee, doing towels, shampooing away, putting on color, washing out perm solution, sweeping up, lucky to get a 10 min break in the whole of 8 hours.
I suppose I get more upset when I see bad service in a industry I used to work in, I know what is good service and what is bad.
Perhaps Toni & Guy are now under new management but my husband will never pay for me to go there again.
Tried another 4 to 5 high end salons in Budapest, just not customer friendly, too many of the stylists think they are stars and not there to service the clients.
I have found a ex-pat in the 6th district that I go to now, much more of a personal friendly salon and his cuts are good and not overpriced like the snobby shops are.
I once was in Hajas salon and I swear, the new stylist( my regular girl was out of town) did 2 haircuts on me, I was squirming to get out of the chair after the first 90 mins of him cutting. I have fine thin straight hair, shouldn't take more then 20 mins to do a cut on me. In total, wash, blow dry I will give it no more then 35 to 40 mins with my skinny hair.
I felt like he was using my head for practice by making me sit so long.
I was about ready to just walk out and buy a wig!
I quit Hajas salon because my girl was never there even with my appointment, seems she could afford to be in Spain or holiday all the time. Was only in the shop every 3 or 4 haircuts, otherwise got passed onto someone else.

Marilyn Tassy :

.....
I once was in Hajas salon and I swear, the new stylist( my regular girl was out of town) did 2 haircuts on me, I was squirming to get out of the chair after the first 90 mins of him cutting. I have fine thin straight hair, shouldn't take more then 20 mins to do a cut on me. In total, wash, blow dry I will give it no more then 35 to 40 mins with my skinny hair.
I felt like he was using my head for practice by making me sit so long.
I was about ready to just walk out and buy a wig!
I quit Hajas salon because my girl was never there even with my appointment, seems she could afford to be in Spain or holiday all the time. Was only in the shop every 3 or 4 haircuts, otherwise got passed onto someone else.

I Googled the review comments on the Hajas salon and someone wrote:

"First they did not speak very well English, but they said they understood what I want it. They just cut extremely bad. They left almost no hair on my head. I can have it cheaper and better in other places in Budapest I guess. Extremely disappointing  experience. DO NOT GO THERE find another place"

It seems you are not alone in your comments!

Many moons ago, I modeled for Jerry Tyler while I was attending beauty college in Cal.
He later became the 5 time president of the Cal. board of barbers, he also did my hair and my sisters before he became the personal stylist in the 80's to Pat Benatar . He was/is a doll of a man without being a jerky snob, a real talent and well known even now in the beauty industry.
He did my hair for 14 years before I moved away.
I was spoiled by the best in the business. I get upset when lesser talents try their BS out on me.
Until I found my new stylist an ex-pat, I was teaching my husband how to do a light trim on my hair in places I could not reach.
Figured he is a master at cutting metal, maybe he could try his hand out on hair.
Desperation time!
I just can not stand the ego in many salons without the talent to back it up.

fluffy2560 :

In theory, social media could give them a voice, without being organised.  Like Ebay, businesses need to be rated.   Google have that for listed businesses but I see very few comments for HU based businesses unless I am looking in the wrong place.

Meh.

Social media is full of keyboard warriors. Facebook is just a stove pipe of conformists who seek self gratification from others liking their own pre-determined views without any real exchange of knowledge or information. While Twitter has simply been weaponized.

The "promise" of the Internet as as source of global knowledge has turned into a joke.

I have dealt mostly with knowledge management and information theory in my professional life. And I have noticed this degradation in the last decade. Less and less real knowledge and real information over time, and more and more white noise.

klsallee :

...Social media is full of keyboard warriors. Facebook is just a stove pipe of conformists who seek self gratification from others liking their own pre-determined views without any real exchange of knowledge or information. While Twitter has simply been weaponized.

I dunno, it's not all bad.  Some people actually make a living at being "opinionated" on the Internet and having "followers".   Not that I follow anyone on any of those sites. Personally, I'm not even in Facebook. Or LinkedIn.  I cannot see it adds any value to my time and would probably suck up any spare capacity I had with drivel and piffle.

klsallee :

...The "promise" of the Internet as as source of global knowledge has turned into a joke.

I think it's been generally a force for good as far as disseminating knowledge.  For example Wikipedia is a pretty good source of information so long as one double and triple checks the facts on there.   Useful to get background on stuff.   Better than a massive pile of encyclopedias that were around when I was a kid.

klsallee :

...I have dealt mostly with knowledge management and information theory in my professional life. And I have noticed this degradation in the last decade. Less and less real knowledge and real information over time, and more and more white noise.

You are right where say Facebook or LinkedIn are concerned, possibly YouTube, almost certainly Google misdirected searches. 

Despite those ridiculous applications (Facebook particularly) there's plenty of information out there if one cares to look.  More concerning is exactly what you say, lack of real knowledge or, more importantly,  a pool of original thinking out there in Internet-land as a basis for innovation.   I was just  musing if there was actually anything useful has been discovered via the internet.

Perhaps the lesser-spotted competent Hungarian Customer Service Agent is out there somewhere waiting to be discovered.

BTW, earlier, Mrs Fluffy phoned a "customer service hotline" to buy some relatively pricey IT gear today and no-one even answered the phone!  Moved to the next supplier.  No answer either.  Resorted to e-mail.

Update:  One supplier refused our money!  Decided we were not worth it.   Well, someone else will get the cash then.

That is strange that they didn't answer the phones, or not so much strange as disappointing.
Yesterday I waited until the "official" hours for asking about US social security benefits with the embassy here in HU.
I called, no answer, double checked on line, tried calling another 3 times, gave up and used the internet instead to make a appointment at the US embassy in Budapest.
I mean seriously, they are only open for 90 mins. 2 days a week, why couldn't anyone pick up the phone?
Tax dollars at work!!!

Marilyn Tassy :

That is strange that they didn't answer the phones, or not so much strange as disappointing.
Yesterday I waited until the "official" hours for asking about US social security benefits with the embassy here in HU.
I called, no answer, double checked on line, tried calling another 3 times, gave up and used the internet instead to make a appointment at the US embassy in Budapest.
I mean seriously, they are only open for 90 mins. 2 days a week, why couldn't anyone pick up the phone?
Tax dollars at work!!!

You're lucky even to have a small window onto your country.   The British Embassy has no useful services available whatsoever to citizens.  It's not even possible to get a passport there.  You can get a consular birth certificate but jeez, what a rip off.  For no. 2 Fluffyette, we weren't prepared to pay about £150 for the privilege.  Fluffyette No. 1's birth certificate was cheaper.

Obviously UK citizens needing assistance would interfere with the important work of hob-nobbing with other diplomatic types, buying tax free goods, boozing on the cocktail circuit, afternoon tea and croquet on the lawn.   We definitely wouldn't want the hoi-polli actually appearing in person.   I reckon any British Embassy (definitely in the EU) could be scaled back to about 3 people - Ambassador, Secretary and the cleaner.  Everything else could be done from London. No-one knows what they do anyway at the Embassy.

Last British ambassador was a miserable bloke.  He could not even be bothered to give a proper speech on Armistice Day (now Remembrance Sunday, the one closest to 11th November) at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Solymar.  The fella before actually did give a speech so he's forgiven a little bit (side note: The South African Ambassador loses points for running away immediately after the placing of the wreaths).

"Official" customer service HU style has obviously extended into the British civil service.

That is too bad, I thought maybe the British Embassy was better then the US embassy.
Was only in the US embassy once before when my husband changed his address officially to HU with his SS.
The man who assisted us was nice but he wasn't even an American, he was a Hungarian.
Sort of surprised me that most of the staff was HUngarian working at the embassy. Guess they are cheaper to hire then to ship over US citizens with benefits and all.
I admit even though I am not a "gun hoe" all American sort of person by any standards, I did feel a bit proud seeing a healthy, strong, black  handsome young ,US Marine in his starched whites standing at the entrance. Almost made me long for some apple pie!

Marilyn Tassy :

That is too bad, I thought maybe the British Embassy was better then the US embassy.
....
The man who assisted us was nice but he wasn't even an American, he was a Hungarian.
....
I admit even though I am not a "gun hoe" all American sort of person by any standards, I did feel a bit proud seeing a healthy, strong, black  handsome young ,US Marine in his starched whites standing at the entrance. Almost made me long for some apple pie!

Pfff...services at the British Embassy are non-existent.  Most of the office staff are also Hungarian there because most of the people going there are Hungarian. The personnel also speak English of course.  They are all incredibly arrogant, both the locals and the British there.  Even the security guards have been on the anti-helpful customer course.   You cannot even walk across the car parking spaces. I'm glad I don't have to go there these days. Might change on Brexit.

I've been in the US Embassy and I found it rather clinical.  I took my colleague there and waited for him.  I found the US Marines to be rather cold.  On the other hand, many moons ago I was at the old American school up in the hills where I was invited to watch the Superbowl on AFN.  They were are a lot better out of uniform. On the other hand, the Superbowl was absolutely dull (call that a game?!).  The adverts on AFN were about the best bit - don't fall off a ladder, be careful reversing your car, know how to clean you teeth etc.

I swear the Marine when I went in was lovely, I almost thought he half way smiled at me! Just my imagination  perhaps...
I as a born American have honestly never watched a football game in my life, boring to me. In fact when they played the Superbowl on monitors where I worked in Vegas near the gaming tables, they put me close to the monitor because I was about the only gamers dealer who was not trying to catch a quick look at the game while at work.
My parents never watched football either, in fact my mom used tell us to shut the tv set off it that was the only thing on.
Most things in America are rather clinical but that way they also don't get personal and nasty like we often find happens over here.
Sales people in the states are just doing their jobs and never get into it with customers. That's what a good manager is for.Whenever anyone gave me grief when I worked customer service in the US I would just say that is not in my pay rate, let me get the boss!

Marilyn Tassy :

......
I as a born American have honestly never watched a football game in my life, boring to me. In fact when they played the Superbowl on monitors where I worked in Vegas near the gaming tables, they put me close to the monitor because I was about the only gamers dealer who was not trying to catch a quick look at the game while at work.
My parents never watched football either, in fact my mom used tell us to shut the tv set off it that was the only thing on.
.....

"Football" around here (Europe) of course is "soccer", the latter being almost entirely out of favour as the name of the game.   What I could not fathom is the weird breaks in the US "football" game for ads or something or other.  The pace is just defeated. Too slow and not enough skill in the game - all brawn and no brains.  I doubt it'll ever catch on to any great extent in Europe. 

Maybe getting off-topic....

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