Customer care in Italy

Hello everyone,

The way customer services are handled can greatly affect your views on certain brands, products, companies or stores. As a consumer, it is important to get familiar with local practices regarding client assistance in Italy and try to understand how things work in the country.

How would you describe your customer service experiences in Italy?

Do you feel welcome when you enter a store? Do you get useful tips and advice?

Are after-sales services available in Italy?

Thanks for sharing your experience,


My customer experiences have always been fairly good. I'm a "take charge" kind of person, so that means that I must make my experiences good, not the other way around. There's a lot to say about the matter, but let me give a few examples...

It's my responsibility to know the language well enough that I can order what I need or want; I would expect the same of someone visiting my country. Having said that, I know the competition is keen for valued customers, so shop owners, stores, banks, et al are usually very nice to me.

I've had a few bad experiences, mostly in Tabacchi stores, and mostly because I was in a hurry. I sometimes have to tell myself that Italy is not America and, as such, people and corporations who are in business may not have the same values or mindsets that I have. Bottom line is that I will adapt to the country, not the other way around.

Americans, for example, who are only in Italy for a week or two would expect that they should be treated as well as if they were on a trip to say, New York City or Las Vegas. The difference between Italian businesses and American businesses - and this is a "broad brush" type of reference - is that American businesses are in business to separate you from your money. Although some really touristy areas in Italy can be this way, by and large, that is not the case.

I've been in Northern Italy for seven years working in sales and after-sales service.  While I mostly deal with foreign clients, I work closely with the Italian department as well helping them out with their after-sales calls and problems.
That said, I would say that we treat them pretty fairly. We will do our best to help an impatient and nagging client even if it doesn't seem like a priority to us. However, there is a limit and after they go over that limit, we say, "che si arrangia" = "let them deal with it".  While I was working in sales in Canada, I was taught that "the customer is always right." This belief, does not exist in Italy.
From a customer's point of view, I can say that I have been treated very well by most retailers and have been treated like garbage by a handful. The worst place for customer service are public offices and especially, the post office. Read about Italian post offices here on my blog: … st-office/

I have only been in Northern for a couple of months so it's too early to tell. In Central Italy my experiences varied. I have encountered both excellent and unacceptable treatment just about everywhere in the world I have been, including  Italian post offices and dealing with Wind customer service.  The first two things I'd suggest are to always start by being polite and courteous even though you are the customer and expect transactions and services to take much longer in Italy than back home. Sometimes you may wait in line while the shopkeeper chats for five minutes with a regular customer.  If a shopkeeper tries to speak English to me I usually try to oblige no matter how little they seem to understand; speak slowly and give them a bit of practice and they'll appreciate your time ad welk as you'll appreciate the efgorts of Italians in general to learn English (and help keep demand up for English-speaking professionals).

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