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Customer care in Mexico

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 Mexico and try to understand how things work in the country.

How would you describe your customer service experiences in Mexico?

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

Are after-sales services available in Mexico?

Thanks for sharing your experience,

Priscilla

In general, it parallels the USA.
National chains tend to have liberal return policies.
Some stores are more willing and able to offer suggestions and recommendations than other and some will saying anything to make a sale.
In person and Internet or phone tech support and customer service run the gamut from stalling, stonewalling or just tiring you out with endless, useless instructions to super sharp.

One company stands out as the absolutely bottom of the barrel.  Megacable.  In two different cities hundreds of miles apart, it has been impossible to get a resolution to problems even if you manage to get a technician to come out.  My cable box has been reinitializing several times a day cutting off programs in the middle for about a minute.

My motto in understanding "customer service" in Mexico is "it all about the company, never the customer"
It all about store/government policy not about what will help the make or keep a customer.
Mexico invented the expression
"Buyer be ware"
This is not quite true for Costco or Walmart BUT you ALWAYS need the paperwork !!!
Oh and don't even think about cable companies and service in the same sentence.

Totally agree.

There are customer service departments, providing various levels of service from outstanding to deplorable, but other employees seem not to be trained in customer service at all. For example, in the US, if I ask a supermarket employee where I can find something, they usually know, and if they don't know, they find out. Some will even take me there.  Here, if they don't know (which is often if it's not in their department) they either tell you  that they don't know, making no further effort, or worse, they send you to the wrong place. We suspect that this is because they're not trained for customer service, and don't get paid enough to do anything extra.

For all it's faults, Telmex gave me the best service in Zacatecas.  If I had a problem with Internet, they were out within 24 hours.  Megacable could take days and several calls. 

I changed to Dish on Telmex bill and if I needed service, they came same day or the next depending on how late I called.

Telcel, meant taking a number and waiting for up to an hour and a half in a long line.  But once you got to see a CSR, the problem got resolved is a typical Mexican multistep, multiagent bureaucratic manner.

A couple of months after I switched to Movistar, I had a couple of doubts how the Unlimited Prepaid worked.  I went down to Coppel where I bought the phone and talked to the Movistar salesman who patiently walked me through the details.  I have one more doubt that I'll ask about in a few days.  If I'm using Facebook, even if I launch it before turning on Mobile Data, I'm charged from 10 to 50 centavos against my prepaid balance.  I do understand if I access sites other than the 3 included in 1GB in the plan, I get charged 85 centavos per MB.  Usually, I'm someplace where good wifi is available so running out of MB's or running up a high cost for data hasn't been a problem.

Calm, patience, formal courtesy helps a lot.  If you show any emotion, things go downhill fast.  If you ever start referring to you instead of the problem or the company, you're lost.

The most valuable thing I can take when I go to buy goods and services in Mexico—more valuable than the pesos in my wallet—is my Spanish. Not only is it appreciated when I try to express myself in their language, but a lot of misunderstandings are avoided. In some stores, when servers see a norteamericana customer they avoid eye contact and make themselves scarce because they don't feel they can communicate adequately, until I tell them what I'm looking for in Spanish.

Agreed.

blissinger wrote:

The most valuable thing I can take when I go to buy goods and services in Mexico—more valuable than the pesos in my wallet—is my Spanish. Not only is it appreciated when I try to express myself in their language, but a lot of misunderstandings are avoided. In some stores, when servers see a norteamericana customer they avoid eye contact and make themselves scarce because they don't feel they can communicate adequately, until I tell them what I'm looking for in Spanish.

My ex never really learned Spanish but a smile and a few halting words in Spanish got her the best service anyone was going to get.

Exactly. It's only right to try, with respect and a smile, to make ourselves understood instead of expecting them to be fluent in English.

For the most part,I have not had problems with actual service. People spend a lot of time trying to help. The cable guy was here for about an hour making sure things worked. I never got that sort of help from comcast in the U.S.

The problem I have had has been the time involved in parts. They don't have them unless they know they are going to need them. When I wanted touch up paint for my car the dealer didn't have it. So it took talking to neighbors and friends to find out where to go. That turned out to be Dupont paint. which took a cap off of the car and matched the color. Not as convenient as the U.S. but it matches and I do have it. You just have to adjust to waiting a week or 10 days to get things. They stock little.

The only really bad service I have had was from a Mexican insurance company that insures american cars  in Mexico. The company they insisted I use didn't know what to do with the car electronics, but wouldn't admit that. So the car was never fixed safely or right. I sold that car at a loss in the U.S. and now drive a Mexican plated Mazda.

What I have seen is that the quality of service seems to be very dependent upon the level of empathy my approach fosters. As gudgrief said, getting emotional will almost certainly be counterproductive. Courtesy and a polite approach, even when escalating to a supervisor, is always going to get more cooperation than belligerence... which is the case in nearly any country.
It seems that individual employees are allowed a little more flexibility in resolving issues than what is commonly seen in the U.S., at least in large companies. Their policies often seem to be seen more as guidelines than as strict rules.
Telnor, Cablemas, CFE and the like tend to be more rigid, but even there, honey wins over vinegar every time.

Oh yes, a smile and thank you works wonders almost everywhere. Add to that patience, lot's of patience. This is not the U.S., they don't have everything you are used to, so adjust and be pleasant about it. Demanding service never works well. Often it doesn't work at all.

I learned two things early on that I may not have posted before.

Regarding doctors and dentists.  Get a recommendation from someone you can trust, even the owner of a restaurant you frequent.  If you don't like the result the first time,  Ask someone else.

Regarding small businesses competing with large, you may find the smaller chain or local business has better prices and service.

I have a prescription that costs 785MXN a month.  The largest chain in town Farmacias Guadalajara can get it but won't at one store or can get it but it takes 2 or 3 days.  The smaller regional chain with 10 or 12 stores will get it same or next day and after 3 months orders it for me so I don't have to leave a cash deposit and can pay with credit card.

Chain stores tend to avoid warranty service and repairs of goods sold. Employees often have no clue about the products sold in the store.
Telmex, Telcel, CFE and the like may need to be kicked by PROFECO a government run customer protection service where clients can complain about bad or non-existing service. I got several free monthly services as compensation when Telmex did not respond to needs within the allowed time of 3 days. I would try it with any chain-operated company, not with small business run by owner.

Profeco - gob.mx/profeco

fdinolfo wrote:

There are customer service departments, providing various levels of service from outstanding to deplorable, but other employees seem not to be trained in customer service at all. For example, in the US, if I ask a supermarket employee where I can find something, they usually know, and if they don't know, they find out. Some will even take me there.  Here, if they don't know (which is often if it's not in their department) they either tell you  that they don't know, making no further effort, or worse, they send you to the wrong place. We suspect that this is because they're not trained for customer service, and don't get paid enough to do anything extra.

I have had just the opposite experience in Walmart, Soriana, Comercial Mexicana, Chedraui, Sam's and Costco.  More often than not they escort me to the shelf.  If they don't know, they find someone who does.

I bought a Samsung monitor in Sam's a few years ago.  The local authorized warranty service shop diddled for a month "waiting for parts" and finally Samsung decided to replace it with a new one which took another month to get to me.

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