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Reisverslag Comparison between the Netherlands and France
18 november 2014
Comparison between the Netherlands and France
Freedom of paying
For example, the Lidl does not allow their customer to pay by card when they have a purchase of less than 5 Euros, which is completely opposite to the Netherlands, where customers are encouraged to pay by card. This is to prevent robberies etc. I think with this rule you are not giving your customer the freedom to decide how to pay for your purchase. When you do not have cash with you and want to buy a few small things this would not be possible, so you are forced to buy more to increase your total amount or leave your groceries in the supermarket and leave without the products you came for.
The Netherlands, being a small country is used to assist their customers in other languages than their own. It is most likely that you can be assisted in at least English in every shop or company. In France it is not that common to be assisted in another language than French, all the documents are mostly only available in French and also the person who is there to provide the customer with their service are not always able to help their customer in another language. In contrary to the Netherlands, France is less able to adapt to their customer needs, which is in this case understanding the process of the particular service or product. Hotels are a good example; in France the receptionist is mostly able to speak basic English. In the Netherlands it is not possible to work as a receptionist if you do not speak proper English, most likely you will not get the job with only one foreign language. As hotels are mainly aimed at tourists it is likely that your customers will not speak your own language, to satisfy the needs of your customer it is necessary to be able to talk with your customer in a language both parties can understand.
The people in the Netherlands are not afraid to show their opinion. If something does not taste good or does not fit or lacks quality they are not afraid to complain and expect compensation for it. The companies mostly appreciate this feedback, this shows the needs of the customer and provides them with information to add extra value to their products and service. In France it is not that normal to complain about services and products, companies are likely to take this in a negative way instead of turning it in something positive like in the Netherlands. It is more found to be rude and impolite to complain in France, which can affect their overall customer service. Aftersales are therefor more important in the Netherlands.
In a lot of restaurants in France the tip is included in the bill. In the Netherlands this is unusual; here it is the customer’s choice to give their waiter something extra or not. This included tip can result in lack of motivation for the employees. When a waiter has a fixed salary and that he will have a tip from every customer, it is less likely that this person will try extra hard to satisfy the customers. Next to this it forces the customer to give a tip, even if they are not satisfied.
The administration in France mostly involves a long process of filling in papers, standing in a queue and waiting period to get to your final result. For most of the documents or applications, you need to go in person to a particular building. Because a lot of these processes are handled in person, it is most likely you will have to stand in line to get assisted. Once it is your turn, you need to be prepared. For every application or document you would like to apply for, you mostly need several other documents to apply for it- so, a lot of paperwork. When you finish your paperwork it is normal to wait for a longer period, a few weeks time before everything is valorized.
The administration process in the Netherlands tries to be as efficient and quick as possible. A lot of applications, demands and documents can be applied for throughout the Internet. Mostly it is not necessary anymore to go to a building in person to organize your documents. On the other hand in most cases this is still possible, likely you will have to make an appointment with someone who will help you to organize what you want. For the more common processes, which happen more often, there are helping desks you can visit during office hours. You will get a number at the reception, you can take place in a waiting room and wait for your number to get up and be assisted. These waiting times are likely not longer than half an hour. For simple changes in your personal administration there is a system, everyone has a kind of personal code, which links all the important institutions and authorities to each other. For example if you would move, you only have to change this with this code and all the institutions which needs to know, are informed in once.
Trying to apply for the CAF in France is for me personally a very big process which I would consider as a common process, would happen in a regularly bases. I had to fill in a few pages long form and add several documents to it, like prove that I live in France and proof that I am a student in France. With these documents prepared and standing in line for a while, I could hand in my documents which than still need to be valorized. One month after my application I am still waiting.
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