Turkish flag on a rock

Excellence in customer service is one thing that Turkey can be proud of. As a direct result of years of high unemployment businesses and individuals are finding ways to ‘add value’ and earn a few Lira. There are many positiv arguments for employing people in ’low paid’ jobs that improve everyones living.

It’s been 2 years since I was living in Istanbul. I’ve returned for a week and was looking out for signs of the impact of the ‘credit crunch’. Some things haven’t changed and going the extra mile to give good service is still very evident. Here are a couple of examples we can all learn from:

1. Car Park Minders - not meters and wardens.
It’s very normal in Istanbul to find Car Park Minders - This is a legitimate business. You drive up, park where you’re told, pay them and when you come back your car is there. Smiles for good service

In the western world - what happens - you park, you try to pay but the meter is broken, you come back to find your car broken into or worse ticketed, clamped or taken away by a zealous tow-truck drive.

On the negative side - we pay meter people to fix and mend the machines, we pay parking wardens to issue tickets and they probably all get at least minimum wage. I’d assume the people in Istanbul get paid less than minimum wage but probably get tips for service above the fees.

Guess what service I like more? Car insurance companies should fund this, we could all benefit from knowing the car is being watched and could reduce premiums.

2. Petrol Stations - full service forecourts
A friend of mine tells a tale of an adventure in America. He had to fill up the oil. Driving into the service station, no one was there to help him. The guy has never changed a tyre, checked oil or possibly even used a petrol pump. He goes into the store and asks for service - of course the response was no way.

So in Istanbul, you drive in to the station and a Boss person comes up and asks what you want then 2 or 3 others come do the service. This makes you feel like a pit stop at the F1 - you hand over the cash and then drive off without dirty hands.

what’s your experience of business in Turkey?

Tags: Turkey

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Damien Saunders
An experienced management consultant and business leader interested in digital transformation, product centred design and scaled agile. If I'm not writing about living with UCTD (an autoimmune disease), I'm probably listening to music, reading a book or learning more about wine.
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