Customer Service in Israel (And My Blacklist and Whitelist)
I’ve pointed out before that customer service in Israel frequently leaves a lot to be desired.
This is not — as we would say in Israel — “a secret of the Shin Bet” (“זה לא סוד של השב”כ” — an idiom occasionally used to mean “this isn’t a national secret.”)
If you want to learn more about the subject check out this TOI blog and this Quora thread.
But if you live in Israel — or are thinking about doing so — the statement that customer service in Israel is often substandard is probably about as controversial to you as asserting that Israelis like falafel and hummus. Ie, not very.
If one were asked to point to one overarching problem with customer service in Israel I would say it is the faulty belief, held by too many companies here, that “the customer exists in order to give me money.”
This belief manifests itself as extremely poor after-sales support; a marked reluctance to honor support warranties (Israeli consumer law places the responsibility on remedying defects within the warranty period on the official importer rather than the reseller — official importers are rarely in the habit of making it easy to fix a defective toaster oven); and a reluctance to honor commitments once money has been exchanged.
Other common problems are an attitude one: “the customer is always right,” is not an attitude which many Israeli companies — who are fond of arguing — are on board with. Its local equivalent is often “ the customer clearly doesn’t know what he wants so I need to argue with him in order to convince him of that to help him find the right product.” (Sometimes helpful; other times grating). Another common attitude, particularly among teenager retail clerks, is: “texting on my phone is more important than serving the customer right in front of me.”
To provide some salient examples:
A friend is currently engaged in two separate pitched battles — one to obtain a blender which an appliance store promised him as an enticement, in writing, when he bought an expensive oven there over 6 weeks ago; another is with an another electronics retailer from whom this friend bought a laser printer three weeks ago.
This friend has had to visit the retailer, in person, on three occasions (and is yet to receive so much as a perfunctory apology). After enquiring why the printer had not arrived the salesperson said — again without once apologizing — “oh, it’s not even in the country yet!” You get the picture.
Despite all the foregoing, I would maintain that customer service in Israel — overall — isn’t that bad. At least not all of it.
It’s simply that the standard deviation, like many things in Israel, is higher — and one encounters quite a shocking number of outstandingly poor customer service experiences while living here.
I put together this list of some great and bad companies because I know that there are companies and institutions that are doing a really good job at doing things properly.
Because defamation law, in Israel, is not favorable for those expressing opinions, I cannot state any details about those companies on my blacklist or assert why I have added them to this section of the post.
So all I will say — collectively — is that in my opinion my experience with these companies has not been positive and I encourage readers to delve further before. But the experience is none other than my own and your mileage may vary.
Want to find out more?
(Because I’ve lived in Jerusalem for a few years this list will be Jerusalem-centric).
Ivory: Ivory maintains almost an identical inventory to KSP and often at almost identical prices — although Ivory usually costs more if there is a price difference. However, in my experience, the difference is worth it and their customer support is superior.
Maccabi Health Services: Every citizen of Israel needs to be registered with one of the country’s national health funds ( kupo holim). I’ve been with Maccabi for four years and can’t say enough good things about them. With one or two very trivial exceptions, I have found little to complain about — at least nothing egregiously bad or that which isn’t a problem with the system in general (for the latter: getting blood tests in Israel needs to be done at a separate appointment and, for some reason, the operating hours seem to always be a two hour slot in the morning).
KSP: I’ve bought a lot of technology equipment from KSP. But, in the few times that products have broken down or not worked out of the box, they have either made getting a refund inordinately difficult or fobbed me off to the official importer.
Doar Yisrael: I could write an entire post about how much Israel’s national postal service leaves to be desired. Suffice to say that, in general, and in my opinion, what you may have read about them in the media isn’t exaggerated.
International franchises (some of them): A rookie mistake, in Israel, is to assume that local franchises of international brands will hold themselves to the standards of the parent company. The customer experience one experiences in Israel can be markedly different from that which you might get from the same company in the US or the UK.
Machsanei Chasmal — my experience with this company has not been positive.
Originally published at https://www.danielrosehill.co.il