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Service desert Germany - still a justified designation?

  • Where does this designation come from?

  • Why Germany has this image

  • Germany and its customer service - Still a desert?

  • Conclusion

Where does the term come from?

In the course of 1990s there was a significant deterioration of the situation on the German labor market. The number of unemployed people increased and there was no service sector. In 1995, the management professor Hermann Simon then described Germany as a service desert. This means, that customer oriented services are lacking or are insufficiently developed. Germany as a region in which the service sector and attention to customers is thus weakly developed. Is that still true?

That's why Germany has this image

Every one of us has been stuck in a queue for ages. You just want to get an answer to your question and then it says, "please stay on the line for a moment," and then it starts, the beautiful melody that we all love. Many Germans increasingly have the feeling that their needs are hardly met, if at all. Hermann Simon explained this a few years ago with the following words:

"Given high labor costs, we can afford services less and less".

Germany and its Customer Service - still a desert?

How do we view service culture in an entrepreneurial context today? Germany is often still compared to the USA. Anyone who has ever been to the U.S. knows that the first thing we hear at a checkout is "Hi, how are you". Imagine that in Germany. Many would first be irritated or even overwhelmed by this question.

Thirty years have passed since the term service desert Germany was created. It is still ingrained in our minds, yet several studies show that this has changed fundamentally. Customer satisfaction in the service sector is increasing rapidly and companies are beginning to understand what they really want and, more importantly, why they want it.


But Germany has not yet fully developed. If you take a look at the service industry in countries like the US or China, Germany is still further down the list with the highest service share. One of the most common "service gaps" cited is the employment problem. Whether this is still the case is debatable. One should look much more at the way of working and the internal company concept to find out what still hacks it.

In addition, one should think carefully about what an optimal service culture in a company should look like. Should it just be super professional? What does it mean to provide the desired service on the one hand and at the same time always remain friendly? Isn't that superficial and short-sighted? Instead, rather put her focus on always being there with heart and soul. Think of it like a photo - do you have to smile because it's just the way it's supposed to be or do you want to smile because you're happy and satisfied. Remember, customers are quick to notice when something is fake.

Here are two tips that will show you the most ideal way to stand out from your competition in the long run:

Always stay reachable

In many countries it is common practice that 24/7 support that is always available for customers is part of the business. Especially in the field of e-commerce very crucial, because just one click can prevent the customer from buying their product if they do not get a timely response to their question.

Your appearance as a success factor

The packaging of a product, your company logo, your website, all these are factors that can entice the customer to buy. Let's take an example from the e-commerce sector again.

Tip: Package your products in such a way that the content is not directly accessible to the customer. You create an experience that the end consumer will always remember.

Unfortunately, there are still a few issues that are responsible for Germany still being a service desert. One of the most common is that many companies have far too little knowledge about their customers. They either do not work with the appropriate CRM systems or the communication between them and the customer already fails.

In addition, there is a lack of qualification of the employees within a company. A lack of training and education programs can quickly be the cause of poor service. It is not enough in most cases to simply have a good school degree if the necessary skills are not there.

Last but not least, the language. A service that is only available in German sounds plausible at first, because after all we live in Germany, right? Germans are known to speak a maximum of two languages, if at all. To increase your company's success, you should also dare to go "outside". By this we mean the international market. Due to globalization, the world is growing closer and closer together and the differences between "global" and "local" are becoming smaller and smaller. Therefore, you should integrate multilingualism into your business concept in order to be able to offer successful customer service.


Conclusion - From a service desert to a service society

Germany has been undergoing far-reaching structural changes for years. Services are in greater demand than ever before, especially in customer support. Over the past thirty years, the sector has undergone rapid change as a result of constantly evolving digitization.

In order to transform the remaining remnants of Germany's service desert into a high-potential service society, we at Prosupo know exactly how important it is to bond with each individual customer. With our planned approach, we look for factual solutions and thus overcome the "economic slump" and the service gap in Germany.

The advantage: thanks to our bilingual team, we also gain the best connection to the international competition.

Your opinion is important to us:

Do you think Germany is still a service desert?

  • Yes

  • No

  • I'm not sure

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