Bank tellers in Jinan are going to find themselves biting their tongues a lot these days. The city’s bank has banned 90 “uncivilized sentences” and phrases in an attempt to provide “service with a smile.”
The forbidden responses include, “I don’t know,” “That’s not my responsibility,” “What’s the rush?” “Can’t you see I’m busy?” “Wait over there,” “If you don’t like it, talk to the management,” and “Go complain if you want to complain.”
The measures went into effect in August at one bank branch in Jinan, in coastal Shandong province. The city’s Industrial and Commercial Bank later decided to adopt the measures for all of its 13 branches.
Service in China is notoriously bad, and the idea of the customer being king is an alien concept.
Store clerks are too busy chatting with colleagues or reading newspapers to be bothered with helping customers. People who make phone inquiries routinely are hung up on.
Bank procedures can be complicated and confusing, requiring multiple steps for something as simple as making a deposit or withdrawal. Tellers frequently refuse to look up when customers try to get help.
Part of the problem stems from China’s Communist system, which considers service to others demeaning. That attitude has started to change in recent years, particularly in enterprises that deal with foreigners.