Moses owned the shop. The way Moses treats his customers is unique. His customer view reflects his view and the Turkish view. The importance of customer service in a Turkish market is huge. This customer-first policy was important because it set the tone for the store. Moses had a specific plan for how to treat his customers. His view was that our goal was to make each person’s day just a little bit happier, a little bit brighter. Businesses that most of us are used to have customer service departments which often utilise software to handle queries and many have help desks. In this context, see the help desk definition by Salesforce.
Moses’ Lessons on Customer Service in a Turkish Market
Hopefully, when the customers think back on Istanbul and the store, the thought makes them smile. This is what Moses wants. He wants happy customers. Customer service to Moses meant treating people like family.
Two daughters and their mom, with Moses in the background
We treated people like family by having friendly chit-chats, and if they had time, we offered them tea. We offered tea to show Turkish hospitality. Most people who had tea with us didn’t buy anything from us.
If we hit it off, we took photos together. Moses wanted to sell his products, but we also wanted to make happy customers. Customer service to Moses meant making the customer feel at home and comfortable, being hospitable and most importantly, showing kindness to everyone.
We would see people from all over the world. We tried to guess where they were from. I looked for people who were from places I hope to visit someday.
Without customers, I felt like this lazy, sleepy cat
When customers were around, the day went by quickly. It was lively, social and full of laughter. The customers could make my day. It’s good for customers to know that they make the shop people happy.
No matter how hard they bargain, we still appreciated the customers. Without them, we would be bored and probably eat a lot.
Here are some of the shop’s guests
Customer service in a Turkish Market the little girl from Iran.
Pretty college students from Iran
A little girl from Dubai
A man from Kuwait and his daughter
A family from Qatar
This dad asked me to take this family’s picture because he loved America. I love the expression on the two little boy’s faces. Twins.
Kids loved to play with the tiles in the street
When the bazaar was empty and without customers, we found ourselves waiting for something to happen. Moses would sometimes take a nap. Zeki would play on his cell phone. I folded scarves.
After the conflict, Moses decided it would be best for each of us to sell to customers individually. We began this method, selling without much support from each other. Business was only so-so. We didn’t have any conflicts, but we weren’t selling much. Things tic- tocked on. We provided the best customer service but business wasn’t doing very well. Zeki had his routine.
Zeki’s routine was to pray five times a day. Moses went to pray with the men from the bazaar. I watched and observed. Zeki tried to go to his studies several times each week. He was frustrated when he didn’t get to go, because it was his support system. Monkey showed up regularly now which was also his support system. Zeki was always happy to see his Monkey. It dawned on me that Zeki needed his own family and without a family of his own, his studies, and the men at the mosque were his support and family.
Our customers were less then previous years because tourism was down in Istanbul because of tourist fears about the refugee crisis and tourisms fear of attracts on tourists. Without customers, it was usually nap time for Moses and smoke time for Zeki. During August and September, the cruise lines canceled tours to Istanbul because they feared that the refugee crisis was there. Actually, there wasn’t any Turkish drama, attacks, or threats. There was no refugee crisis on the streets of Istanbul. It was all made up by the news and TV reports.
Tourists in Istanbul
By not bringing tourists to Istanbul, the cruise ships were actually causing a crisis. The lack of tourists hurt the shop owners and stole a great experience from the people who wanted to visit. Though the cruise ships feared instability, if you take away a person’s livelihood, you will be creating instability. If people can’t pay their bills and feed their families, there will then be something to be afraid of.
What I miss about the Istanbul the most is the social excitement of every day. The bazaar gives you the opportunity for social interaction at the highest level. I don’t miss the hard work, but I do miss the people playing around.
You can be with people and be very alone, or you can be with people and be completely connected, even when you don’t know them and will never see them again.
Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, and from City University, Seattle, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour foods.