Tag Archives: Being polite

Customer service in German, the sixth meeting.

We both had quite busy schedules and some upcoming deadlines for other courses, so we decided to meet quickly at TAMK library in the afternoon on April 1st.

As the last time we had concentrated on Finnish, now it was time to concentrate on German. I study tourism and therefore wanted to learn the most important vocabulary and  sentences that I might need to use in a hotel reception or in a travel agency or airport information desk when encountering German customers. We made a list of these sentences for me to learn by heart.

For me this was the most important meeting so far. We covered so many different situations I might pump in to in my future career. My goal was to learn the most important expressions for customer service situations and now we had listed them all.

The biggest issue I found problematic was the difference between ‘Finnish politeness’ and German way of being polite. It is said that when Finnish people speak English, they sometimes sound rude as they are not used to using polite words as much as British do for example. I noticed that I have the same problem in German. The difference in formal language between these two languages is quite big. I really need to actually learn how to be polite. However, Amelie made me feel a bit better by saying that usually one can save the situation by smiling and that the customer will usually understand that I’m not native speaker. At least I try to speak their language, if that’s not polite I don’t know what is :D.