The number of times you may have read or heard about how lousy the customer care services in this country can be should have reached shameful levels by now. What is not shameful is that the problem has been identified and acknowledged and something is being done about it.
All the important people like our leaders with the president as the most notable have all talked about this issue and why it needs to be addressed urgently. Rwanda Development Board has also spearheaded efforts to train people engaged in the hospitality industry on matters concerning proper customer care.
Considering how important the hospitality industry and by extension the tourism sector is to Rwanda, calls for better services ought to persist. That way, the players involved can strive to offer better services and while at it, avoid complacency.
The other day, I observed something that changed the way I viewed the industry. I went to a certain bar and restaurant in the city centre. The way the manager of the facility conducted himself caught my attention.
At this facility, whose name I will not mention, the manager, known as Lawrence, takes the time to welcome those he can see walking into the premises and although he struggles with his English, the length at which he goes to find you a seat quickly warms your heart.
This gentleman will easily carry chairs to arrange a table for anyone who walks into this place and will humbly ask you what you want without waiting for his junior staff to show up.
After taking your order and making sure it is being worked on, he will not hesitate to engage you in some light chit-chat to make you feel more welcome.
The humility with which this manager carried himself around me is a key lesson for those involved in the hospitality industry. Elsewhere, the manager would be lazily seated in their swivel chairs only get up to order people around and to shout at poorly paid young waiters and waitresses.
Lawrence could have chosen to order his subordinates to carry chairs and take all the orders but he chooses not to. He keeps walking around to ensure that all is well and if he happens to find you finally leaving, he does not hesitate to ask you whether you had a great time and to beckon you to come back some other time.
This gentleman may not be the best out there but his humility is worth emulating. Those involved in the hospitality industry ought to know that customer comfort is paramount and need not be delegated to anyone else.
If a customer needs a chair, then as a manager, one should quickly find one instead of attempting to seek for a junior staff member to do it.
This is because, if this customer was to feel dissatisfied with the services and just left, then everyone one is a loser including the boisterous manager or boss.
The age old adage of the customer being king (or queen) ought to be adhered to by staff at all levels at any hospitality establishment. Everyone ought to play their part without hesitation.