Overall standards of customer service in Rwanda often vary from excellent to utterly poor. It is something all Rwandans often complain about but the pace of improvement is still a bit too slow for my liking.
Often, there are simple factors that affect the level of the standard of service delivery and it is a two-way process that needs cooperation between the service provider and the client.
There are certain principle factors that affect customer service. First of all is the social make-up of the society. Whether the society is stratified or more egalitarian affects the expectations and delivery of service.
For example, the steep inequality between the wealthy and poor can often lead to disrespectful client behaviour and a despondent response by the server. If you want to have good service, be respectful.
Competitiveness is required to drive up standards as more competition means better service. However a high standard to be established first, which is always awarded with more clientele (hence, money).
When a monetary advantage is gained by one maverick, then all its competitors copy its customer care methods. But it’s impossible to be able to learn about providing customer service unless there is proper training.
This is one facet of customer service that Rwanda is clearly lagging and we need to raise our standards. People in the service sector need to be paid better so it can be seen as a viable employment choice and not just something you do because you do not have a choice.
Tipping would be a good way to introduce performance related bonuses to the service sector. If you feel that you have been treated well then you add a little bonus to the bill, this would make it essential for workers to treat you well.
There isn’t a culture of tipping so it would be hard to force people to do so but it will come soon. Maybe adding a service charge would be a good start in this regard.
Promotion and career development is extremely important. Waiters need to see the prospects of career development in the service industry, training should be provided to help people achieve personal development.
The onus is on the client, for it is the client who sets the standards, it is by the choices we make that we will improve the situation.
First we must articulate what we need, and make our choices accordingly, do not accept bad service but be polite and persistent