IN THE last 20 years, Rwanda rose from a country that was at the brink of a failed state to one which is leading by example in many aspects on the African continent. The ‘Kagamecare’ or simply put a universal health care scheme for civil servants and ordinary citizens, the cleanliness of Kigali city, and almost a zero crime rate are a few examples.
However, one area where the country has lagged behind is service delivery. Resent research by Global competitiveness index 2013 on service delivery ranked Rwanda at position 103 out of 148 countries. This is disappointing for a country that is ranked in many things among the top performers both in Africa and the rest of the world.
I caught up with the Minister for Local Government, James Musoni recently, who told me that, “Rwanda very soon is going to fix the problem of customer care because it has been given due attention right from the Cabinet to local authorities in districts”.
The ministry of Local Government in partnership with Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) have initiated countrywide service delivery campaigns aimed at sensitising employees in both public and private institutions to have mindset change so as to provide good services to the public and customers in business.The campaign will also involve inspection of service delivery activities in different aspects which will enable to assess the level customer satisfaction with service provision.
Rwanda is one of the countries in the world where registering a business takes a matter of hours. This speed at which businesses can be registered should be matched with service delivery.
“The Government of Rwanda has opted for improved service delivery as one of the drivers of economic growth towards the achievement of the country’s vision 2020 and EDPR2”, says Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the CEO Rwanda Governance Board. He further says that, improved service delivery will not only improve the economy and profitability, but will also attract more investors.
This assertion is corroborated by The Institute of Policy Analysis research 2012, which said that if Rwanda managed to put its house in order in terms of service delivery, this can bring in 40 million US dollars into the country’s economy. Rwanda is known to have government retreats for top government officials to discuss policy issues.
In a similar way, it would pay dividends if each organisation, private or public, set aside a budget for training their staff on how to improve customer care. Good customer care should be the Mission rather than a vision for all employees.
I have stopped calling one of my friends who lives in Denmark during working hours, the reason being that whenever we talk, she is whispering and tells me she is hiding because it is not allowed to talk on a private mobile phone during working hours.
It is not surprising when you visit public places like banks, offices or hospitals, and a person who is supposed to attend to you is discussing a wedding they attended over the weekend. This culture should change.
Research conducted by White House office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC, indicates that happy customers who get their issue resolved tell four to six people about their experience, while dissatisfied customers tell between nine and 15 people, and about 13 per cent of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.
This means that the unsatisfied customers will tell more people which will create a negative image leading to loss of customers in most cases. For public institutions that have poor service delivery this usually counts on time wastage for the customers and loss of revenue for those who close their businesses to go and seek public services.
There are two public institutions so far which, according to the citizens, have achieved the pass mark in service delivery, and these are the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration, and the National Identity Card Project.
If these two have made it, then there is no reason why others cannot do the same.I am yet to hear one from the private sector.