Sandra Idossou

CUSTOMER CARE: Excerpts from the Customer Care handbook

This is to respond to many readers on my last week article on the Customer Care handbook that was launched by the Private Sector Federation and sponsored by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). Many wanted me to give them more insights about this interesting book. In response to the many questions I...

Sunday, August 16, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: My ‘Customer Care’ week at the Expo

This week has been quiet an interesting one. I spent very good time at the International Trade Fair at the expo ground at Gikondo. I could feel in the air the excitement of exhibitors. This excitement was not only due to the promotion of exhibitors’ products but also, I think to a large extent, to...

Sunday, August 9, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Lets learn to keep our promises

I had an appointment for 4 pm with a service provider and when I arrived there, he wasn’t there. Even though, I had called in the morning to reconfirm the appointment, this man just didn’t respect the appointment. He didn’t leave any message; didn’t call me to inform me of the change of the program...

Sunday, July 26, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Boosting sales through contact staffs

Last month, my mum arrived here and told me of her extremely first positive experience at the Kigali International Airport. She had wanted to buy some drinks at the duty free shop and when she entered the shop, the lady welcomed her with a big smile and availed herself to her. Even though mum could...

Sunday, July 19, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Courtesy implies good grooming standards

With last week article on Courtesy, I had another reader who was concerned about standards of good grooming. Though we have in the past done an article on First Impressions, there is according to him, a real need to emphasize on grooming standards as unfortunately, many still neglect them....

Monday, July 13, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Common courtesy in service

This is part of an email I received from Anita, a dear reader of The New Times. “Dear Sandra, please write about this issue we all face on courtesy. It just seems as if many service providers don’t know what it entails. I went to this company and as I was dealing with the staff, someone came in...

Monday, July 6, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: My customer service experience in Ruhengeri

Last week end, I was at the Kwita Izina ceremony at Kinigi and on our way back, we decided to have lunch in Ruhengeri. Because of the poor services one usually receives in many restaurants in Kigali, I was initially apprehensive about this idea. But believe me, I was blown away by the quality of...

Monday, June 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: The Power of Empathy

Lately, one of my mystery shoppers was given a complicated form to fill at one of the big service providing companies in town. This document was so difficult to comprehend even for a university professor and he almost gave up when suddenly; the service person came to his rescue. She asked with a...

Monday, June 22, 2009, 12:00 AM

OPINION: Can good customer service be achieved by public servants?

Some weeks ago, the Ministry of Local Government organised training for local authorities about good governance. I was asked by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) team to make a presentation on Customer Service. There was an interesting question on how best government and district authorities...

Monday, June 8, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Rolling out a ‘red carpet’ for your customers

For my ongoing painting exhibition, we had to use the services of Imprimerie de Kigali for photo covers. Even though paper covers is not the main business of this big company, we were impressed to see such professionalism. The staff was attentive to our request. They took time to understand our...

Monday, June 1, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Dealing with Customers’ Complaints

I’m presently organizing a painting exhibition and had to use the services of a printing company for the posters. At the reception of my order, I realized that the colors on the invitation cards were different from the posters. When I called the company, the only thing the service person was able...

Sunday, May 24, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Eight ways to improve your phone etiquette

This article is to respond to Ernest’s question on how to improve on our telephone etiquette. The telephone is often the first point of contact for most businesses yet many people seem to ignore its importance. It is a customer service tool that is necessary not only with existing clients but...

Monday, May 18, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Mindset and Attitude

There is an ongoing poll on The New Times website titled “What do you think is the solution to Rwanda’s poor Customer Service?” As I went through the results this morning, 30 percent of voters said the solution is training while 62 percent of readers advocated for an attitude and mindset change. I...

Sunday, May 10, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Are hospitals concerned?

Lately I have received quiet a number of feedback, comments, suggestions and questions on the Monday articles on Customer Service. I must confess that I’m happy many people enjoy reading them as it is a clear sign that together, if we all put in efforts,  we can in one way or the other...

Sunday, May 3, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Our role as consumers

In Rwanda’s vibrant economy today, there is competition almost in every sector and many business owners are putting in much effort to advertise their companies. There are lots of billboards, flyers, brochures, posters, radio advert all around town boasting and praising the benefits of products and...

Monday, April 27, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Dealing with our personal emotions

I traveled last time and met again Peace, this flight attendant who was as usual all smiles. It’s always a joy meeting her on board as she is always very friendly. She will have a pleasant word with most passengers especially during long hour flights. During one of our chats, she explained to me...

Monday, April 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

CUSTOMER CARE: Emulating Gandhi, as a Customer Service Guru

Today as a lot is being said about customer service in Rwanda and with the Indian investors in the country at the moment, I would like to share with you this quote that has been attributed to Mahatma Gandhi which I first read about 9 years ago. Because of this quote I have always been amazed how...

Sunday, March 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

OPINIONS: Customer care implies employee care

There is this particular bank that whenever I go to, I have the impression that the staff is enjoying being there. They look smart, happy and enthusiastic. I kept on wondering what could be the magic potion offered to these staff until I met the managing director and his management team. They all...

Sunday, March 22, 2009, 12:00 AM

My experience at the Gikongo Police Station

For the past two weeks now, I have been in a hurry to share my experience with you dear readers. And guess why? For the very first time in Rwanda, I have had to deal with the Rwandan police. It is not as if I had wanted to, but it just happened and I’m glad to write about it. After living in...

Saturday, March 21, 2009, 12:00 AM

OPINIONS: Customer Care: The 4x20 Rule in a first contact

Most of us have very often heard the statement, “you never have a second chance to make a first impression.” Whether you work in an established customer service company or in a small retail shop around the corner, it is essential for all service people to create a first positive impression with...

Sunday, March 15, 2009, 12:00 AM

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