I read the article about customer care by Kim Kamasa in the New Times of Thursday, 13th august 2009 with consternation. True, Rwandans are a homely lot, though I would not know much about their treatment of guests in their homes.
After being here for close to a year now and having amassed a significant number of Rwandan friends, only one has ever invited me to their home.
There is no denying the fact that Rwanda has a serious gap in customer care.
Service providers and their employees don’t have a clue on what they are about in this area. And it’s across the board, banking services, government offices, customs, restaurants and private firms.
Culture can teach you good skills and norms on how to treat visitors and customers. That is if good culture exists.
Equally, poor cultural norms will elicit poor customer service skills. So Mr. Kamasa needs to acknowledge that lack of skills, little desire for competitive attitude to woo customers, a “I don’t-care” attitude and poor work ethics are what is contributing to this crisis.
A case in point is an incident in the bank BCR, where I took a friend to inquire on whether he was eligible for a loan from the bank.
We took up the matter with a manager at the level of the ‘in charge’ of the department who promised to ring my friend the following day with an answer.
Two days later, he still had not called, which was surprising considering that the loan inquiry was for over Rfrw 12 Million.
A short visit later on the third day, the well dressed manager had the temerity to inform us that the reason he had not called is because he was yet to see a loan application form.
Is he not the one who promised to call? And if he didn’t see the application, shouldn’t he have inquired from my friend, his customer about the form then?
One can’t help wondering what will happen to business in Rwanda when the rest of East Africa comes calling. With their honed skills in customer care, it won’t be a surprise if many an existing business concerns here shut down at the.
And what shall Rwandan’s do then? Circle the wagons and prepare for war?
Too much time is being spent on symposiums to design one policy or another. Anymore of that will be seen to be verging on idleness. It is now time to roll up our sleeves and dive into the trenches.
That’s what the private sector is all about. Doing the stuff that government is not wired to do very well.
And it is the private sector that will do the trick about customer care here and not another group of blue suited government folks under the brinkmanship a foreigner from someplace in Europe extolling them to do what they already know what to do.