In an article on this page yesterday, someone decried what he termed as the Rwandan queue! He said it is common in banking halls, at Rwanda Revenue Authority customer service centres, utility organisations and telecommunication companies.
The queue was described as one which looks like a straight line and served by a teller or attendant at its head, on a first-in first-out basis. However, there are people who come in and somehow are able to access service immediately, bypassing others whom they find in the queue.
The other issue raised is the privacy denied a client when being attended to because of the next person in the queue being very close. When you are being told by a teller that your account has zero balance or when she scribbles on your cheque to indicate that the amount on the leaf is above the balance, there is a person easily eavesdropping or peeping, or so you feel.
Mentioned also are the mobile phone calls answered by staff even as they attend to you. Fairness here demands that we appreciate some urgent calls cannot wait for say a teller’s tea or lunch break or working shift to come to its end. And so it may be all right to answer them, but as quickly as possible.
It would also make a big difference if the attendant apologised to the client for having briefly diverted attention as they answered the call. Here brief and apology are the catch words.
Better still, if asking for permission to answer the call (after all you are 100 percent sure the client will be more than willing to grant it) is not yet fashionable, eye contact and a smile as you put down the cell phone, would make good accompaniment of the apology.
For the clients who are "more equal than others" and are happy to show this by jumping the queue, it should not be for the teller to repulse them. The teller and attendant were never meant to wear hard faces. They are public relations officers who should only portray the friendly image of an organisation.
The men in uniform – security guards – are the suitable lot to enforce order on the lines, in the service halls. They should also be added the task of identifying and guiding those who deserve special treatment. The disabled, VIPs, plane catchers, weak, all these would get help from the guards, and the organisation would reap mileage by appearing to be sensitive and flexible.
When shall we witness good customer care from Rwandan service providers? The answer depends on the clients’ persistent demand for the kind of service they pay for, of course, and on the media – where lack of pin point criticism often allows companies to behave like true monopolists. But most of all, it depends on the companies to up their acts.Ends