At the moment, the customer care problem seems to be a smudge on the country’s image.As the country makes development strides in various sectors of the economy, the recent customer care statistics remain unchanged.
This stalemate is a surprise to me and others who are well informed of the warm Rwandan culture.
Going back to the roots, a visitor is welcomed and with ease dissolves in one of the seats he or she has been motioned to.
Growing up, the parental guidance on behavior took on a different face when a biblical aspect was added.
My parents told me that a stranger could be an angel. And if you turned your back on them or attended to them coldly or inadequately, it determined the nature of blessings you would get.
Looking around me, hotels, restaurants and other service providing places in Rwanda, I notice that the Rwandan way of treating visitors has been defied and is slowly dying out.
A recent survey revealed that there is a total change in the way Rwandans attend to their visitors. It clearly identifies unbecoming behavior.
Who would believe that millions of our visitors flowing into the country go dissatisfied not of food but because of our behavior towards them?
The statistics show that a third of the visitors complained of the kind of attention, a third complained about the pace of the services and a fifth complained about the rudeness.
The first shock is not the statistics of poor customer care but the fact that the visitors can get to an extent of speaking out about the nature of hospitality provided to them.
This defines the intensity of the situation.
Can’t we stop and ask why we have displaced our people- obligated culture with uncouth service-provision?
Customer care trainings may be deployed to try and avert this worrying situation that has kept mostly the tourism industry from its best performance in terms of foreign exchange earning but I think besides the trainings they should take a cultural-recovery strategy.
For the past 15 years Rwanda has been tirelessly taking strides in economic development in sectors like agriculture and technological advancement with the laying of the fiber optic which coincided with the laying of the sea cable.
The latter, spells a new information session for East Africa.
But does it mean that the customer care situation is going to be solved by this major transformation?
Alongside a cultural crisis, the customer care issue could be reflecting how badly the workers are being paid or their relationship with their employers.
The Rwandan culture has to be extended from a home-groomed practice to other places.
‘East or West home is best’ is an adage that is constructed by warmth of family members.
Rwandans should ashamedly know that the survey points out that their persistent improper behavior towards the nation’s visitors deprives the country an annual foreign exchange worth $40m profit.
Let Rwandans add the visitors to the family list by just giving them a warm welcome and they will keep coming.
I pray that we get back to our roots.