Down in Nyabugogo, it is coming to 9:00 pm. I am looking for a decent place to have supper with a friend. I finally find one – City Valley Motel. The entrance appears affluent- the walls are adorned with colorful drawings of wild animals. Adjacent is a bar. The atmosphere is quiet and cold with only a couple dining.
Despite the loud conversation between my friend and I, the waiters who are easily identified by uniform shirts don’t notice us. They are buried in conversation. Others are struggling to stay awake.
We choose a table and sit for almost three minutes unnoticed.
Irritated, I make my way to those conversing, ignoring those curled up in sleep.
On a different occasion in Kicukiro, Niboye, as I head home, it is 7p.m Friday night. I decide to enter a barbershop for a haircut.
“I am closing,” the barber confronts me. I then tell him that it is still early but he ignores. He grudgingly accepts to give me a shave. But the next customer had to do some extra pleading. He laboured to explain how he had a long journey very early the next day.
Despite agreeing, the barber castigated the customer on coming late and how he had other things to do besides shaving hair.
The two incidences depict the enormous customer care problem that those involved in the customer care campaign are up against. But the 10 person steering team, chosen for the customer care campaign explained that the process is ongoing with urgency.
Yvette Mukarwema, Director of Member Services and Communication with the Private Sector Federation (PSF) is part of the customer care team. “At the moment we are doing a short term solution,” she said.
She explained that the three-months campaign which started in May and will end in July will prepare the ground for the long term customer care campaign that is still under drafting by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and will run for two years.
“What we have done so far is engage 54 associations and 27 leaders in each district.” However, she declined to give a report on the current situation of the customer care campaign and explained that it was still in its early stages.
Earlier, the urgency of the customer care situation was sparked by an alarming survey carried out in 2007 by On the Frontier Survey [OTF] a competitiveness consulting firm.
The survey unearthed that rudeness, slowness, and inattentiveness were the major milestones tainting the customer care industry in the country.
This was immediately followed by the unveiling of the customer care team to steer the campaign against the alarming situation.
The team includes officials from the PSF, the government and RDB.
The three month pre-campaign will include road shows and training of exhibitors at the 12th Rwanda International Trade Fair, and will be among the events meant to inform the public that customer care was essential.
She further explained that the customer care campaign is going to be done uniformly on the various sectors of the economy.
“When a tourist comes, he uses the transport sector, hotel and other sectors like the bank. So we have to do all round customer care preparation.”