Some weeks ago, I read in The New Times, a letter from a customer who complained about a pathetic customer service experience he/she had in one of the hotels in town.
Upon informing the public through the newspaper; we later on heard that after investigating this story, the management of the hotel took a very serious sanction against the staff involved.
My first reaction after reading this story was to appreciate this customer for publicly reporting this incident. There are so many things happening in service providing companies that are not known to the managers and owners.
By reporting poor customer service experiences, we are all taking responsibility in the national awareness campaign against poor service delivery.
I often think that as customers, we sometimes underestimate our role. We often sit down and suffer without complaining.
We accept mediocrity and even buy them as we continue to patronize these same poor service providers. Some of us even behave as beggars.
Today, many consumers do not know this quotation by Sam Walton that says that: “There is only one boss. The customer.
And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
As consumers, we need to know that we are important and should be treated as such. If we do not receive the good services we deserve and have paid for, we need to do something.
Thank God, we have choices nowadays on many products and services in town. We can either stop going to this service provider or complain to the business owner.
Keeping quiet and murmuring will unfortunately not solve poor service delivery in our societies.
In today’s economy, if we do not start complaining, nothing will change and service providers will keep on offering us what they want.
When we complain, it is not because we just want to disturb or criticize. It’s really because we have the business owner at heart. We want them to improve on the services so that we can continue patronizing their businesses Since the country has embarked on this campaign against poor service; many things are being done.
Many companies for the first time; have offered basic trainings on Customer Care. Some other people have had discussions with their team members on how best they can improve on their service.
But this campaign needs the involvement and of all of us; meaning the Customer, the Staff and the Managers.
We can recognize in the story above that if the customer had not taken time to write about this negative experience, the managers will not have been aware of some of the bad behaviors of the staff.
Managers are not always there 24h a day and even when they are there, they do not see exactly what we see as customers. It is for this reason that they need us to become their “eyes” or even the “police” of their services.
Becoming the “police of service providers” means taking time to write a letter to the manager, making suggestions, commenting on what they provide. In brief, being part and parcel of the service delivery.
Recently in South Africa, there was a hotline number that was given to the public to report the poor services they receive and within one hour after the launch, there were more than 7000 calls.
A friend told me that such a hotline already exists in Rwanda, but I do not know how effective it is.
I checked on the website of the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) whose mission is to regulate certain public utilities such as the telecommunications and electricity and I was amazed to see that apparently consumers can lodge complaints on certain service providers.
This is such a good idea that needs to be known to the general public.
I want to conclude here by suggesting that we all come together to create a forum whereby we will start writing to appreciate not only the good service providers but also to complain against those who are not following the trend of good customer care.
Let’s all get the habit of giving the names or those who offer both good and poor services.
Let our service people know that we are taking charge now and will be watching out. Let them know that we have become the “police” of their services.
If you want to be part of this movement, join us by sending your feedback and comments on the services you receive. We are privileged to have The New Times publishing our letters.
This will definitely emulate others and improve on the image of service in this country for the benefit of all of us.
The writer is a customer service consultant working in Rwanda