The efforts to improve customer care relations in Rwanda have seen a major boost from all corners, mainly from the President who is on record for urging Rwandans not to accept lousy services.
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and so many other stakeholders have been making efforts to spread the gospel of good customer relations for quite sometime now.
The media, especially The New Times has been awash with commentaries and opinions from experts and concerned contributors on how customer care can be improved.
All this is premised on the losses the economy has, for long, suffered due to poor customer relations. This is often in form of losing customers and precious time that is supposed to be used for meaningful business transactions.
Eventually there is a negative impact on the economy in general by discouraging prospective local and foreign investors.
The key message concerning the improvement of customer care relations has been and continues to be that businesses must always remember that, “The customer is king.”
This message of royalty sometimes revolves around the need for staff members to always smile while attending to customers. I have actually seen some of Kobil fuel stations in town promising a service with a smile.
The problem is that some people have been convinced that a smile is all that counts. Personally, I do not think any king would be happy just to have people around him smiling endlessly. I think he would be happier if his servants knew what he wanted, when he wants it and making an effort to make sure it gets to him in the shortest time possible.
Therefore, whoever is training entrepreneurs about customer care ought to stress the fact that there is much more to it than just a smile.
I believe the key message should be that business owners should always take time to be in the customers’ shoes and think about why the customer came to their establishment in the first place.
After knowing what brings them, they should then go ahead and address that need in the most convenient and time conscious manner. For example, it must be pretty clear that people go to a restaurant to get something to eat or precisely because of hunger. If this is understood by the staff, then time consciousness must kick in because every minute wasted adds to the hunger (and anger) of the customer.
In a bank, the clients are essentially there to make business transactions. In other words, the bank is not an end but a means to an end. Once bank managers are aware of this, they will be in a better position to train their staff to work more swiftly to save time. These clients came for financial reasons not to enjoy the comfort of the bank’s sofas.
All I am trying to say is that business owners and their staff should, at all times, be aware of the basic needs of their clients and make an effort to address them conveniently and appropriately. It does not help for a waiter to constantly smile at a hungry restaurant client.