A lot has been said about customer care but more still needs to be said. The effort to improve the quality of customer care in Rwanda should be continuous and concerted if the country is to attain its target of becoming a service centred economy.
Such an economy is hinged on good customer service relations. Some countries have economies that depend on natural resources. Rwanda is not one of them and if service delivery is to be our forte then we have no option but to up our game when it comes to service delivery.
For that reason, I will not tire tackling the issue of customer relation or customer care. Since the campaign to improve customer services in the country were launched almost two years ago, several companies and institutions have done their bit in addressing this issue.
Several organisations have seen their staff attending seminars and trainings on better customer care relations. Many companies and organisations now have fully functioning customer care departments.
The bigger ones like MTN and Tigo have even got 24 hour call centres to address customer complaints. This is a step in the right direction but it is not the last and should not be the last step.
Companies should not just stop at having a customer care department with a chief swirling in a chair behind a classy laptop.
The focus should be on engendering a customer-oriented attitude for all the staff not just those in the department.
The concept of customer relations must be decentralised and inculcated in all the staff members of any given organisation.
The reason is because every single individual working for the organisation is a representative of that organisation and may at one point be in contact with customers.
So he/she had better know how to behave or handle customers. Customer care should be looked at as being well mannered. In a family it is pointless for daddy to be well behaved yet the wife and children are rascals.
The whole family will be despised at the end of the day. From a business perspective, a customer may approach the company premises and the guy at the security guard mistreats him/her. Or he may encounter a company driver who will rudely tell him not to park at a reserved spot.
This already creates a bad image of the company in the mind of its customer.
On the other hand, if the security guard and the driver are well mannered and courteous, the image of company will be positive and convincing. Just like if you went to your friend’s home and his five year old son welcomes you with a smile.
The good feeling that good customer relations bring about should be a holistic one from all the workers of the firm. If the receptionist can smile at visitors then others in the firm should be able to do the same for the customer’s impressions to be upheld.
The mistake is that some companies think all they have to do is to create an office named customer care and fill it with individuals who are bilingual and have an idea about customer care.
The concept of customer care should not be a department but an attitude or work ethic for all the staff members.