“Hello – My name is Fabia, how are you today?” That is all it took for my wife, Anne, to decide where she would purchase her gas once we had moved to Kigali, Rwanda. Today, we both make a real effort to return and visit Fabia. It is not because of “high performance petrol” but to enjoy and encourage the kind interaction that comes with Fabia’s consistently great customer service.
The leaders in Rwanda often publically state: “Customer service in Rwanda must improve.” This is a complaint I have heard all over the world—and very often in the USA. My belief is that customer service usually originates within the person as a sincere desire to serve and bless others, and HOPE provides clients in Rwanda training on customer service as an extension of the biblical Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). Logistically, it is much easier to provide great customer service in the developed world. Large industrial freezers with pre-cut meat and vegetables allow for quick delivery in restaurants. Fully integrated supply chains help make sure your favorite Superstore is never out of stock, and the simple swipe of credit cards ensure not coming up short on change will never be a problem Another shining example of great customer service can be seen in Emmanuel’s photography business.
Emmanuel used loans from his Savings and Credit Association to purchase a camera that he used to take pictures primarily for passports and visas. He’s since expanded to photographing weddings and family gatherings. After paying off the camera, he invested in a small printer that allows him to print on demand and reduces the time and costs of public transportation to access the nearest developer. This story became “customer service-relevant” when I asked him about the stack of unclaimed photos sitting next to his printer. “If they don’t like the photo, I don’t make them pay – but this lets them know I can be trusted and makes me sure they are happy.” I continue to be incredibly encouraged by the many great “customer servants” in Rwanda.
Chris Ordway is a senior technical advisor based in Kigali, Rwanda, focused on HOPE’s Savings and Credit Associations throughout the country. He and his wife and three daughters moved to Kigali last August. Chris loves to tell people that Rwanda is safe and clean and that during his time in Rwanda he has had nothing but warmth and kindness from EVERY person that he has had the blessing to meet.