Developing customer service delivery: development with a smile?
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Rwanda aims to build its social and economic development on the service sector to become a service economy. To do this it is essential that a value of service delivery becomes embedded in the country a whole. The role of government is to set the framework, provide leadership, facilitate and, where necessary, regulate to ensure that that is a commitment to world class service delivery at the core of the society. Research has already clearly demonstrated not only that there is poor service delivery in Rwanda but that it is the poorest in the Region. Urgent action is required to remediate this and plan how service delivery can not only be improved but strategies put in place to move towards the delivery of world class services. This policy analysis and research report is designed to support the development of an embedded service delivery value system in Rwanda. It is designed to enable an understanding of the role Government can take in ensuring that a customer service ethic becomes embedded in Rwanda. The Government can provide a strategic framework and leadership within which organisations can develop strategies to deliver customer care excellence. The emphasis on improving service standards is global and two key values have been identified that underpin service excellence. The first of these is that those providing the service are passionate and feel a sense of pride in delivering a quality service. Great service comes from people who perform consistently, every day, with love, pride and quality. The second is that that service work is valued, that people doing it feel that they are in a respected job and are well rewarded for the work they do. Service workers need to be respected (Knowledge@SMU, 2009). This, however, is only the beginning of the story. Focusing only, or even mainly, on those workers who directly deliver the service is treating the symptoms rather than the underlying causes of poor service delivery. Quality services are delivered by quality organisations. Customer service excellence is dependent on having service-centric organisations: • Where customer service is mainstreamed in the organisation's / institution's policies, practices and procedures; • Where those who work within the organisation, at all levels from senior management to the most junior members of staff, demonstrate appropriate values and understand, as well as know, how operations and procedures meet customers’ needs and expectations; • That have an in-depth understanding of their customers’ needs gained through consultation, monitoring and evaluation; • That communicate with customers by proving accurate and detailed information and keeping them informed; • That deliver the service they promise, in a timely and efficient manner and deal efficiently with any complaints; • Where front-of-house staff and others who deal directly with customers are professional and polite. Beyond this it is important to recognise that service sector organisations are dependent on the delivery of the services they require to deliver to their customers. The delivery of services is dependent on a chain of dependencies including infrastructure. In a service economy the focus has to be on delivering high quality services with all sectors and organisations working together.