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Social media complaints about poor hotel services trigger instant response

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Frustrated with service levels, treated poorly by waiters, left standing at the reception as if you don’t belong?

In Rwanda, already one of the best-connected countries in Eastern Africa, such treatment, when reported on the social media, has instant consequences as the owners of the Manor Hotel in Kigali’s Nyarutarama District found out at their expense during the week.

A disgruntled customer, realizing that his verbal complaints to management over the state of the changing rooms at the pool had not yielded any results, took his campaign to the social media and, hey, presto, the reaction was swift and sharp.

Rwanda’s consumer watchdog magazine, the acclaimed “ServiceMag” [@TheServiceMag] was copied into a tweet, and as is customary with them, they instantly re-tweeted and widely copied the complaint. Also copied was the country’s tourism marketing and licensing body, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) [@RDBRwanda]. Within hours, the organization’s COO, Clare Akamanzi, had taken an interest, responded on twitter – not an extraordinary event by the way but that is what they do in Rwanda – and an inspection team was sent to ascertain the facts.

Caught red handed, the hotel was given a week to put things right or else risk losing their operating license on suspension.

The ServiceMag, Rwanda’s premier magazine with strong emphasis on service quality – the magazine organizes annual awards for best services based on the input of readers – has in the past often taken up such complaints and brought errant banks, insurance companies, and even public offices to their heels by exposing poor services. RDB’s Tourism and Conservation Department in turn became an ally of sorts as they are also keen to see Rwanda’s hospitality sector excel in the region.

Anyone visiting Rwanda, therefore, and encountering issues at hotels, resorts, with transport, or other services, as well as airport security, customs, or immigration, is free to tweet and include the two twitter handles of RDB and the ServiceMag to be sure that there is a follow up. Rwanda’s immigration services was, by the way, repeatedly in the past singled out for service excellence, and the beef this correspondent had a few years ago with airport security was also addressed as customer service training has clearly not just taken place but taken root in a new culture of professionalism.

Source: Prof. Wolfgang H. Thome, Ph.D., eTN Africa Correspondent

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