29 November 2012

Rwanda: RDB Launches to Get Hospitality Feedback

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has launched suggestion boxes for accommodation establishments in order to get clients' feedback concerning customer service. This is a way of seeking continual improvement of services.

While launching the suggestion boxes, the head of tourism at RDB, Rica Rwigamba said that while some hotels and accommodation establishments already had suggestion boxes, it will more effective with government monitored boxes. "Hotels owners don't have to see these boxes as a way of bringing problems to their business. They rather have to view the boxes as an opportunity for them to improve the service offered to their clients," Rwigamba said.

She added that from the suggestion boxes, RDB will be able to spot service gaps. "The keys of the boxes will be kept by inspection teams at RDB and they will be checking on a regular basis what the clients are complaining about or commending. We will be seeing the problems; we will be able to identify the gaps in our tourism and hospitality sector. From knowing where the problems are, we will then move to the next step of providing trainings, making recommendations to the concerned to improve their way of delivering services."

Rwigamba stressed that you cannot diagnose a disease unless you know where it hurts. "For us in the tourism and hospitality sectors, customer care must be our priority. This initiative will help us get feedback on the service offered, which will be a basis for improving the quality of services hence customer satisfaction in the hospitality industry. This feedback is very valuable to us."

Bart Gasana, the vice-chair of chamber of tourism at Private Sector Federation (PSF), said that suggestion boxes present a way of partnership between RDB and the private sector towards improving services delivery. "Some of us had suggestion boxes at our hotels and restaurants, but their effectiveness was questionable since they were controlled by the hotel staff. You cannot evaluate yourself," he observed.

Gasana recognized that since the boxes are owned and managed by RDB, it will make the assessment of service delivery more effective and therefore more productive.

The information collected will be anonymous and confidential. Some of the questions asked in the RDB form to be filled in by the client before being dropped in the box, are customer service, knowledge of attendants, quality of equipment and amenities, language skills, safety and security, room service, tourism information available at the hotel etc., all of which will be rated from 1 to 5 by the respondent. The client will also be requested his opinion on what he thinks needs to be improved.

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