The Service Magazine proprietor Sandra Idossou, is a known figure in Rwanda for her contribution in improving customer care. She pushes businesses and government agencies to offer better services and respond to customer concerns. But she is now taking things to a whole new level. She has introduced a concept which has attracted the attention of business executives; The Hight Tea event. The first event took place on Tuesday evening at the Marriott Hotel in Kigali. She tells us more about the project.
How did it cross your mind, how did it come about and what is it all about?
Idossou: We have been organising a few events with the same objective of raising awareness about customer service. I have been trying to put up different concepts that would bring people together and talk about services. The reason why we wanted a High Tea event is because we have a lot of high corporate events, where people stand. We do not really open up and say the things that are going on wrongly, usually because it is in the vague group where everyone wants to get their voice. So the idea of organizing this High Tea conversation is to bring together a small group of people and we would converse. It is really like an afternoon tea, in a nice environment where we sit down and chat. So it is really like the chatting among friends, because in that case we are able to say the things which are not going on well that need to be improved. Basically, that is how it started.
Why did you choose Marriot Hotel, how was your conversation, and what was it about?
Idossou: Hight Tea is something very nice. The setup is in a nice and cosy environment. So I was looking for a place, and the funny thing is that I used social media, I tweeted and asked people the hotel they would like to be in for this event and they chose Marriott. So I came to Marriott and showed them the survey. I said that 75% of those who responded wanted it to be Marriott, and that it would be better if they offered us the venue and a good deal, and they were happy.
This is the first event. What impacts have you seen?
Idossou: This is the first event. At this stage, I would not say whether I would continue or not. I do not know whether I would do it monthly or quarterly. But from the feedback I have gotten from people, they like it and find it interesting. But we still need to fine tune some issues and invite probably different types of people.
Organising this event is a lot of work. What is your incentive?
Idossou: For now, nothing. It is still under construction, but I am using it, so that people know it. When people know it, I will be able to charge. But for now I am not making any money out of it.
How is the response from the hotel?
Idossou: The hotel was very interested. In fact, we had a meeting and talked about different means and they said that they would be interested for us to organize events with us. I came and met with the GM. He was very happy.
How many people attended?
Idossou: Forty. Initially, we had planned 30 people and finally we got 40. That is different from the other events. We had wanted to have a fixed number of people, so we had asked them to book at home. It is also a way of making people in Rwanda book for events, because here people do not like to book for events. They do not plan ahead and say that at a given time they will do this or that. For me it is a way of making people plan ahead. People do not even know that when you are going to a restaurant you have to book.