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Are you being served? Part I

Are you being served? Part I

Is customer care in the GCC up to scratch? Communicate magazine investigates. Part I


November 7, 2009 2:55 by

“No one cared that I was there.” “I don’t think he even noticed when I left the showroom.” “I felt like I was interrupting the staff as they chatted.” Wow! It sounds like someone’s suffering from an inferiority complex.

With Communicate‘s penchant for all things psychological, we’d gladly spend hours deciphering the roots, reasons, and remedies to such a debilitating complex. That won’t be necessary, though; it turns out Grass Roots Middle East, a business performance improvement consultancy (they test and train staff), has beaten us to it.

According to Grass Roots, these are not the quotes of a person in psychological distress, but the words of consumers on their experiences in the GCC retail environment and its service levels.

Thankfully for the region’s retailers it’s not all bad feedback. Through its mystery shopping survey entitled “Are you being served in the GCC?” Grass Roots has also identified positive feedback from the mystery shoppers they sent out to more than 350 stores across four industries (automotive, fast food and coffee shops, banking, and mobile phone products) in five Gulf states (Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait).

Some of the comments included: “The lady who was serving us gave us her full attention.” “The politeness of the staff made the whole visit worthwhile.” “I was given undivided attention and all my questions were answered promptly and pleasantly.” However, the overall feeling and results from the 2009 survey is not good, as Cathy Sparks, project director at Grass Roots Middle East, explains.

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1 Comment

  1. Anupama V. Chand on November 8, 2009 8:06 am

    Nothing we didn’t know already, but how true this finding is! Invariably when you go to any of the hypermarkets, supermarkets and even groceries in Dubai today, you encounter the same stony stares, even apathy from sales staff, who are supposed to really represent the brand, and ensure the customers stay and shop through their warmth and politeness. Is it too much to expect these outlets to motivate their staff enough to keep a smile on their faces and in their step as they approach customers, and give them the service which I believe, they are certainly entitled to, the minute they walk into the given outlet? It seems like courtesy and consideration, despite being such an integral part of the Arab cultural psyche, have still not managed to get reflected in the retail psyche of this bustling metropolis…..a sad state of affairs indeed in a city that prides itself on being the retail hub of the Middle East.


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