The good, the bad and the ugly: Customer service in Dubai
Resident customer service guru Arti Gupta shares her experience with customer service in Dubai.
May 22, 2012 4:09 by kippreport
As someone who is passionate about customer service, I am always on a lookout for exceptionally good service. Here in the UAE, I have had a range of experiences with service staff-from those service oriented individuals who have an inner drive to help customers in a better way to the not so friendly support staff. More often than not, I notice the service I get from the staff as a whole is varied. Which is why, I get rather excited when I walk into a store and receive uniformly excellent support from the whole team. That tells me that there has been a concerted effort on part of management, to take care of their customers. I feel more confident in making purchases from such places—because I know that if I have a problem, the staff at the store will be helpful.
Recently, I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner. As this was the first time I visited their house, I decided to purchase a small token for their abode—I wasn’t too keen on the thought. After all, on previous occasions, I have visited some up-market and funky home fashion stores in Dubai and found, unfortunately, to be served by snooty sales staff. Part of me can’t help but think their attitude is a reaction to my dressed down attire; maybe when I walk in, wearing my jeans and tee with hardly any accessories and makeup, the staff feel that I cannot afford their products. I can’t understand this type of thinking. Why should the service I get be a factor of how decked up I am? This is a sad, but absolutely true.
The last time I bought a very expensive piece from one such shop I was shocked by the way in which the product was wrapped. They did not have the right size of box to pack the piece and to top things off, the box they gave me, was actually damaged. Over everything they charged me Dh1 for the biodegradable ‘green’ bag. I was in utter disbelief! Why could they not include this one dirham in their pricing? And after giving me such a terrible box, couldn’t they make a concession on the bag they used? Even with all this I went ahead and paid, as I really liked it and was in urgent need. But after that day, I vouched never to enter that shop again.
So this time when I needed to buy a gift, I tried “Pottery Barn”. As soon as I entered the shop with my friend, there was a gentleman who explained us of a few promotions they were running. We went around admiring the good things they had. The place was well stocked, with things as well as sales people. If we needed something, there was someone even before we could ask. People there gave us space and time to look around, but kept a good eye on us, just in case we needed something. Everyone around greeted us with a nice broad smile. We felt so welcomed in the shop.
We picked our gift and asked Mirza (sales person) to pack it. He showed us the box he would pack it in and asked if that was fine. We told him that we would collect our pick in sometime and left the place to shop around. While packing, Mirza had a question, so he took time and effort to call me and ask me his doubt. At most places, people would just wait for you to come back and then they would ask you the doubt. He respected our time by calling us. After sometime we visited the shop to collect our buy. It was so nicely wrapped kept in a trolley with brochures for their store. A person came with us to drop it till the car. I left the place with a need to visit them again soon. I will always remember the friendliness and service to the staff there.
In my line of work, I meet a lot of people responsible for customer experience in organizations. All of them talk about the challenge the face in making employees more customer-centric due to the transitory nature of population in UAE. I am happy to see that there are some organizations, which have been able to do that successfully.