UAE's population diversity creates challenges for customer satisfaction and management

With the ratio between expatriates and nationals in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) among the highest in the world, customer service and management are unique challenges for Emirati businesses.

In the face of such a globalized population, Philip Forrest, president of The International Customer Service Institute, says the customer experience in the Emirates and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council should respect and support the region’s cultural diversity. Customers should therefore be treated as individuals who matter, and whose cultures are understood and well-regarded.

Forrest, author of the service quality management book Sold On Service, points to the UAE’s successful airlines as prime examples of how to manage businesses in a way that brings positive customer experiences to the fore despite the various cultural boundaries airlines encounter.

“In the UAE, organizations should aim to be, not just the best in the region, but the best in the world," Forrest said. "Someone has to be and as its airlines have proven, there is no reason why it cannot be many organizations across the UAE. Being the global best means that the margin for customer disappointment is greatly reduced.”

Forrest says that for managers to focus on a positive customer experience, they must first address the needs of their employees for a positive and inclusive workplace.

“It is an organization’s employees who influence the behavior and attitudes of customers, and it is customers who drive an organization’s profitability through the purchase and use of its products and services,” Forrest said.

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The International Customer Service Institute

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