Mohammad Bushanain, Executive Director, Corporate Quality & Management Excellence at DED
Dubai’s efforts to bring businesses on a service excellence platform has seen a big leap in customer service standards in the emirate’s retail sector, according to a study conducted by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai.
Analysis of the 2008-2012 data from the Dubai Service Excellence Scheme (DSES) shows retailers across industry sectors increasingly acknowledging customer confidence and service quality as key differentiators and drivers of growth. While resource restructuring within businesses, prompted by economic challenges in 2009, had a negative impact on service standards the period that followed saw sustained improvements in customer experience.
“It’s evident from the ‘DSES Insights 2013’ study that a growing number of retailers in the region are focusing on enhancing the customer service experience. The Dubai Service Excellence Scheme plays a pivotal role in monitoring service standards and inspiring retailers to pursue continuous service improvement and innovations.” commented Mohammad Bushanain, Executive Director, Corporate Quality & Management Excellence at DED.
The study also highlights the performance of retailers inside major shopping malls of Dubai, and urges mall managements to focus on providing unique customer experiences as it is the only hedge against growing competition and increasing online shopping trends. “The Department of Economic Development will shortly launch a code of service conduct for shopping malls and regularly monitor their service delivery,” said Bushanain.
“The number of retailers participating in DSES was 878 during the first quarter of 2008 whereas it has risen to 1,603 by the same period of 2013. Together these retailers represent over 150 regional and international brands. It shows businesses see DSES beneficial in managing customer expectations and implementing best practices,” Bushanain added.
Launched by DED in 2002, DSES aims to promote and recognise customer service standards, eventually to make shopping in Dubai a pleasure. The scheme binds all participating businesses to a common code of business ethics and customer-centric culture to be visible across staff behaviour, product value and integrity as well as customer support.
“Since retailers from almost all sectors are enrolled in the Dubai Service Excellence Scheme the sustained improvements they have made in customer service standards have produced palpable changes to business in Dubai. General retail, Clothing, Footwear, Restaurants, Cafe and Electronics are the leading participants in the scheme, indicating a wide coverage of consumers and their impressions on the service standards,” Bushanain said referring to data from approximately 25,000 mystery shopper assessments conducted as part of DSES.
The data, gathered since 2008, shows the following brands consistently delivering good customer service standards in their respective category (given in brackets): Commercial Bank of Dubai (Retail banking), Nissan (Automobile showroom), Dnata Travel Services (Travel), Al Rostamani International Exchange (Money exchange), Bin Sina Pharmacy (Pharmaceuticals), Cold Stone Creamery (Cafe), Al Yousuf Electronics (Electronics), Marina Exotic Home Interiors (Furniture), Pure gold Jewellers (Jewellery), Al Jaber Optical (Optical), Sumo Sushi & Bento (Restaurant), The Face Shop (General Retail), Dune (Footwear), and Triumph (Clothing).
“Excellence is not an act, but a habit and an on-going journey that must be continued. While we see significant changes in customer service in the local retail sector there is still room for improvements when compared to the standards in developed countries. We therefore urge more retailers and malls to join us in the journey to improve standards and competitiveness and to make our country a destination of choice for customers and businesses,” commented Shaikha Ahmad Al Bishri, Director, Business Excellence Department at DED.
“We will be announcing the new Best Service Performing Brands and Outlets of 2012 during the Business Excellence Awards ceremony to be held on 29 April 2013. The data is gathered by over 100 trained mystery shoppers. We also do a quarterly measurement of service standards in the participating outlets, and detailed feedback reports are shared with the retailers,” Al Bishri explained.