An outdoor cafe at The Walk, JBR. In the last three years, locations such as the Downtown, The Walk in JBR, Al Wasl area’s City Walk and Boxpark have resulted in a thriving cafe society. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The region’s consumer brands cutting across sectors could always do with a bit more on the servicing side. A brand new customer satisfaction index gives them an average score of 75.8 out of a maximum of 100, with cafes coming off with the highest points, at 80.4.

At the other end of the scale, the region’s telecom operators still have gaps to fill, given that their current score on the satisfaction index is a ‘poor’ 65.5, according to findings put out by the consultancy Service Hero.

Also falling short on consumer expectations were websites and online call centres, suggesting that businesses “need to be investing more in their digital platforms and interaction points to match the level of service provided in their physical locations”.

Other categories to do well in consumer perceptions were automotive, electronics, apparel and airlines.

UAE consumers want their trusted brands to provide them with a minimum of 80 points on the satisfaction index, to ensure they remain loyal to them.

“Residents of the UAE are used to receiving excellent customer service, something which they increasingly demand from businesses nowadays,” said Faten Abu Ghazaleh, president of Service Hero. “It is the reason for customers deciding on seeking a new service provider if their needs and expectations [are] not met.”

Opinions on as many as 315 brands with a presence in the UAE were solicited by the survey, which polled 18,510 ‘authenticated’ consumer feedback responses covering 14 sectors. Each category had a quota of 450 votes. (Measures were deployed of a technical nature to verify the authenticity of the voter, or later, at the data cleansing stage, to remove any suspicious data.)

That cafes are winning brownie points should not come as any surprise. In the last three years, locations such as the Downtown, The Walk in JBR, Al Wasl area’s City Walk and Boxpark have resulted in a thriving cafe society. Plus, there are the ones that sprout up in the city malls. New brands coming in are a regular feature, thus requiring the players to serve up a consistently high level of customer service.

“Businesses will start losing customers if they do not take these warning signs seriously and act upon them — their growth depends on this,” said Abu Gazaleh.

Meanwhile, in another survey that set out to track local consumer preferences, loyalty services firm ICLP found that the millennial shopper wants their brands to meet them more than halfway. In fact, one in four millennials surveyed wanted their brands to spend more time “really getting to know them”.

And 28 per cent said that they wanted a gift or message on their birthday, while 27 per cent wanted them to remember their shopping, payment and delivery preferences.

In short, millennials want to feel pampered if they are to stay true to a brand for long.

“Millennials are flocking to the hottest new retailers, but with ever more global brands opening outlets here in the UAE, there’s an ongoing battle to hold anyone’s attention,” said Sanjit Gill, general manager at ICLP.

“We’ve found that all shoppers want more from their favourite retail brands, but for millennials in particular they want to not just be rewarded for their loyalty, but also be treated like an individual. With the technology now available, retailers have no excuse not to treat all their customers as valued individuals, surprising and delighting them with rewards and special offers that they’ll love.”


Key points: What millennials want

* Brands need to give a lot of thought and attention to lock in their millennial shoppers. Here is a list of what these influential shopper demographics expect according to findings by ICLP:


* Among millennial shoppers, 72 per cent said that they would spend more with a retailer if they understood their individual needs and requirements better.

* And 69 per cent said that they would spend more if they were treated with more respect, while 74 per cent said they would spend more if products were more consistent and reliable.

* Seventy-seven per cent would buy more if they were rewarded better by their favourite retailer.