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Is it true that customer is always right? False. But often they are right. This is especially so if they have the proof to support their claim. What if the company ignores them? What’s their recourse? Readers write to Gulf News to voice out their grievances and frustrations. They need to be heard and require resolution.

Gulf News listens and we’re here to help. We have been providing service to the community by pursuing their complaints with the concerned companies.

Being with Gulf News for more than 15 years, managing the complaints section, the writer observes the best firms get better in customer service. Most companies, if not all, are giving their utmost support to satisfy their customers. They take this opportunity to right the wrong; improve their service based on customer feedback.

We can all relate to missed expectations where customer service was lacking. It’s no stretch of the imagination to guess how someone might feel; for example, when denied a benefit for opening a new credit card account or when your family member flies half way around the world and finds their luggage has been lost.

Readers raise a lot of issues from overbilling to understaff manning the counter, to deceiving agents just to meet their targets and so on. When customer service falls short and things don’t turn out right, tempers rise.

There is always two sides to every story. Gulf News also listens to the companies in question and gain their side of the story. We serve as a bridge between clients and companies to bring attention to the issues that matter to the public. As a place for people to vent their grievances we often see outcomes in favour of both parties. Exceptional companies propose a resolution, change their policy suitable to the needs of their customers, and offer an apology if necessary. The new opportunity allows for all parties to regain and build trust.

Throughout the year, Gulf News publishes our readers’ complaints and work to help resolve lost expectations our readers may have. Every year, we rank the companies that diligently work to resolve conflict of disappointed customers. We have ranked these organisations based on our readers complaints processed for the year 2015. Our criteria for ranking:

1. Speed on investigation and resolution to the complaint

2. Transparency on how they rectified and resolved the complaint

3. The complainant’s satisfaction

4. The companies’ cooperation with Gulf News

5. The number of complaints processed by each company have also been evaluated to be objective

Gulf News has interviewed the top three companies in pursuit of excellence. They are very competitive and efficient in resolving readers’ complaints. Probably they wanted to be always on top of the Gulf News’ honours list every year. Most certainly, it is of paramount importance to satisfy their customers, to retain them and attract new ones for their business to succeed.

GN: In terms of customer service, what does your company do differently now than from one year ago?

Fares Hamad Fares, Vice President Corporate Communication, etisalat UAE: Over the years, a constant review and feedback process has helped bring about a big shift in the customer-experience management approach across the organisation.

Gokhan Alakus, Head of Direct Banking – Consumer Banking, FGB:

In our endeavour to be customer-centric we ensure that any concern or feedback received from customers is given utmost importance. It is not only important to resolve issues, but to do so in a timely, efficient manner. We are constantly working on enhancing our processes and systems to improve overall customer experience. All our employees go through a mandatory training about service to assist them in reaching to our mission, which is “To be the First Choice for Customers”.

Suvo Sarkar, Senior Executive Vice President and Group Head – Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD:

The Bank adopted a basic, yet powerful methodology that aims at enhancing customer experience by providing a TOP service. Each member of our team in the Bank ensures that he/she earns our valuable customers’ Trust by taking Ownership in guiding and assisting them with their financial needs and were empowered to add their Personal touch while handling any complaint.

GN: Do you believe that transparency with Gulf News translates to better understanding and connectivity with your customers?

Fares, etisalat:

Our approach is to welcome customer feedback through every possible channel and Gulf News is one such very pervasive channel. It helps us connect with our customers.

Alakus, FGB:

As one of the leading newspapers in the country, Gulf News reaches a large section of the country’s population and any feedback raised through Gulf News gives us an opportunity to put forth our viewpoint and perspective. Additionally, Gulf News’s approach to feedback is professional and timely responsible and reasonable, as it allows us to investigate issues and resolve them, and to provide a statement before publishing. This approach is highly transparent and fair.

Sarkar, Emirates NBD:

Indeed; as we consider it as an important platform and an excellent medium that enables us to, not only resolve complaints, but also introduce financial literacy by educating readers on different financial aspects. It also demonstrates the sincere efforts of the Bank to help our customers and reach an amicable solution.

GN: How do customer feedbacks matter to your operations and how do you deal with their suggestions?

Fares, etisalat:

We believe that both compliments and complaints have a vital role to play. Where positive feedback reaffirms our belief in our plans and actions, complaints help us in our constant efforts to improve.

Alakus, FGB:

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and customer feedback and suggestions provide us with valuable insight. In our efforts to “Be First”, we are always looking at understanding our customers’ needs when we develop products, services or to improve our processes, policies and turnaround time.

Sarkar, Emirates NBD:

The Bank takes every customer’s feedback seriously and we consider our customers’ voice as a great channel to measure our success and enhance our processes further in order to ensure our customers’ satisfaction is always maintained.

Gulf News Honour’s List

Name of company

1 Etisalat

2 FGB

3 Emirates NBD

4 Mashreq

4 Du

4 Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

4 Standard Chartered

5 National Bank of Abu Dhabi

5 RAK Bank

5 Emirates Islamic

6 Commercial Bank International

6 United Arab Bank

6 Dubai First

6 Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

6 Etihad Airways

7 Dubai Islamic Bank

8 Emirates airlines

8 Majid Al Futtaim Finance (Najm)

8 Citibank

8 Roads and Transport Authority (RTA)

9 HSBC

10 Air Arabia

10 Air India

10 Commercial Bank of Dubai

10 Lufthansa

10 Orbit Showtime Network (OSN)

10 Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower)

10 Spice Jet

11 Dunia

11 Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa)

12 Noor Bank

12 Samba Bank

12 AXA Insurance

13 FlyDubai

14 Ajman Bank

14 Jet Airways

14 Union National Bank

15 Doha Bank

16 Sharjah Islamic Bank