Mark Hamill, the MD of Awards International UAE, reflects on Dubai’s first CX Day and what he learned about the future direction of Customer Experience in the region…

This week marked a very important day for the Customer Experience community in Dubai, with the first ever CX Day taking place.

The CX community in the UAE has been steadily growing over the past two years, with many individuals and companies taking it much more seriously now than when we launched the Gulf Customer Experience Awards in 2015.

Then, Customer Experience was often replaced and/or interchanged with “customer service”, with a much more operations and process focused approach, which is not the full CX picture.

However, Tuesday’s event in the Dubai Economy HQ could not have been further from that, with speakers and attendees alike hailing from a very diverse range of backgrounds within their organisations.

This shows a fundamental shift, with people from Communications to Operations, HR to IT, Marketing to Customer Care – all of whom were a component or a leader in delivering excellent CX for their companies’ customers.

The diversity of the attendees is not something that should come as a surprise, but should be expected; after all, Customer Experience is not just the experience when dealing with customer in your shop or on the phone – it is the entire experience a customer has when dealing with your organisation.

Therefore, everyone needs to be attuned to think of the customer first.

Here is what I took away from this week’s event that can hopefully help any Customer Experience professional:

Leadership must be engaged

This has always been the case, however with increased and genuine competition in many industries in the UAE, there has never been a time when leaders “have to” be supporting a customer-centric agenda. It is simply a case of do it or risk losing market share, or even worse – ceasing to exist altogether.

 

It’s political

You have to wear many hats as a Customer Experience professional. Not only do you have to keep management on-side, but you also must influence many different departments whilst speaking a language they understand.

Successful CX Professionals are very adept in managing relationships across departments to support their agenda.

 

Do not forget it is all about people

Rightly or wrongly, there is a huge rush to technology to help with Customer Experience. It is only as good as the purpose it is being used for.

You can have all the latest technology in the world but if it has been implemented without any customer insight and doesn’t improve your Customer Experience and/or your employees dealing with companies are not engaged, then there is no point in doing it. Customer Experience is – and always will be – about people.

 

It doesn’t have to be expensive

All too often in the UAE, management see Customer Experience as a cost rather than an investment. There should be a fundamental shift in this mindset for many organisations in order for them to see real change.

That being said, if an organisation is starting its journey to become customer-centric it should reduce a lot of unnecessary costs as it would lead to focusing only on the things that matter to the customer.

 

It really makes a difference

At the awards events, we see some fantastic case studies from companies which have really turned their organisations around. It really can happen and it has to start somewhere.

Starting this journey to becoming a customer-centric organisation can make a dramatic difference to your company’s fortunes.

And last but certainly not least…

 

You’re not the only one!

You may feel like you are the only CX professional in the world sometimes. It can be a very lonely position in any organisation.

Believe it or not, there are more of us! We are running plenty of CX events on a regular basis so please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to be a part of the growing CX community.

 

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