‘Get to know us,’ 92% of UAE consumers tell brands: ServiceNow Survey

ServiceNow exec headshot - CX study

UAE consumers rank healthcare (45%) and government services (38%) as top sectors when it comes to providing best customer experience

Almost all UAE consumers expect commercial brands to understand and cater to their individual needs, according to a report released today by ServiceNow, the leading digital workflow company making the world work better for everyone.

The study — in which researchers interviewed 13,000 adults across EMEA, including 1,000 in the UAE — revealed the critical success factors for the nation’s brands as they compete to deliver the best customer experiences. Some 92% of respondents said it is important that brands understand them.

The findings come at a time when brand loyalty is at an all-time low — 91% of consumers surveyed in the UAE (15 percentage points higher than the EMEA average) said they are less loyal to brands now than they were two years ago. Almost one in four (23%) attribute this to disappointing experiences.

“Some of the findings are not surprising,” said Ali Kaddoura, Country Manager, GCC, at ServiceNow, of the report, which revealed that 93% of UAE consumers expect seamless service and 94% expect customer service reps to resolve problems easily. “But what really stands out is that more consumers than ever expect their brands to really know them and cater to their personal preferences.”

When asking about specific expectations, researchers found 79% of the UAE sample population saying it was important that brands were consistently aware of shoppers’ purchasing habits. And 86% said companies should remember their preferred communication channel. Almost everyone (91%) called for the offering of personalized discounts and 86% urged brands to display tailored recommendations during an engagement session.

“Given the tech-savvy propensity of the UAE consumer base, we found it interesting that consumers here had a technology-based incentive to be loyal to a brand,” Kaddoura said, citing a finding that 86%, or 15 percentage points higher than the EMEA average, considered it important that brands provide a customer experience underpinned by the latest technology. An almost equal number — 85%, or 21 percentage points higher than the EMEA average — said they would likely be more loyal to a brand that invested in tech to provide a better customer experience.

“Whether we zero in on consumers’ direct calls for better tech, or their implied calls for it through their urgings for more personalized experiences, it is clear that UAE organizations need better tech,” said Kaddoura. “Brands must invest in a unified foundational technology platform for all enterprise digital workflows, allowing them to maximize the value of their existing technology investments and connect siloed systems, departments, and processes.”

He advised brands in the UAE to look to the two top-ranked sectors for customer experience — healthcare and government.

“Consider the UAE government’s implementation of the trusted identity system, UAE Pass,” he added, “or its response to the COVID crisis, starting with the management of lockdowns and culminating in the app-driven rollout of vaccines — all driven by technology. And let’s not forget the country’s healthcare system and how it used tech to rally under COVID-related pressures, the advent of telemedicine being just one example. Other industries can look to these shining examples of how to leverage tech to deliver exceptional customer experiences.”

ServiceNow’s customer experience report did not just reveal sentiment regarding consumers’ own experiences. In the age of ESG, consumers also spared some thoughts for how brands treat their employees. Most (91%) of those surveyed in the UAE said this was important to them, and three quarters said they would be less likely to engage with a company if they knew its employees were unhappy.

“We often talk about the link between employee and customer experience, but this latest study really drives the point home,” said Mark Ackerman, Area VP for the Middle East and Africa at ServiceNow. “It is really heartening to see that we humans, in some way, are coming to realize that we are all consumers, but we are also all employees. We cannot just provide exceptional experiences to consumers; we must also make sure our internal ‘consumers’ are happy — whether that is through better salary and benefits, or through better technology and resources, or through better development opportunities. Nowadays, if you ignore any of this, your brand loyalty will suffer. The data tells us so.”

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