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Watch out with those tweets!

Dubai - The UAE is a service-oriented country with a vision to become a preferred touristic destination as well as a hub that connects the world's business leaders in the region.

By Rohma Sadaqat

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Published: Sat 17 Oct 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 18 Oct 2015, 9:43 AM

With the rise of social media and enabling platforms, customers today are increasingly expecting service providers to engage with them in the digital space, an expert has stressed.
"For the millennials, digital engagement is no longer a luxury, but the norm. Companies that do not rethink their digital customer engagement strategies will lose out on the potential to design compelling, personally relevant, and long lasting relationships with their customers," said Robert Keay, founder and CEO of Dubai-based Ethos Integrated Solutions.
Based on a recent 2015 study, the UAE has 5.4 million active social media users, half of which access social media on second-screen devices, Keay told Khaleej Times.
"Imagine how easy and convenient it is for these customers to provide feedback about your products and services, and they do. Companies that do not have the capabilities to capture this feedback and respond appropriately will lose out on carrying on the conversation on today's customer's preferred engagement channel. The conversation is shifting online, and those who catch on, will stay with the curve. Those who don't, will drop out of sight."
Keay explained that with the rise of social media, the playing field has changed. Today, social media attracts opinion leaders that are followed by hundreds if not thousands of customers. One negative social media comment from an opinion leader or any other customer for this matter, can create a negative ripple effect with existing and new customers. "That's why I believe that it is critical for companies to manage the conversation that is happening online and are able to respond to customer feedback, both positive and negative, about their products and services. It should be remembered that a bad review or negative comment can be re-tweeted by millions, and companies are often keen to defuse customer anger very quickly in a public space such as Twitter. If it's done cleverly, it can even work in a company's favour," he said.
Asked about the customer service industry in the UAE today, Keay said that the UAE is a service-oriented country with a vision to become a preferred touristic destination as well as a hub that connects the world's business leaders in the region. To improve the level of customer service in the UAE, service providers need to adapt to changing customer preferences, evolve as the technology evolves, and develop a holistic understanding of value moments that shape customer's experiences with a particular business or brand.
A common pitfall of organisations, Keay said, is not having the capabilities to prioritise customer interactions within the first 90 days of the relationship with the customer.
"Within those days, the customer is prone to contact your company more, experience their first issue or fault with your products and services, and it will be their first attempt to get in touch with your customer service channels. Many of today's organisations do not realise the importance of this first interaction, or do not have the required capabilities to identify those interactions," he noted.
To help businesses improve their performance, Ethos Integrated Solutions is developing an app that will help businesses receive feedback directly from customers. The new app is expected to be launched in the UAE market before the end of the year.
"We are developing a game changing platform that allows anyone to become a mystery shopper and share their experiences of interacting with our client's brand, products, and services from the convenience of a mobile application. Our vision for the app is to bridge the gap between companies that want to collect feedback and customers interested in conducting mystery shopping assignments," Keay said.

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