Mobile Apps Turn to Customer Care

Having one of the most stalwart smartphone user bases in the world, the Middle Eastern businesses are all set to ramp up their online services by enhancing customer experience through deployment of mobile self-service applications. With the number of mobile subscribers over 195 million, there is a huge potential for apps in the Middle East. On one hand, this approach would expedite communication with customers while strengthening relationships with them, and on the other hand, consumers would also experience a sense of convenience.

According to reports, the mobile app market is already expected to exceed $66bn in four years, which is twice as much as $31bn total of 2011. However, not all organizations are finding it easy to put these tools to their advantage. In order to realize the full potential of these mobile apps, businesses need to fully focus on customers’ needs. Apps can enhance the customer experience by making use of smartphones’ advanced features and tablets i.e. the touch screen, display and selection techniques and location intelligence etc.

Why to Integrate Apps in Customer Services

According to the Territory Manager at Interactive Intelligence, Middle East & Turkey, Mr. Shaheen Haque, “for contact centers the key to excelling at customer service is to integrate all customer touch points”. Although the contact center industry has been topping off all service techniques for decades yet mobile revolution presents a new ground to begin with. As people are increasingly developing greater affinity for mobile devices, it has become even more essential to integrate mobile experience with customer support plans.

To provide relationship-enhancing customer service, the industry needs to work on app interfaces with the contact center. When a user encounters some glitch while using the app, the app should be able to automatically interact with the contact center. Apart from placing a call, the entire account of the customer’s session on the app should be forwarded to the contact center. The contact center the can put the customer in a virtual queue while notifying him of the time an agent will call him. This way the contact center agents would already know what the customer might be calling about, so there is no need to waste time by indulging in a lengthy query and response session to categorize the call and with the history of session available, the problem can be analyzed without even having the customer on the line.

What Good It Is

A study conducted by Ventana Research on behalf of Interactive Intelligence reveals that the original purpose of self-service systems is to stop the calls to customer service personnel. This goal can be realized by deploying apps that are user oriented and advance use of companies’ information and systems. The contact centers can also improve several KPIs with these apps, such as FCR and interaction handling time.

The extensive use of mobile and social media means even better services experience for the customers. Therefore, in order to cater to the needs of todays’ mobile customers, companies should deploy a mobile platform which could allow them to constantly improve customer service capabilities and eventually translate into stronger customer bonds.

Expats Pick Dubai for Vacations This Winter

As the holiday season approaches, Dubai is to experience the greatest influx of tourists than any other city in the world. Apart from 30,000 people flying on the Christmas day, about 1.9 million people have already been booked for Dubai with the British Airways this season. The passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport already went up 10% in November and this increase was mainly attributed to the flow from Western Europe and India. The airport takes fourth spot as one of the world’s busiest hubs for international passengers.

Given Their Preference, Westerners Go for the Warmer Clime of Dubai

The sun, the beach and luxurious shopping malls and restaurants make Dubai a perfect place to spend vacations. A British Airways survey has revealed that customers are ready to flock Dubai this festive season. Alongside New York, Australia, Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro, Dubai was tagged as one of the top five most coveted overseas destinations for 2013 in a Facebook poll by the British carrier. According to Paolo De Renzis, Area Commercial Manager Middle East and Central Asia, “Our customers’ favorite long-haul destinations from London this festive season are New York, Miami, Cape Town, Hong Kong and Dubai, which shows that, with the exception of New York, people are looking for a warmer way to spend Christmas and New Year”. “Dubai has long been a destination of choice for Europeans looking for sun, beach and shopping, while at the same time, Dubai residents are looking for new cities and countries to discover”, he said.

A Slew of Capacity Augmentation Projects for the Travelers

Because of the central location and Emirate’s thriving tourism industry, airlines are already coming up with expansion plans. The projects released by Dubai International Airport reveal that in 2013, the number of passengers is going to hit whopping 66 million, while the airport already handles around five million passengers a month. Huge retail, hotel and entertainment projects are also being planned to cater to the upsurge of foreign visitors expected in the following decade.

As for the plans that are underway at the airport, a new segment to handle Airbus A380 superjumbo planes is all set to open in 2013, hence taking the airport’s capacity to 75m passengers from 60m yearly. Moreover, in order to deal with the increasing traffic, the emirates is would open Al Maktoum International airport by the end of 2013.

According to reports, Dubai and Abu Dhabi would continue to lead the tourism industry. However, on the murkier side, the political instability in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon will continue to affect the tourism prospects negatively.

The Boom in E-Commerce Attributed to Technological Advancements

Over the past few years e-commerce which defines the phenomenon of purchasing or spending money online has grown in size, strength and popularity. The idea of spending money online has become more and more approachable, from people looking at it with uncertainty, to a point where e-commerce has grown to such an extent that it is now a widely accepted form of business and transactions around the world. Thanks to new breakthroughs in cyber protection people have started to acknowledge online spending as a quick and efficient manner of purchases and payments. The question that goes unanswered is; what are the particular factors that contribute to the sudden rise in the popularity of the online spending?

Consumers Fancy Online Shopping Worldwide

The introduction of most retail products on popular websites has given consumers an extra option in regards to purchasing or paying. One of the highest sold products on the internet are books, clothing items and travel tickets. The global trend shows that when it comes to purchasing items most of the consumers prefer retailers that only have an online presence. One of the best driving factors about online shopping is the ease of access. Most people have submitted reviews about products or services that they have used and in a buyer’s decision making process this step fits in perfectly when the buyer surveys his options. Naturally countries with a higher amount of internet users manage to make a larger contribution to the total income from online sales and purchases. The fact that often times online stores price products at a much lower rate, deviates users towards buying their desired products online. The advancements in software development have managed to provide easy ways to websites through which they manage to keep customers satisfied and perform their obligatory customer service duties.

E-Commerce Boom follows Market Trends in UAE

The reason behind the increase in e-commerce in Dubai and the UAE is because of the fact that customers now have more confidence in the system and procedures of online shopping. It is also worth noting that the UAE government has encouraged its population to make more transactions online by allowing utility bill payments through the internet. The government has also taken huge strides to maintain control over cyber-crime. More so the government of UAE has also prepared the region for growth in e-commerce by introducing the federal laws regarding e-commerce and cyber-crime specifically for the purpose of regaining the consumers’ confidence.

Customer service is also a thriving example of the success of e-commerce in the UAE. One of the main turning points was when banks in the UAE encouraged their consumers to use their credit cards by announcing big discounts on certain bundles. Above all there is an incentive in the introduction of websites that provide a good shopping experience along with amazing prices and facilities such as free home delivery. As long as companies and websites manage to satisfy customers through the quality of their product or the efficiency of their customer services there are fewer chances of deviating customers.

Dubai Taxi Service On The Go

It has been recently discovered thanks to a series of accredited surveys from nearly 75,000 respondents, that Dubai ranks third when it comes to the Taxi trade. The survey was conducted via the most popular travel website TripAdvisor and from the people who had written reviews about the cities in question. Dubai was found to rank third among 40 cities, after Tokyo and Singapore. The ranking was based on several factors such as the driver’s friendliness, road safety and the cleanest streets. Among the qualities mentioned, Tokyo ranked no. 1, while Singapore came in a close second. Given the fact that locals don’t have flowery words about the public transportation sector in Dubai, it is one of the best in the opinion of international travelers.

 

Cabbies Owe Success to High-ups

Given the recent attention given to the cabbies, the CEO of the transportation company was rather quick in taking credit and accrediting majorly the Prime Minister of Dubai Shaikh Muhammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Personally he credits the city’s most recent success to the hard work of his department along with the clear visionary leadership from his superiors. Dubai was compared to 40 different cities in the survey where there was a majority of both, Western and European cities in the contention. Some of these cities are a lot older compared to Dubai and that is a major source of pride for the CEO of RTA’s public transportation agency. The city’s transport service also believes strongly in helping people and delivering their promises on time, along with the use of latest technology to function efficiently.

Aspects Checked

In the poll that surveyed nearly 75,000 travelers, there was a lot more discussed than just the service and friendliness of the city’s Taxis. While Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo rank the highest for the quality of their Taxi service, while New York, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and Beijing were highly criticized for the quality of their transportation services. The different aspects of the survey included criteria such as:

  • Friendliness of the locals
  • Shopping
  • Ease of transport
  • Value for money
  • Cleanliness of the streets

Dubai received good reviews and positive feedback when it came to shopping, thanks to the some of the biggest malls in the world.

Commute by Taxi, Not a Bad Idea

With the reputation it has for being one of the top tourist destinations, it is necessary for the city to have a fleet of 8000 taxis at its disposal, managed by 8 different operators. Such a commodious task included 96 million trips, which could not be possible without sizable fleet of cars as in Dubai. The city prides itself on helping people and providing a hospitable environment, and the only way that reputation is maintained is through continuous struggles to make the city a better, and more suitable place for tourists and visitors. Managing a high profile situation such as the transport of countless tourists is indeed not an easy task, but Dubai seems to be managing quite extraordinarily.

Forging Stronger Ties With Excursionists Through World Wide Web

Day by day, online tourism domain is gaining strength all over the world, and the Middle East is also no exception in this context. However, the experts at the GCC e-tourism development conference have emphasized on delivering more interactive and communicative electronic services to gravitate online customers towards companies. Whether it is tourism products or services, users find online technologies very supportive in making decisions. Therefore, companies should concentrate on strategies to effectively communicate with the customers instead of suffering from stagnant user base. According to Dr. Usman Zafar, Board Advisor at ]init[ AG for Digital Communication, “More local companies are using online platforms, but they are not using technology to get value added services”.

Striking Up an Interactive Relationship with Online Consumers

Industry Head Travel – Gulf, Google, Marie de Ducla said: “In terms of technology adoption, customers in the Middle East are recognized as being sophisticated and technology savvy, which is evident in the high mobile and internet penetration rates. Hence, travel and tourism companies must prioritize their online marketing tools to advance their businesses and retain new customers”.

According to the experts at GCC e-tourism development conference, companies should create content that is conducive to consumer interaction all the more. Given the fact that globally Facebook is the most popular social media website among 77% of the users that make online registrations, Dr.Zafar said that companies should offer content that is exclusive to their Facebook pages so that consumers automatically draw to their pages. For instance, it would be a good start to let the consumers buy airfare tickets on companies’ Facebook pages.

Akvile Pareigyte, Digital Marketing Director at DM3, says that visual engagement can also help companies in getting the consumers to interact with the brand. Infographics are a great place to start with as the trend shows that consumers highly tend to share these with each other. Moreover, distribution strategy is as important as good content. Fine content would be of no use if it’s unapproachable. Pareigyte also said that companies should “tailor strategies to suit certain markets”. Given the fact that expats majorly inhabit the UAE, she stressed on companies’ need to create bilingual sites.

The Ripple Effect

Some of the companies that employed online strategies are already seeing positive results. Attracting over 4,000 participants, The Ajman Tourism Development Department has had a successful twitter campaign for the national day recently.

Moreover, a report by global travel market research firm, PhoCusWright, revealed that online bookings in the Middle East have grown by nearly a third this year. Online travel sales in the Middle East will grow to 31% from 2011 to almost $10.4bn this year, and are set to reach $15.8bn by 2014. In 2011, 39% of all online bookings in the Middle East were made through regional online travel agencies (OTAs), and the gross booking value via OTAs is set to nearly double from $3.1bn to $6bn by 2014.