Mr. Mounir Bensegueni has extensive experience in Real Estate and Facilities Management Industry. His career spans 17 years of Business Development and managerial experience across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He launched OCS’s first facility in Qatar in 2012, and inaugurated their second facility in May this year.
In this interview, he shares his insights about marketing trends, consumer behavior and the need for customer service in business development.
Q: What is the vision behind OCS?
Mounir Bensegueni: OCS is UK’s largest privately owned facilities management company. It is a family owned global company with regional offices throughout the world. It currently generates revenue of $1.2 billion, providing 80 services in 40 countries, employing a workforce of 90,000 employees. They expanded in the Middle East in 2012, launching their first facility in Doha, Qatar in partnership with Tadmur Holdings, one of Qatar’s most well established real estate companies. They launched their Emirates based office at the FM EXPO in May this year with their third facility set to launch in Saudi Arabia in the third quarter of 2014.
Q: As Director of Business Development for OCS, how do you help them take this vision forward?
Mounir Bensegueni: There are similarities in the quality management of real estate and the Facilities Management industries. Having over 17 years of business development experience in the Middle East and having a facilities management company as one of our clients, I was able to utilize my local knowhow and knowledge of local market standards and practices, to help launch OCS as one of our subsidiaries in Doha.
Q: With over 17 years of Marketing and Business Development experience, in your opinion what are the emerging marketing trends that influence consumer buying behavior?
Mounir Bensegueni: In a country where more than 80 percent of the population is foreign and highly diverse, it can be tricky calculating set marketing trends for consumer buying behavior. However, it can be noted that as social media usage witnesses unprecedented growth, we discover that simple and customized text messages catering to specific target audiences and relevant social media channels will play key in getting the marketing message across to the right buyers. Too often we see companies making the mistake of posting the same message on the same social mediums, the same message on print mediums and the same message on other forums without realizing that each marketing medium has an audience that is different having its own set of analytics. Marketing messages need to be customized and simplified according to the marketing medium that they will be directed at to reach the right people.
Q: How important is the role of good Customer Service in ‘closing the deal’?
Mounir Bensegueni: In our industry, interaction with the customer is limited before closing the deal as most business is conducted through the process of bidding for tenders, submitting proposals and so forth. On occasion customer service comes into play in presenting our capabilities when it comes to service demos and presentations. But undoubtedly our ability to demonstrate we deliver great customer service to our present customer base strengthens our proposition to new customers and undoubtedly assists in closing new deals.
Q: What Customer Service processes does OCS have in place?
Mounir Bensegueni: We have very thorough quality management, monitoring and assessment processes in place. To begin with we have a contact center where our clients call in and are directed to and assisted by the relevant point of contact and department. All calls are monitored and regularly assessed to ensure we are doing our best in assisting our clients effectively and efficiently. Upon completion of a service request, our clients are provided with a feedback form to ensure that the job has been done to their satisfaction and in a timely manner. This is followed up by a visit from a staff supervisor who establishes a channel of close communication with the client to ensure smooth functionality of service processes.
Q: What are the key differences that you see between the behavior of local and International customers?
Mounir Bensegueni: There are 2 key differences between local and international customers. The primary one is a lack of local knowledge, followed by adaptability. The local customer knows and understands the standard business practices, knows what to expect and knows the manner in which business will be conducted. International customers have preferences and expectations that are based on the business ideologies they are familiar with from back home and are not as easily adaptive due to a lack of local knowhow. Their expectations and demands of services and standards are different from those that the local market has to offer.
Q: How significant of a role do you think E-Commerce is playing in the growth and profitability of businesses in the Middle East?
Mounir Bensegueni: With the rapid growth of social media usage throughout the Middle East, we are beginning to see the emergence of E-commerce in certain industries such as real estate and automotive industries. On an overall corporate level, it is still way behind traditional commerce as a marketing medium. It will be a few years before we will see a significant shift in the direction of E-commerce. However, with the unstoppable growth of social media marketing and usage in the Middle East, coupled with global trends shifting in the direction of E-commerce, trends in the GCC countries are sure to change with E-commerce developing as a major force in business marketing and growth in the next decade.
Q: Do you feel that technology enhances the customer experience?
Mounir Bensegueni: It depends on customer expectations and differs from customer to customer. For people living in fast paced environments and lifestyles where “time is money,” technology will play a more important role in customer preference and satisfaction for service with speed.
Q: How does OCS go about keeping the customers happy?
Mounir Bensegueni: It is our motto to treat all our customers with honesty and respect. If we can go the extra mile for them, we will. If we cannot provide the services they require, we simply tell them “we cannot.”, rather than subcontract or not deliver properly. Our customers appreciate our honesty and authenticity. We will not promise something that we can’t deliver. By ensuring transparency and honesty with all our procedures and establishing channels of close communication, we have successfully built a two way system of confidence and trust with our customers.
Q: What are the future plans of your company towards improving the customer experience?
Mounir Bensegueni: In the future we will be looking at employing customer service experts to analyze our customer service practices and procedures, evaluate our customer satisfaction levels from a third party point of view and guide us in areas where there is need for improvement on top of our current procedures in place.