Falak Hyat (January 24, 2014)
The use of mobile phones and quick access to websites through them, has led customers to do everything on the go. Customers now expect companies to be more accessible than ever, so they can reach to them with a touch of a few buttons.
The trend of ordering for food online is growing around the world, with some companies managing it very well, whereas other companies are still struggling to set up this service for their customers.
Companies in the UAE are also trying to set up proper online ordering systems and engaging customers in using more convenient channels to interact with the company and order. Ordering online surely saves more time, because customers don’t have to wait online for service reps to take orders and details, which can take up a lot of time.
Online ordering on the other hand takes less effort for the customer who can simply log into the website and place his order, without having to worry about whether the phone operator got it right or noted the delivery address properly.
However, customers of UAE are giving mixed reviews of their experiences with ordering for food online. Customers who are reluctant to order online claim they fear that the order might not be sent, or the website may have a glitch, because they will never really know until they get feedback from the website.
One solution for companies is to keep a feedback mechanism if they want to take orders online, so they can inform the customer – through text message, email or voice note – that their order has been successfully placed. This will encourage more customers to use the online ordering medium and save them from waiting on the phone line and also saves service reps from missing calls due to busy hours.
Mariam Ghazi, a 25-year-old marketing executive said, “I haven’t really tried ordering food online and I am not sure if I will consider it. It’s easier to describe your meal over the phone rather than writing it down or selecting it from a menu, although there are cases where they do make mistakes with phone orders.”
“Online ordering is supposed to make things easier for people, but what worries me is the one way communication or lack of verbal communication…a phone conversation is more comforting and assuring. It also helps you build a relationship with the restaurant you are dealing with,” Mariam said.
This shows that customers have still not fully moved on to social media and company websites to interact with them.
On the other hand, Hany Abu Al Aish, 24, an online analyst from Egypt said, “I’ve been doing it here in the UAE for the past three years and I can’t say how many times I have ordered online because I use it so frequently…maybe over 50 times.”
Nada Abdul Fattah, a 24-year-old computer engineer, said ““When I use the phone they get my order wrong almost every time or call me to confirm something. I highly recommend ordering online as it saves you from having to repeat yourself 20 times and spell out your name and address…It also saves me the hassle of being put on hold or pressing ‘1’ for Arabic or ‘2’ for English or having to call back later because nobody picked up”.
This shows that both channels have loop holes that need to be addressed by companies for improving their online ordering systems as well as their customer service over the phone. They should aim to make each channel supplement the other and work in synchronization.
For example if a customer places an online order, they should get a call or text of confirmation, and if they place an order on the phone they should get a text of their order and delivery time. This will make the customer trust the channel they are using and order more regularly.
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