Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Customer service is about serving customers

Customer service in the UAE can either be hit or miss...I'd say 90% of the time, it's a miss...but, looking at the bright side, this means that the 10% of the time when it's a hit, one can only be blown away, because the bar is set so low to begin with.

I've been to a few restaurants lately where the service was simply abysmal. Orders were messed up, the food took ages to get there, dishes got served at different times, dishes were cold...(all of the above happened to me recently in one restaurant by the way. Never again, trust me!). Now, I understand that some restaurants can have an "off day" once in a while, but you'd expect that the staff are empowered enough to provide SOME sort of compensation to the customer...But no, usually, all you get is a "I'm sorry Mam, I'm sorry Sir" and that's it. Nothing to actually show us customers that they're even remotely bothered by the fact that we're basically paying money to get treated like crap.

Language barrier is one issue, but training is the bigger issue I believe. When you hire staff for your restaurant, you make sure they've studied the dishes, tried them, been informed about what can be replaced/added to the dishes, been trained when it comes to keeping an eye out on the tables they are serving to make sure their customers do not require anything, take the customer's order in a timely manner, and bring the bill no later than 5 minutes after you've asked for it. I mean, the basics really. I'm not expecting Michelin-star service here!

And it doesn't stop at restaurants. Shopping outlets also need to step up their game. Greet customers when they walk in. Keep an eye out and help them out with sizes if you think they're looking for something specific. Place the clothes in the changing rooms while the customer is browsing. Again, I'm not saying stalk the customer every step of the way (that's a turnoff too!)...just...be there for the customer. I can't even begin to remember the number of times I've simply walked out of an outlet because I can't find anyone to help me...

In beauty salons for example, nothing is more annoying than sitting there, patiently, while the technicians are chit chatting amongst themselves. Chit chatting while getting the service done is borderline acceptable (although in all honesty, I would much prefer some peace and quiet), but chit chatting away while the customer is waiting for all 10 fingernails to be painted is just frustrating.

But then, once in a while, you catch that silver lining. The waiter who's on the ball, has answers to all your questions, and even manages to crack a joke or two (without being cheesy)...Or that customer sales rep at Dewa who actually knows what documents you need when you want to move to a new place. Or the shop assistant who suggests to call other branches to find that must-have pair of shoes in a size 38...Once in a while, your expectations are surpassed...Once in a while, service in the UAE is a hit.

Once in a while.

33 comments:

sky said...

"The waiter who's on the ball, has answers to all your questions, and even manages to crack a joke or two (without being cheesy)..."

Are you referring to Nico? :)

2020hindsight said...

I had a delightful experience at a Starbucks today which was most unexpected. A young lass greeted me with a huge welcoming smile, and a "How are you today ?", she took my order, repeated it (correctly) and then served me the drink (again correctly). The place was fairly empty and I could hear her singing away to herself (a good voice, in tune) as she merrily went around dusting shelves and products on sale.

Most unexpected, and most enjoyable.

I shall of course go there again.

Dubai Sunshine said...

Haha :) Ya Nico was cool. We liked Nico.

2020: see! That's what I'm talking about...doesn't take much to make a customer happy. Just some simple, basic customer service.

Seabee said...

It's a sad comment on Dubai's standard of service that what would be the norm in other places we get all excited about!

Faisal Haji said...

I don't think that this reflects the standards in the city itself rather than the inadequate managers of those resturants. Many of these venues are internationally recognized but the staff is poorly trained and are only looking to hire the cheapest (most of the time they lack any skills). Another aspect is the stereotype and ethnic factor. That is, you find a manager of certain ethnicity who will hire his/her own ethnic members without proper interview or training.

Nicholas said...

there some restaurant have very poor service, but not all..

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Dubai Property said...

What a nice quote about customer service. It is really true and it is the key of success for most of the businesses and industries in this era. In fact, in this era no business can survive without goo customer satisfaction.

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Out and About in Dubai said...

You must go to Le Petit Maison in DIFC - best service I have ever received here in Dubai. I almost felt like I was in a New York restaurant of similar caliber.

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Babak Nemaei said...

still i guess is very bad that 90% pf the time its a miss i had experienced it many times in dubai specially in restaurant usually the customer service is very bad which make me not to go the same resturant more than once
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