Advertising & Marketing

UAE customers are influenced by personalization and trust when dealing with brands

Earning power and disposable income are no longer the most influential factors driving customer spending habits

Brands that deliver the best customer experiences achieve 54 per cent higher revenue growth than brands that are ranked poorly by customers. These same factors influence customer advocacy and loyalty, a new global report by KPMG has found. 

Locally, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Customer Experience Excellence report includes feedback from more than 1,500 customers, covering 44 brands across eight industries in the UAE. The study found that trust and personalization emerged as an important factor underpinning customers’ interactions. 

Leading brands analyzed in the report include Emirates Airline, VOX Cinemas, IKEA, Carrefour, Etihad Airways, Union Coop, Emirates NBD, Lulu Hypermarket, Virgin Mobile and Uber.

From a customer’s point of view, earning power and disposable income may no longer be the most influential factors when it comes to spending habits. Although budgets are still important, it seems customers are willing to pay a premium for accessibility, the improvement of self, or a unique service. Providing an exceptional customer experience has therefore become increasingly complex.

Farhan Syed, Head of Digital and Innovation, KPMG Lower Gulf, said: “In an increasingly digitalized world, customer interactions are occurring at a higher frequency across a range of platforms. Companies have realized that they must tailor their offerings to deliver an exceptional experience to continuously win over their customer base. 

“The KPMG Customer Experience Excellence report identifies brands in the UAE that are going above and beyond to deliver exceptional experiences. They are leveraging the exponential growth of technology, including access to consumer data, to provide increasingly tailored experiences and earn the respect of their customers.”

From among the industries analyzed, the Entertainment and Leisure sector performed seven percent higher than the market average, achieving first place among the eight industries in the survey. 

So, what factors may contribute to a winning formula? According to KPMG, brands that excel at being trustworthy, deliver and exceed customer expectations, have empathy, minimize customer effort, turn a disappointing experience into a positive one and offer a more personalized experience, are those that differentiate themselves from the rest. They are winning the trust and loyalty of their customers. 

About the Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) report

KPMG Lower Gulf analyzed 1,529 individual customer experiences with 44 different brands, spanning eight sectors (Entertainment and Leisure, Financial Services, Grocery Retail, Telecommunication, Non-Grocery Retail, Travel and Hotels, Utilities and Real Estate) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This report includes overall results of the study, utilizing KPMG Nunwood’s Six Pillars of experience excellence framework. 

KPMG’s Six Pillars provide a robust picture of customers’ experiences. While each Pillar is critical, exceeding expectations across multiple Pillars delivers an experience that is both memorable and unique, and drives Loyalty and Advocacy.

The Six Pillars include Personalization – demonstrating an understanding of customers’ specific circumstances and adapting the experience accordingly; Integrity – being trustworthy; Expectations – delivering and sometimes even exceeding customer expectations; Time and effort – minimizing customer effort and creating frictionless processes; Resolution – turning a disappointing experience into a positive one; and Empathy – demonstrating the emotional capacity to understand customer experiences.

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