Customer Experience Excellence report 2022.

Customer Experience Excellence report 2022.

The UAE’s non-grocery retail sector leads the CEE sector rankings in 2022, highlighting the value of digitization in a changing world. With eight brands among the top 20, the sector has proved the value of accelerating digital transformation to improve engagement with customers. Meanwhile the increasing number of customers discovering the ease and convenience of online shopping during the pandemic has driven a higher adoption and penetration of e-commerce.

While shopping malls are an integral part of Middle Eastern culture and customers are returning to stores now that restrictions have been eased, those same customers are increasingly using their mobile devices in-store to both research and asses the products they intend to buy online. These changes in customer behaviour provide an opportunity for brands to engage while also presenting a series of key challenges.

Chief among them is the need for brands to adapt their user experience and design in line with industry leading practices. Brands must also overcome any discrepancy between the expectations created by convenient digital front ends and the actual processing time in the back-end, as well as improve their digital delivery capabilities to reduce time to market. As brands encourage customers to use digital channels, they must also reset their service capabilities from a customer perspective to strike the right balance of self-service capabilities (such as an AI chatbot), process automation and human support that is vital and truly differentiating in an increasingly digitized world.

One brand that respondents indicated is achieving the right balance between human interaction and digital success is Emirates, which retains its place at the top of the UAE CEE brand rankings in 2022. Our survey participants believe that in the past twelve months the airline has listened to its customers and delivered a reliable customer experience based on a legacy of excellent service and customer engagement.

Leading in all six CEE pillars, Emirates continues to build a reputation for providing a well-executed end-to-end customer experience. The UAE airline received positive customer feedback for its ability to provide the right level of assistance before take-off - from ticketing via an easy-to-use app to support rescheduling due to Covid - and while in the air.

Recognizing the value of customer loyalty, Emirates extended their rebooking waivers for all customers as the world started to open up post-Covid - a move that seems to have boosted the Trust and Integrity pillars. The airline also introduced new ways for its loyal customers to earn air miles while extending the expiry date of the air miles those customers had already banked.

Customers did highlight two key areas for improvement - price and food. Emirates appears to be listening. It has launched two initiatives as part of a total USD 2bn investment in CX to address the quality of its in-flight dining and, when it comes to price, customers mentioned that though Emirates is more expensive than its competitors, most are happy to pay if their experience does not change.

Resilience is key to harnessing opportunities: the most successful companies are those that put the customer at the heart of all that they do, and can rapidly adapt their strategies and ways of working. Customers today no longer merely expect exceptional service, but also want the organizations they engage with to be leading the way in terms of inclusion, diversity, and sustainability—reducing their carbon footprint while ensuring employees across the supply chain are treated and compensated ethically. Seamless adoption of emerging technologies, the Metaverse, AI and Web3 helps differentiate companies which are viewed as bleeding edge.

Suryanka Jatain
Partner, Head of Customer Advisory
KPMG Lower Gulf

2022 Top Ten

  01. Emirates

  02. IKEA

  03. Carrefour

  04. Vox Cinemas

  05. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank


  07. Etihad Airways

  08. Marks & Spencer


  10. Lulu Hypermarket