Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Better customer service is the key to easy living

Good leaders respond quickly to the needs and frustrations of their people

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, inspecting Dubai International Airport last year. Wam
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, inspecting Dubai International Airport last year. Wam

Most people who have attempted to either send or receive post here can testify to what a trying process that is. From the difficulties of giving accurate addresses and even street names to postal workers, to the cost of postage and the lengthy queues at post offices, right through to the likelihood of parcels arriving at all, let alone on time, the experience can be a frustrating one. The inefficiencies of a system facing the challenges of delivering post in the desert are manifold. It is hugely reassuring, therefore, to know that these frustrations are not lost on the UAE’s leadership. Yesterday Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, revealed on Twitter that members of his team had embarked on a “secret shopper” test of Emirates Post’s services and found them falling far short of expected standards. He even went so far as to publish a photograph of a trailing queue at one branch, tweeting: “This is not our level. These are not our services … and whoever continues to provide such level of services will not be among my team”. He also posted a performance report in the interests of transparency. Such gestures naturally get plenty of traction on social media but beyond that, they are symptomatic of hands-on leaders who recognise shortfalls in services and attempt to rectify them. They send a clear message that no government-provided service, however apparently insignificant or minor, should fall below par.

Good leaders understand the needs and frustrations of their people. Even better ones act swiftly to make improvements where they are needed. There is a precedent for such decisive action. Last year, Sheikh Mohammed made a surprise visit to Dubai International Airport, where he called on staff to “raise the bar” after carrying out an impromptu inspection. And in 2016, he unexpectedly turned up at 7am at Dubai’s land registry department, to find no one at their desks, which led to a stern reprimand for its staff. In each case, he has called out shortcomings in services which impact the visitor’s and resident’s experience, from arriving at the airport to dealing with government bureaucracy and carrying out everyday tasks. To many, the idea of posting a parcel might seem trivial. To the UAE’s leaders, the quality of customer care one receives, whether at the airport or the post office, impacts on perceptions of the UAE, for those at home and abroad. In an era of convenience, improving the efficiency of government services might seem a small step but collectively, these transformations help create a comfortable and stress-free environment and enable countries like the UAE to fulfil aspirations of being among the best places to live in the world.

Updated: April 22, 2019 02:33 PM

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