UAE banks getting better?

Customer service at UAE banks improving - survey

Customers in the UAE are happier with services offered by their banks now than they were during the boom period, it was reported on Sunday.

Service quality performance went up 9.3 percent to 78.2 percent this year compared to 68.9 percent last year, according to the Bank Benchmarking Study undertaken by Ethos Consultancy.

The economic crisis has led to a "pragmatic shift" in banks' attitude and customer retention was now the key focus, said the study of 27 banks based in the UAE, Emirates Business reported.

However, the research, which showed improvement in performance of call centres, attending to customers at branches and through websites, also said that banks needed to effectively cross-sell and collect customer data and these were the top two challenges they continue to face.

"Customer service has become quite important now and banks are focusing a lot on improving their relationship with the existing customers and retaining them by measures such as providing them with more and improved services," Halima Anderson, Director of Operations with Ethos Consultancy, told the paper.

"In 2008, a booming UAE economy meant banks could afford to ignore service quality, they focused on customer acquisition. However, 2009's crisis has created a paradigm shift."

The study also found many banks lagging in various areas, including the time taken in answering customer calls, waiting time, the way employees greeted customers, whether the customers received correct and sufficient information and follow-ups from banks.

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