Standout CX in the Middle East

From being the oasis of the Middle East to now being a leading, cutting edge, human centered country in the world, UAE has taken strides to being the most advanced country in the Middle East. The leadership has invested in the country’s resources, capability development, customer and citizen centric policies and operating models of its institutions and bodies with a fierce mindset to embrace the stride towards becoming an Experience Economy.

‘Happiness’ of its citizens, residents, expats and tourists are an integral aspect of how the government institutions work and an introduction of a Minister for Happiness in 2016, Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi and a national programme for Happiness are a testimony of their commitment to providing high level of experience from all of their government bodies. This Happiness program is not just led by the government and its various departments but is a partnership with the private sector, NGOs to foster conditions for their employees to flourish at work. Due to such focus, the UAE ranked number one in the Arab World for fourth consecutive year and ranked 20th among 156 countries globally in the UN Happiness Report.

I see a lot of companies actively engaging with the discipline of customer experience and the Gulf Customer Experience awards on the 18th of February 2020 will determine the best of the best. Some of the early adopters are already able to enjoy tangible benefits from their long-term customer experience programmes.


Emirates NBD is a retail bank in the UAE with great CX practice leading the CX benchmark in the Banking Sector, having won several awards and recognitions at BAI Global Innovation, Gulf Experience Awards as being the most Innovative Financial Services Organization. It created its CX vision as TOP which stood for Trust, Ownership and Personal touch. To reinforce the vision, it started celebrating International CX Day (run by CXPA) which was primarily celebrated by the Contact Center, Customer Service staff but then later expanded to the entire organization with a Customer service entire month to reinforce the overarching theme of TOP and further enhance its CX practice. The bank has invested heavily in Innovating the Customer Experience for its customers with Emirates NBD Future Labs focusing in exploring cutting edge technology, contextualizing experiences with its big data practice, creating digital first millennials platforms like Liv and investing in digital talent.


Starting with a mere two aircraft in 1985, Emirates Airline is the now the fourth largest carrier in the world in terms of international passengers flown. It’s another local UAE Airliner and a flagship Dubai’s brand which has transcended its excellence not just in the UAE but the entire world as one of the best when it comes to providing amazing customer experiences to its global customers irrespective of sector. It not only tops the local UAE Customer Satisfaction Index regularly beating international brands like Apple in Gulf Experience awards but features in the top global airlines. The way they keep reinventing their customer experience is by maintaining a young aircraft fleet, adding more products on board, be it on board WIFI, updated seat configurations in economy class, AR kits. They regularly run design thinking workshops to identify opportunities throughout the customer journey in the quest for personalization, deploying new concepts and ideas at different touchpoints, stakeholders from across the company regularly participate to ensure a 360 view on products and processes, intra company and cross functional teams pitch ideas to continually evolve the experiences in different crowdsourcing initiatives, use of data and feedback from surveys. Also, the loyalty program is a huge source of rich quality data which is used to further increase revenue by targeting loyal customers.

Majid Al Futtaim

The retail, entertainment and leisure giant leads the sectors in providing unique Customer Experience with its brands portfolio of Carrefour, Ski Dubai, Lego Stores, Vox Cinema and operations across the world. It launched “Create Great Moments Together” Campaign to encourage UAE residents to prioritize spending great moments with their loved ones which echoes across the entire group companies. Its Leadership Institute in Dubai is composed of 3 schools: the School of Leadership Development, the School of Analytics and Technology, and the School of Great Moments. The School of Great Moments is their flagship CX Program and Institute in developing capabilities across the entire organization on CX, enlightening, promoting, designing CX through Design Thinking and obsessing employees on providing great moments to its customers.

Olga Potaptseva