25 March, 2014

Customer Experience--The New Battleground for the Middle East's Telecoms

25 March 2014
Dubai, UAE -- Du, Etisalat and other telecommunications operators from across the region will descend in Dubai on Monday in the hopes of taking customer experience to the next level. Held from 30 March to the 1 April at the Grand Millennium Hotel in Dubai, the Customer Experience Management in Telecoms Middle East Summit is devoted to transforming what it feels like to subscribe to telecom services. The third edition of the Summit will explore emotional customer engagement, and sophisticated strategies for managing consumer experience and Big Data. This year's Summit will also feature the very first CEM in Telecoms Awards, honoring professionals who have made palpable differences to the lives of their customers.

Telecommunications companies have stopped trying to price out the competition with hot deals and low price floors. Today's major battles involve the quality of service and the best customer experience, says Etisalat's Amira Nagui, who will sit on a panel regarding the incorporation of the smartphone user experience in customer service models. "While in my opinion a customer-centric company should avail different channels for customers to speak to the company, those channels should be accessible at all times. Response should be comprehensive, friendly and timely. Consumers don't want to hear 'your question is directed to the relevant department'".

People undoubtedly drive the industry's spirited focus on customer needs. In response to dismissive attitudes, slow service, and the other knots that upset operators' hard work and agitate end-users, savvy and demanding customers take to social media to rail against the experiences, and are transforming the industry in the process. Alternatively, smooth and satisfactory service can make repeat customers and boost a company's reputation. This is especially true in the Middle East, where social media is the choice platform for news and entertainment.

Graham Webster, Director of Customer Experience at Telefónica explains that good customer service is both physical and emotional. "A better customer experience makes commercial sense, but emotional engagement is required to create fans." Webster brings years of customer experience management to CEM, where he will discuss a subsidiary's successful transformation into a frontrunner of customer satisfaction in a mature and competitive market.

A well-designed consumer experience makes it simple to do business, whether you are a customer, a supplier or an employee, says David Perrota, Group Director of Customer Experience at Zain. "I think organizations still don't recognize the true meaning of customer centricity and how to position it. I believe that the sole focus should be on fixing the basics and driving simplicity, both internally and for our customers."

For managers seeking to drive a consumer-centric culture internally, du CEO Osman Sultan will detail a strategy to CEOs during the keynote session. Through an open-floor discussion, Sultan will illustrate mechanisms that create and sustain a customer-focused corporate culture at every level.

Liz McSorley, Vice President of Customer Service at du, will present on how to embed a customer-centric culture throughout an organization, even for non-customer-facing departments. "Customer experience is increasingly leveraged as a point of difference for companies looking to compete. Therefore, it has become a critical strategy for growth," says McSorley. "This conference is representative of the thought leadership in the industry, as we continue to define, learn, shape and explore the commercial potential of Customer Experience for our shareholders and the communications sector."

The contest over customer service and an increased number of bids in the Middle East's telecommunications market have ramped up competition, setting the stage for Tier 2 and Tier 3 to enter the main stage. This year, Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators are attending the conference to gain the practical tools necessary to enhance their CEM offerings--a must for the health of the entire industry.

Commenting on the industry-wide acceptance of customer service as good business practice, Xia Chaojie, Vice President of Delivery and Services, Huawei Middle East, says "The right customer experience is key to boosting operational efficiency and building customer loyalty. It is with this understanding that leading operators are now evolving from an operational service strategy to a more customer-focused experience management model. That transition requires a holistic approach to an operator's core business, and is one that Huawei is committed to supporting along with industry partners at this year's CEM in Telecoms summit." 

The first day of the conference is wholly devoted to Big Data. In a series of panels and a roundtable discussion, Ali Rebaie of the Rebaie Analytics Group and Ahmed Abdelmageed of Zain will share their insight on the potential for more intelligent systems to enhance the customer experience. The exchanges will illustrate the power of analytics to help operator's measure sentiment and accelerate the trend towards personalizing the customer experience and predicting customer behavior.

In recognition of the difference that professionals have made in the lives of their customers, the CEM in Telecoms Awards will accompany the Summit. This year's shortlisted candidates are Du and Vodafone Qatar for Best CEM Brand; Alfa, TRA Bahrain and Vodafone Qatar for Best CEM Culture Transformation; Balteco, VIVA, Bahrain, and Vodafone Qatar for Best Contact Centre Experience; Ooredoo, Vodafone Egypt, and Vodafone Qatar for Best Online Experience; and Flytxt, Huawei, Mobily for the Most Innovative Use of Technology.

The awards ceremony will also spotlight a single individual for his or her dedication to customer experience management. The shortlisted contenders include, Deirdre Hutchinson, Head of Customer Care at Vodafone Qatar; David Perrotta, Group Director of Customer Service at Zain; and Osman Sultan, CEO of du.

The winners will be announced on 31 March 2014 by conference organizers IQPC.


IQPC is a global company specialized in creating, managing and operating high quality exhibitions, conferences and seminars, since 1973. Working in partnership with government, private organizations and corporate bodies, we pride ourselves on offering world-class exhibition and conference solutions. We have received accolades for the high quality of our events. IQPC now has offices in major cities across six continents including:  Doha, Riyadh, Bengaluru, Berlin, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Muscat, New York, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Tampa and Toronto. Each year IQPC offers approximately 2,000 worldwide exhibitions, conferences, seminars and related learning programs.

Radhika Sasidharan
IQPC Middle East
Tel: +971 4 360 2822

Tina Carter
Tel: +971 4 450 2608

© Press Release 2014