A qualitative analysis – first-of-its-kind initiative in the region led by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) – of the consumer experience in six key business sectors across Dubai shows coffee shops being rated topmost while hypermarkets came second followed by apparel, electronics, furniture and car agency sectors in that order. The rating was based on consumer opinions of individual outlets tracked over a period of nine months from April to December 2013 and consumer complaints received by DED as well as the extent of parity/fair pricing for a pre-determined basket of products/services. Consumers were asked to evaluate the outlet based on service quality, billing transparency and sharing of warranty information by salesperson in addition to overall satisfaction.
Omar Bushahab, CEO of the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in DED, says, “We wanted the rating to primarily focus on consumer experience. In a net score of 100, consumer opinion fetched the highest share of 60%, while the consumer complaints factor and fair pricing were given 20% each.” According to him, classifying retail outlets on the basis of consumer-friendliness will promote service excellence, competitiveness and cordial relations between consumers and retailers, while also building awareness on consumer rights and protecting them in line with DED’s strategic objective to encourage best practices in the retail sector. “The retail sector being a major driver of economic development in Dubai should reflect a high level of service quality and transparency that the emirate promotes as the hallmarks of its competitiveness. The ‘Consumer Friendliness Index’ will also help us evaluate the retail sector’s performance and areas that need improvement,” he adds.
The findings of the ‘Consumer Friendliness Rating’ study will be collated into a ‘Consumer-Friendliness Index’ and outlets that won outstanding customer approvals will be honoured in a special ceremony hosted by DED. The main aim of the rating process was to understand the level of compliance to the Consumer Code of Rights stated in the Federal Law No 24 of 2006 and reinforce the message that consumer rights protection is a shared responsibility between retailers and consumers.