The Gulf Customer Experience Awards enables businesses across the Gulf to compete for the ultimate accolade in the world of Customer experience. I have the honour being a member and chair of the jury. Every year I am touched off the inspiring story’s from the finalists. What can we learn and get inspired from the best of the best? In the Customer Experience Awards 2020 RAKEZ attained a gold award in the category of ‘Customers at the Heart of Everything’, silver award for ‘CX Team of the Year’, and ‘Overall Winner’. I am thrilled, in this blog Doaa Besaiso – RAKEZ Customer Experience Projects Officer – shares the RAKEZ story.

Rakez overall winner

Customers at the Heart of Everything: RAKEZ’s CX Transformation Journey

Customer Experience (CX) is such a buzzword in the service industry these days and for a good reason. More and more companies are transforming the way they do business, acknowledging a simple mindset: happy customers mean good business.

One of the organisations that recently reviewed its existing CX and rolled out new initiatives to enhance their customers’ journey is Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ), among the fastest growing business and industrial hub in the UAE.

The beginning

The transformation of RAKEZ’s service culture started with a simple question that led to the formation of its whole CX foundation: What is RAKEZ’s purpose? A series of sessions have been conducted that involved 120 employees who helped find out the reason why RAKEZ exists and that is to “make life easy”.

As Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” For RAKEZ, the same concept applies. The day you know why your organisation exists, is the first and most important milestone towards success.

Reverse thinking

From knowing its why, RAKEZ went on to change its mindset. More than 45 free zone in UAE are offering the same products and services. RAKEZ knew it needed to think differently to differentiate itself from its competitors. And it is then that it adapted the reverse thinking model where it placed the customers at heart of everything it does.

This is unlike the traditional way of thinking which usually starts with the products and services and ends up with the customer experience as final output.

Implementation

Of course, an unparalleled CX is nothing but a dream without implementation. RAKEZ involved its entire family. It launched Purpose awareness session to 440 employees with an aim to get everyone onboard on the journey. Surprisingly, with encouragement from the management, introducing and embracing the purpose did not come off as a challenge as everyone showed willingness and enthusiasm.

Once employees were ready, RAKEZ moved to mapping its customers’ journey, which helped the authority to understand its customers’ pains and gain. It was able to identify the gaps and design solutions to close them. Then, RAKEZ has set its experience ambition which is providing the best-in-class service throughout customer journey by removing the hurdles, adding value, and helping its customers become successful.

Of course, CX innovation would not be possible without the digital transformation. RAKEZ introduced Portal 360 and digitised the important journeys of its customers. In addition, RAKEZ enhanced the processes of demanded services and offered them online to offer increased accessibility to its clients wherever and whenever. Its next move in this arena is launching a mobile app, which is happening soon.

Lesson Learned

What went well

  • Staff engagement is increasing. We are happy to see that more employees are sharing their ideas/initiatives towards improving the experience we provide to our customers.
  • We got quick results, which is encouraging the employees to continue embracing the purpose.
  • Working on multiple strategic initiatives such as Purpose, Journeys, Global Star Rating, etc. has contributed in elevating employees’ knowledge towards the customers’ experience/journey as well as the required transformation to put our customers at the heart of everything that we do.
  • Employees have started to realise that working cross-functional as one team can really help in achieving goals instead of working in silos.
  • RAKEZ has been awarded with two distinguished Awards in October 2019.
  • Finally, we can say that we are still a long way to go, we are having a lot of fun in the process.

What didn’t go well

  • In any organisation, the focus is usually on operational excellence, profit and cost-cutting. It took us a bit of time to convince everyone to go for a more customer-centric approach.
  • There has been resistance in the beginning, which is normal, since there are quite a few that needed more understanding on how this will add value to our business.

What we learned

  • We learned that communication and engagements are very crucial to keep the ball rolling.
  • Showing the business value, after linking the experience strategy with the business vision, is very important to get the senior management’s blessing to launch new strategic initiatives.
  • When changing a culture, it is better to take things slow to get more impactful results.

Recognitions

RAKEZ’s CX journey has just started but it has already been recognised by different prestigious award-winning bodies such as the Employer Branding Awards 2019, which named RAKEZ as the Best Employer Brand in the GCC at the 6th Employer Branding Awards in 2019.

As well as the Gulf Customer Experience Awards 2020, where RAKEZ attained a gold award in the category of ‘Customers at the Heart of Everything’, silver award for ‘CX Team of the Year’, and ‘Overall Winner’.

All these achievements come in recognising RAKEZ’s efforts in concreting its position as the best customer experience provider in the GCC.
RAKEZ has a long way to go in its goal of offering nothing but the best to its stakeholders but has definitely set off on the right foot.

Doaa Besaiso Customer Experience Projects Officer Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) Doaa Besaiso is Customer Experience Projects Officer. Her role is to lead and oversee customer experience projects and CX strategic initiatives that will eventually drive operational efficiency, excellence and enhance customer experience. Mrs Besaiso is a solutions-focused and customers and results-oriented leader with more than 13 years of experience in business operations, change management, journey mapping and process optimisation. She led many initiatives across the organisation to reinforce change and innovation focusing on three core pillars; employees’ competencies, technology and CX digital transformation, and the processes optimisation. Before joining the customer experience field, Ms Besaiso started her career in training and development. She is fluent in English and Arabic, and holds a bachelor degree in Business Information System and a postgraduate diploma in Human Resources Management (Associate CIPD), in addition to being a certified auditor for quality and environment management system. Just recently, she represented RAKEZ in Gulf Customer Experience Award 2020 and came out as the overall winner. She can be contacted via Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/in/doaa-besaiso-2a827211/