“Al Maha” Customer Service

free essayCustomers are one of the most significant aspects of any business, because they activate the processes aimed at bringing profit from the entrepreneurs’ activity. The realization of this fact means a lot for the owner of the business, managing personnel and average workers, because they start associating good customers with profitability. However, it is evident that the behavior of a client greatly depends on the quality of service and customer-related issues. That is why more customer-oriented businesses are in a beneficial position, because they attempt to meet the expectations of the client. Instead, business processes, which are distracted from the customers and focused on other aspects, tend to lose clients. Thus, there is a need for performing the investigation of the factors, which influence the customer’s positive attitude and loyalty to enterprises.

“Al Maha” Customer Service Manager Interview Report

The following report was conducted in order to present the comprehensive information about the aspects of customer service at Al Maha. The interviewee was Ahmad Hakim (name changed because of the interviewee’s request), who is the senior manager of the customer service department at “Al Maha”. The interview explored the three basic aspects, which are customer service strategies, barriers to customer service, and principles of the creation of the customer value. The obtained answers were analyzed and transformed into the form of a report in order to provide the best comprehensibility of the issue. Moreover, the report is provided with additional recommendations, which allow “Al Maha” to improve its quality of service and increase the number of positive feedbacks from its customers.

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Background Information about the Company

Before reporting the critical points of the interview, it is essential to characterize the business and its core activities. Thus, “Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa” is a hotel business located in Dubai. It positions itself as a luxury segment hotel, which is approved by its seven star-points international rating of the hotel quality (“Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai”, n. d.). The hotel has a variety of benefits ranging from its location, infrastructure, exterior and interior design to outstanding customer service and care. Among the mentioned benefits, one can name convenient parking facilities, 50 minutes drive from downtown Dubai, 24/7 concierge service, timeless spa, 4 restaurants and bars, various desert activities and other (“Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai”, n. d.). The hotel is located in palm oasis and showcases the architecture of the Bedouins in order to create a unique atmosphere of the host country meeting the clients with hospitality.

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Customer Service Strategies Implemented by the Company

A set of customer service strategies is extremely crucial in order to create an effective customer-oriented business. A strategy is a plan for the positive action, which is required for accomplishing the goals of the business activity and determining the proper level of customer service (Harris, 2000). It is essential to consider different aspects of strategic making, which incorporate the general customer-oriented policy. The first aspect is planning, which allows the employers to schedule their daily work and duties. Depending on the stage of the plan, the workers of Al Maha select a range of activities, which are divided into two groups being customer and business oriented. Business oriented duties usually involve operations, such as accounting, cleaning and other, which do not require the interaction with customers. Meanwhile, customer oriented actions are the work at rooms, restaurants, rest rooms, pools and other facilities, in which the employees contact with clients. Therefore, the workers of customer oriented zones have a set of rules, which are required for meeting the customer’s demands. Their schedule begins earlier and ends later because of the need for constant preparedness for the assistance to clients.

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Other crucial aspects of the strategic planning are infrastructure and culture, which the interviewee sees as the “jar” and “the fluid that fills it.” This metaphor represents the meaning of infrastructure as the setting, which encompasses people and integrates them into the local culture. The hotel has a special accent on the creation of a unique clients’ experience of being in a Bedouins’ location in the desert. At the same time, hospitality is one of the cultural values, which is represented for workers as the benefit of the Bedouins. Therefore, the hotel creates a corporate culture of respect to customers. Moreover, the visit of the customers and their stay are presented as an honor to the clients, whereas it is honorable for them to stay at the hotel setting. As a result, employees and customers respect each other and eagerly integrate into the created infrastructure.

Additionally, a special accent is given to the analysis of the consumption behavior and market segmentation. It is evident that the company’s clients are rich people and those, who have the financial power and economic or governing authority, while being highly valuable customers. Therefore, the duty of the company is to obtain the information about their preferences and tastes. Consequently, the customer service department has a framework, which segments their customers depending on the geographic and demographic segmentation (Harris, 2000). These aspects are critical, because the UAE is a Muslim country with its rules, which are based on the laws of religion. It is evident that the guests from the USA or Scandinavian countries may have different preferences, which should go along with the local rules. Similarly, there are gender policies, which are explained to foreign visitors in case they decide to go about the country. These aspects are critical, because the company does not want its clients to get into difficulties because of the lack of awareness of local legal and religious regulations. At the same time, the company tracks the activities that are more or less popular among clients, which allows substituting or changing them in order to obtain positive feedbacks. The most essential part of the plan is created on the basis of the factors and cases, which presented barriers to customer service and were fixed after their exposure.

How It Works

Barriers to Customer Service

As any company, Al Maha has had various difficulties, which contributed towards achieving of the best possible level of service. In general, they can be divided into several categories on the basis of their causes. Among them, the manager indicates a cultural misunderstanding, personnel’s flaws, structural disparities and customer initiated reasons. Thus, the aspect of cultural misunderstanding often took place, when the representatives of the non-Muslim culture wanted to save their right for the behavior as in their native countries. However, despite the local population is not hostile, it values the laws of their religion regarding men and women. As a consequence, some of the clients, who managed to leave the hotel without consulting with the personnel, had arguments with the Arabic representatives. This problem was mitigated in a complex way, involving all related stakeholders. For example, the hotel created a printed guide for the visitors, who leave to downtown Dubai or any Arabic setting. The guide explained the major causes of cultural problems and incorporated a set of instructions for avoiding them. Similarly, the company hired guides, who have a duty of assisting the customers in their will to go about the country. Moreover, the local population gradually got used to foreign visitors and their behavior as well as was instructed to assist the clients in the case they have troubles. Some of the locals even got payment for their assistance for those, who trapped in the desert with broken vehicles.

Furthermore, personnel’s flaws were mainly caused by inexperienced individuals, who were not aware about the peculiarities of their job. The company launched the qualification courses in order to mitigate the issue. As a consequence, the problem reduced almost down to several cases per year, which is one of the best achievements of the company. Similarly, the aspects of structural disparities as well as other issues were mostly mitigated by the creation of the customer feedback service. It allowed the company to obtain the most relevant information regarding the drawbacks of the facilities and perspectives for their improvement. However, one of the rarest and least manageable problems was customer initiated reasons, which were caused by extremely demanding clients. It was not clear whether those clients were aware of their inappropriate conduct or they required counseling, but those several cases involved clients arguing with the personnel and damaging the facility. It was decided that the company does not want to see them again, which is why they were added to the customer black list, and their data was handled to other hotels in the UAE. Such actions were needed to obtain an additional support from the competitors, and it was agreed that this data should be shared by all hotel related businesses in the UAE. Therefore, the mentioned barriers and the ways of their lessening allow to understand that the Al Maha cares for its customers and reputation. Similarly, they allowed creating the customer value by a series of significant inventions.

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Creating the Customer Value

Creation of the customer value is especially precious for businesses, because it allows customers serving as advertisers of the services provided by the company. Therefore, the personnel of Al Maha aspired for the creation of customer value by means of increasing the range of services and the convenience of the customer feedback provision. Similarly, the company values the customers’ equity as well as it presents a fair business based on loyalty to the company’s mission and vision, which is to provide the best possible level of service. The analysis of feedbacks demonstrates that 96 per cent of the customers recommend visiting the hotel (“Starwood Hotels & Resorts”, n. d.). Thus, the customer’s value of the company is outstanding, which is supported by the detailed review of the feedback. The success of the company was caused by its particular attention to the spheres related to customers. The reason for it is the general policy to amaze the client not only with the picturesque landscapes and infrastructure, but the attitude of personnel. It is significant to note that the analyzed strategy of customer-related services and mitigation of the problems allowed Al Maha to take one of the first position of the top 25 hotels in the UAE (“Top 25 hotels in United Arab Emirates”, n. d.). One of the undoubtful benefits of Al Maha is the creation of a client-oriented corporate culture, which makes the company an honorable place for work and visit. As a result, workers and customers of the company value each other and have only a positive experience.

Recommendations for the Improvement

The analysis of the reviews indicates that the customers value the company’s comfort, responsiveness of the staff as well as food and beverage. Similarly, the clients had a positive experience of the high quality sleep and rest. However, one of the claims that slightly deteriorated the quality of the feedback is the level of SPG recognition (“Starwood Hotels & Resorts”, n. d.). This function usually grants clients with certain benefits and discounts such as the reduced payment for the activity admission or food and beverage purchase. The analysis of this issue revealed the fact that the policy of the hotel does not go along well with this aspect. Consequently, it is advised that the management of the company increases the level of SPG recognition and introduces a wider range of discounts for the members of this program. As a result, this measure will increase the number of customer’s positive feedbacks.

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Summarizing the presented information, the paper concludes that Al Maha is a company with the customer service of outstanding quality, which makes its business profitable and attracts clients. The performed interview of the representative of the customer service department allowed exploring several critical aspects, which resulted in the company’s success. They are the customer-oriented strategic planning and the careful analysis of the human and system caused drawbacks, which reduced the number of positive experiences of the customers. Therefore, an adequate approach to the needs of the customers allowed mitigating intercultural and systemic drawbacks and maximizing the level of provided services. As a consequence, Al Maha is one of the companies with the extremely positive customer value based on the fair reports and customers’ feedbacks. At the same time, this outstanding level of service may be increased in case the company extends its level of SPG recognition. This measure will allow its clients to obtain discounts on various hotel’s services and goods, which will positively reflect on its reputation.

Interview Questions

  1. What is your name and position in the company?
  2. What aspect of the company do you find unique?
  3. Does the company have any strategies in terms of customers? What are they?
  4. Does your company have a corporate culture?
  5. Who are your customers?
  6. Do you use the approach of market segmentation towards your customers?
  7. What is the relation of the customers and the staff?
  8. Is there a feedback system?
  9. Do the workers often interact with the clients?
  10. What positive aspects do the customers highlight? What do they expect?
  11. Is the company able to meet the expectations of the customers?
  12. Has the company faced any troubles with the customers in recent years?
  13. What were the main customer-related issues? Was the company able to overcome them? In which way?
  14. Has the quantity of the positive feedbacks improved?
  15. How can you explain the level of customer value regarding your company? Can it be increased? In what way?
  16. Do you need any opinion regarding the approaches you practise in the sphere of customer care?
  17. Are you happy with your occupation? Can you say the same about your staff and the customers? What is the reason for happiness or unhappiness?