Last week I had the opportunity to Chair the Retail Day at the GITEX Technology event in Dubai, UAE. It was a unique experience in many ways, but there was one takeaway that I could not get out of my mind during my stay at the JW Marriott Marquis — not just because it is the “tallest hotel in the world.”
The staff at the JW went above and beyond every moment of every day, in the most genuine way. They sincerely seemed to want to know what they could do to make my stay better, provide a better experience and help in whatever way possible. So much so that I concluded that I probably would not complain about a lot of issues I might complain about in a U.S. hotel, restaurant or store.
The employees at the JW also took the time to ask questions about my visit, my home and my interests. I, in turn, asked them about the same — and I had some really nice conversations with them.
I’ve often noted, recently, that I feel like some of the store employees, restaurant workers and/or hotel service providers are specifically trained to act like they don’t care. It’s that bad sometimes. And I’ve spoken with many retail executives about the importance of employee training and motivation, often to receive a helpless stare. So many retailers today feel like it’s hopeless to train and motivate employees to provide excellent customer service.
Maybe it has a lot to do with the culture in the UAE vs. the USA. I did hear stories about how the police and lawmakers take even the most minor infraction very seriously. In fact, I was told you could literally go to jail for giving someone “the finger.” So, maybe the people living and working in that type of culture learn to be overly respectful and considerate. On the level of customer service, I would say that’s a good thing.