Lt. General Saif Abdullah Al Sha'far, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior said that, through its various programs and initiatives, the government is seeking to achieve quality performance in service delivery across government entities, and to guarantee services that exceed the expectations of customers. “This measure aims at ensuring that the UAE government’s practices are on par with the best standard practices for government services development; and to upgrade quality of these services, in line with the Government's efforts to achieve the UAE Vision 2021,” he said.

Lt. General Al Sha’far made these comments at the inaugural Customer Service Forum titled “Excellence in Customer Service and Global Challenges”. The forum which was organized by the Customer Service Department at the Directorate General of Strategy and Performance Development, the General Secretariat of the Office of H.H Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, was held on Sunday, in Dubai. Adding further, Lt. General Al Sha’far said: “A number of customer services centers at the ministry have managed to obtain a 5-star rating, which is a highly valued achievement worthy of recognition. However, we need to rise to the challenge with an unwavering determination, in pursuance of the visions and directives of the UAE leadership, in order to develop these services with a view to attain the seven-star rating. Such an endeavor is not an easy task, but nothing is impossible for the people of the UAE, and just requires further care, innovation and creativity.”

The Forum was attended by Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director of Directorate General of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, along with a number of senior officers from the Ministry of Interior. During the forum, Lt. General Al Sha’far  emphasized that customers and service recipients are a top priority for the Government, which is always keen to improve the customers’ experience and provide them with better services through different means and mechanisms that save them effort and time. “The Government also strives to promote mutual trust between service providers and customers, in a way that makes them feel important during their presence in the service centers,” he noted.

For his part, Colonel Nasser Khadem Al Ka'bi, Head of the Customer Service Department at the Ministry of Interior, delivered the opening speech, by which he said: “Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE,  and his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, our government has launched and implemented several initiatives and programs aimed at developing government services, which are key to measure work strategies and development plans and the basis for work quality and services in government agencies.”

Furthermore, Colonel Al Ka’bi noted that ministries and government institutions in the country operate based on an optimal management system that seeks to improve government work, and is constantly improving procedures, by qualifying service delivery personnel. “This approach qualified the UAE to compete globally in the field of government services,” he continued.

Colonel Al Ka’bi also noted that the Ministry of Interior has dedicated significant attention to develop its services, promote customer service, and improve the competencies of customer service personnel, so as achieve the UAE Vision 2021, in line with the strategic approach adopted by the federal government and with the strategic plans of local governments. He added: “As a part of its strategic plan, the Ministry of Interior has adopted a number of projects and initiatives to develop and improve its services offered to customers in a way that exceeds their expectations.”

The forum was attended by service centers directors from federal and local government sectors, private sector institutions, and the communications sector. The attendees shared successful experiences, reviewed international best practices and identified successful strategies adopted by distinguished service institutions in order to advance to the highest levels and achieve the best results..

Hessa Essa Buhumaid, Executive Director - Government Services Sector - Prime Minister’s Office, submitted a paper about the International Stars Rating System; highlighting the government’s plan to attain a 7-star rating  across all service delivery channels of the government . Buhmaid also talked about innovation in the delivery of services and building a culture of excellent and efficient services provided to customers. “The government seeks to elevate the delivery of government services to the public to 7-star level, with a view to ensure the welfare and happiness of customers,” she indicated.

Moreover, Buhmaid gave an overview of the different forms and channels of government services delivery. She said: “Out of the 187 customer service centers across the country, eight were rated five stars; 77 rated four stars; and 102 rated three stars.

Ahmed Mahboob, Head of the Customer Service Department at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), submitted a paper about the customer service strategy adopted by RTA in Dubai. “The RTA adopts the highest standards of quality to ensure customer satisfaction, through the quality of the various services provided via the customer service centers affiliated to RTA in Dubai, and by implementing universal standards in the field of customer service, on par with the best practices in this field,” he said.

Consultant Mark Karcich, from an international management consultancy company, talked during the Forum about the secrets of excellence in customer service and the most prominent global challenges in this field. “Stability and continuity constitute an important requirement in service delivery. Innovation and creativity are very important components of service delivery, in addition to clear service standards, and neutral assessment of services,” he said. Karcich also stressed the need to identify customers’ preferences and trends and the channels through which they wish to receive the service.

Participants in the forum also attended a presentation showcasing the experience of Etihad Airways in providing service to customers, presented by Wissam Hachem, Vice President of Learning & Development at Etihad Airways. A team from the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai led by Abdulaziz Al Ansari, Assistant Director of Government Sales and Protocols Department submitted a paper about the most prominent standards and strategies used in dealing with their customers.

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