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    Almost half of consumers in the Middle East prefer chat apps and SMS over email for brand communications

    Chat apps and SMS are the most requested form of communication when interacting with a brand in the Middle East. This was especially true in industries where real-time updates are critical, including food delivery services and rideshares, where 41% of consumers reported these methods as their top communication choice.

    This highlights the immense value of brands engaging on multiple channels and offering omnichannel communications to ensure customers have flexibility and variety when interacting with businesses.

    Bad CX is a dealbreaker for Middle Eastern consumers

    According to the survey of 1000 consumers based in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE aged 18+  carried out by omnichannel comms company Mitto, positive customer experience (CX) and support were a priority for most consumers in the Middle East; more than 58% have experienced poor interactions with a brand in the past year. Most of these subpar experiences occurred via email, with 21% of respondents saying this was the channel most commonly used for negative conversations. These bad customer experiences reflect poorly on the brand, as almost two-thirds (61%) of Middle Eastern consumers reported that they would lose trust in a business following these instances.

    Nearly one-quarter of respondents (21%) said they would stop purchasing from a business after just one negative experience, indicating a strong link between good CX and revenue. Following 2-3 poor interactions, that number increases to 36% who reported they would then look to a competitor.

    “Positive CX is a cornerstone of a successful business and our survey highlighted the need for more quality experiences in the Middle East. If brands do not understand their consumers’ unique communication preferences or what they prioritize during support interactions, the businesses run the risk of losing current and future customers,” explains Andrea Giacomini, CEO of Mitto. “We know that personalization and flexibility are key when interacting with consumers in the Middle East. It is critical that brands adapt their communication channels to match the preferences of their target consumers before they lose them to a competitor.”

    Lack of channel diversity can drive away customers

    Consumers today expect to have a variety of options when it comes to interacting with brands and almost two-thirds (63%) believe it is essential for brands to communicate on multiple channels, including SMS, chat apps and social media. The flexibility to choose between various communication channels directly connects to a consumer’s view of the brand experience, as more than one-third (38%) use this ability to define positive CX and support.

    Almost 30% of survey respondents also reported they would consider doing business with a competitor if their preferred communication channel was not offered. This shows that if businesses do not provide customers in the Middle East the opportunities to interact on multiple channels, they run the risk of losing them. Consumers are open to providing this feedback to brands though, with close to half (42%) claiming they would first request the brand adopt new communication methods before ceasing their business.

    Inflation is increasing the expectation of positive CX 

    More than half of Middle Eastern consumers are thinking twice about spending in all industries due to the rise of inflation. This is especially true in the hospitality/tourism and retail industries where 59% of consumers are debating or pausing their spending. As the price of goods and services continues to rise, expectations surrounding CX are rising with 54% of consumers anticipating CX and customer support to increase alongside. Close to half of consumers are expecting a greater level of personalization from brands during this time of higher inflation (47%) and they are also awaiting more quality services (46%) to compensate for the price increase.

    With almost one-third (32%) of respondents reporting they would rather go to the dentist than have a painful brand interaction, ensuring a positive CX for Middle Eastern customers could increase their spending habits during inflation. In fact, 59% of respondents reported they would be more likely to spend money throughout high inflation instances if they were guaranteed to receive a good customer experience.

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