Room for Improvement for Banks in the Middle East

By: Clarabridge Team

February 9, 2016

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In Ernst & Young’s most recent global banking survey, customer experience was found to be the most critical driver in increasing customer loyalty. “The way I am treated” drove customer trust more than any other element of the customer journey, beating out fees, rates, locations, and convenience.

For banks and financial services companies in the Middle East, meeting customer expectations and building trust is necessary to remain competitive. As the Middle East becomes one of the world’s fastest growing markets in the banking and capital sector, companies need to re-evaluate strategies to keep customers happy and reduce churn.

Using the Clarabridge solution, we examined Facebook and Twitter comments to understand how banks in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Egypt, and Kuwait can better meet customer needs. We used the Clarabridge sentiment score, a measure of positivity or negativity on an 11 point scale from -5 to +5, with 0 being neutral, to examine customer sentiment, analyze trends in the market, identify potential areas for improvement, and to learn best practices.

Here are the 3 top trends the data showed:


The UAE comes out on top

Banks in the UAE stand out for delivering the most positive customer experience. The UAE came out ahead not only in terms of the number of positive comments, but in overall sentiment score as well. This is not altogether surprising, considering the UAE’s focus on being a tourist haven in the region. Dubai has even launched the Happiness Index, a government-led effort to improve customer satisfaction across the public sector, and soon, to select private companies.

Sentiment scores are dismal across the board

Even with the UAE standing out as the best for the banking experience, there’s still much room for improvement. Drilling deeper into the data shows that while the UAE may have a better overall sentiment score, customers across the region are very negative about specific banking experiences, including the ATM experience, Customer Service, Fees/Charges, Online Banking, Products/Services, and Staff. Discussion around fees and charges are the worst of the lot, with sentiment scores in Qatar at

-4.38 out of -5.  On the other hand, the UAE particularly excels in conversations around products and services, garnering a customer sentiment score of 0.54 out of 5. While this may not seem very high, it is the most positive sentiment score received across all of the countries analyzed and across the most discussed topics.

Focus on customer service and employee interactions

After Fees/Charges, Customer Service and Staff/Employees are the next-lowest performing categories in the region, with average negative scores of -1.39 and -1.28 respectively. Saudi Arabia has the most positive scores for these categories in the region, closely followed by the UAE. Egypt and Qatar, on the other hand, have much room for improvement here.

A trend for convenience and ease-of-use

According to customers in the region, a good banking experience must be high-quality, friendly, and convenient. As the data above shows, banks in the Middle East have some work to do. To learn more about the trends we saw in the data and actionable insights banks can act on, read our full analysis: The Winning Formula for Banks in the Middle East


Serina Aswani is Manager of Content Marketing and EMEA Marketing at Clarabridge. As part of her responsibilities, Serina serves as the voice of Clarabridge’s customers, highlighting customer stories and sharing proven best practices for implementing successful Customer Experience Management programs. Serina also oversees content marketing strategy and PR for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. She is responsible for establishing Clarabridge’s position as an industry thought leader across EMEA. Serina holds a M.S. in Commerce, specializing in Marketing and Management, as well as a B.A in French and Studio Arts, from the University of Virginia. Read more from Serina on Twitter at @SerinaAswani