The Happiness Index: Dubai’s Pursuit of Happiness

By: Clarabridge Team

December 7, 2015

Customer Engagement
customer experience
customer experience management

Many companies are trying to deliver the best customer experience. But what about an entire city or country?

The idea of measuring a population’s contentment is not new; it has long been touted by Bhutan, a country that, since the 1970s, has championed the Gross National Happiness index. Even the United Nations has recognized the value of “the pursuit of happiness [as] a fundamental human goal,” with UN member states calling for “happiness” to have a greater role in social and economic development.[1]

Now, the government of Dubai has set its sights on becoming the happiest place in the world.

Rolled out in April 2015, the “Happiness Meter” gives Dubai’s citizens and tourists the ability to rate and follow-up comments about their experiences with government websites, applications, or in-person services. In phase 2 of the program, the Happiness Meter will extend to select private sector companies as well.

The Numbers Game

Analyzing the satisfaction of a population isn’t very different from analyzing and improving the customer base of a brand. For Dubai, the challenge will mostly lie with the sheer volume of data being collected; Dubai’s goal is to collect feedback from its citizens and tourists. The current resident population of Dubai is just under 2.5 million. But add the tourist base, and the challenges of Big Data come in fast: Dubai had 13.2 million tourists in 2014 alone, and the numbers are expected to grow at 7 to 9% annually. By the year 2020, Dubai has set a target of 20 million visitors for the year.[2] This translates into a whole lot of data.

As Dubai’s Happiness Index program rolls into Phase 2, private-sector companies will also need to start thinking about how to overcome this challenge of consistently and accurately analyzing all their customer data.  Manual analysis is near impossible: even if just 5% of Dubai’s tourists in 2014 left a business a single comment on a survey, it would take approximately 3 years just to manually read through and categorize all the comments. This doesn’t even include the time it takes to then review the data for trends and act on customer concerns in order to improve Happiness Meter scores.

Preparing for Happiness

So where do businesses, and for that matter, the organizations within the Dubai Government, have to focus in order to best handle the influx of customer experience feedback data? They need to ask themselves?

  • Are the people, processes and culture in place to not only collect customer experience feedback, but to act on the insights to make people happier?
  • How will the business handle analyzing feedback in multiple languages, reviewing all data for emerging trends or upcoming PR or legal disasters?
  • How will feedback be analyzed in as near real-time as possible, so that experiences can be improved within a few days, and not within a year?

To learn how to respond to these questions in the real world, read our new ebook “The Happiness Index: What It Means For You.” This eBook will dive into Dubai’s journey towards happiness, how the corporate environment will change, and how businesses can prepare to handle these changes.







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