International Finance
Interview Magazine May-June 2019

Dewa steps up customer satisfaction efforts with Western Union tie up

Dewa steps up customer satisfaction efforts with Western Union tie up
The partnership between both companies focuses on customer happiness—a particularly challenging task to sustain in the long run

Last year, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) launched a new service to empower its customers with a seamless cash transfer: on request for a refund, customers will receive their security deposit in cash through The Western Union Company—in the UAE and anywhere in the world. This means, customers will have to send a request through Dewa’s website or smart application and choose Western Union as their payout option. After that, they will receive a notification, stating that their deposit is available with the Western Union agents of a specified location. A more exciting possibility is that the transaction will only take up a few minutes—and it is that straightforward.

Until the year before, the system was different: customers had to visit Dewa’s customer happiness centres to collect their refund—but now that is changing. Through this service, the big trouble with receiving the refund is no longer a cause for inconvenience to them—like what His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dewa, implied: The new service will “provide the best government services that make customers’ lives easier and reduce the number of visitors to government offices by 80% by 2019.”

Likewise, for Western Union—customer convenience has become a ‘key’ factor—more so because it is often used to transfer cash between places. Thus, one reason the partnership is promising because Western Union has a strong presence with ‘more than 5,000 agent locations across the Middle East’—which is obviously favourable to all parties. So far, its digital services have been launched in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Globally, we have plans to be in 200 countries and are working in every continent to ensure the success of our digital strategy,” Hatem Sleiman, vice president Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan at Western Union, said in an interview with Muscat Daily. “I believe we will be able to cover the entire Middle East region with digital services in the next couple of years because our aim is to be in 200 countries by 2020.

We were impressed when people in the Gulf region quickly adopted these new digital services. We have realised that the customers in the region prefer digital services to send money 24/7 to avoid the hassles of visiting retail outlets. Western Union would continue to innovate on various fronts and while doing this, customer satisfaction remains our top priority. We have been innovating our technologies for both digital services and retail outlets. With fast evolving technology, the speed of sending remittances is improving continuously.”

Seizing the opportunity by constantly developing creative ways to build fast and reliable transfer of funds and payments, Western Union is working toward providing solutions that will improve the quality of people’s lives, which supports the UAE Government’s efforts to promote innovation, Jean Claude Farah, president of global payments at Western Union said.

This digital service in its prime will use ‘innovative tools’ coupled with ‘the highest standards of efficiency and reliability’, to swiftly process all customer transactions at any point of time using Dewa’s multiple smart channels. Even though, that is not a world-first implementation, it still stands as a medium to benefit customers in many ways.

Customers will get mileage out of this service, if they continue to use it extensively. In the last quarter—the adoption rate for Dewa’s smart services touched 93%—meaning that it was well received by the majority of customers—and they had reason to. In addition to Western Union, Dewa is also collaborating with ‘other public and private organisations to provide multiple options and innovative services’ for its customers and to make ‘Dubai the city of the future’ ahead of other global cities through government innovation, Farah said.

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