Customers in Qatar experience substandard service from many of the country’s companies and hospitals, due to poor training, demotivated staff and racial discrimination, a series of articles in the Peninsula argue today.
In an editorial, the newspaper argues that many customer-facing staff in Qatar lack the necessary knowledge and training to handle queries; that they spend time browsing the internet or making phone calls rather than focusing on their job; and that they frequently discriminate on the basis of skin color or nationality.
The newspaper quotes a number of customers with complaints about the way they were treated at health centers, hospitals, supermarkets, call centers, restaurants and banks:
“Once, I went to the emergency section of a health center with my leg broken, in severe pain. I did not find any receptionist for a long time. When I found the receptionists, they were casual in listening to my problem. Their attitude left me wondering why I had gone there,” Abdul Rahman Al Manhali told the paper.
“Some of them (customer service staff) even see us as ignorant and consider themselves superior” Mohamed Lafeer, an expat who’s lived in Qatar for eight years, said. “It’s shocking to see such behavior even in international food chains and supermarkets. Some people at the counters behave as if they have a problem with us, and just bang down things on the table or thrust them into bags as if they are throwing them. If not as a king, customers should at least be treated with respect.”
Customer service remains a hot topic in Qatar, with past debates, like this one begun by business magazine The Edge, gaining a lot of attention.
Many residents who contribute to this debate point to the country’s kafala system, which restricts employees to one employer unless they are given a no-objection certificate (NOC) when they resign. Many argue that this lack of freedom to move to a better job demotivates staff.
And just today, this tweet on the subject by ILoveQatar founder Khalifa Haroon received a very positive response:
Getting rid of NOC’s will help improve the quality of service in this country. Why stop someone from having a better job?
— Mr. Q – I♥Qatar (@iloveqatar) April 5, 2014
@iloveqatar i agree on that one. it’s like you’re preventing someone to become successful.
— suzie☺ (@lilchuzi) April 5, 2014
@iloveqatar It’d definitely make a huge impact…… Then…… everyone would be happy….!!
— Leejohn Vaz (@leejohnvaz) April 5, 2014
What do you think? How can customer service be improved in Qatar?