Saudi Arabia's top sectors for CX: Retail and Financial Services

06 February 2023 3 min. read

What sectors offer the best customer experience in Saudi Arabia? In its take on the multifaceted question, KPMG surveyed over 1,500 consumers from across the Kingdom to find out, concluding that retail, grocery and financial services lead the way.

Drawing on KPMG’s proprietary global model for measuring customer experience, KPMG’s Saudi Arabia team for the second year running asked local consumers to rate close to 100 brands on the framework’s six pillars, as well as provide a net promoter score (NPS) per brand.

Across both forms of evaluation, the non-grocery retail sector (retail, fashion, luxury, e-commerce) came out on top, with a score that exceeded last year‘s performance, seeing the sector jump from third to first. In terms of NPS, half of all consumers said that they are a ‘promoter’ of the band they evaluated.

Ranking of all sectors‘ performances

According to the benchmark, non-grocery retailers stand out particularly in the quality and effectiveness of their marketing strategies, the manner how they build loyalty among customers (loyalty programs, discounts, etc), and the ‘efforts’ they put in personalising their products/services to meet the unique demands of clients. Notably, non-grocery retailers also are deemed to operate “ethically”, found the research.

Overall second is the grocery retail sector, which according to the research demonstrates the changing role of customer experience in the process of purchasing food and beverages. “The shopping experience is considerably more than just buying the grocery list items, as customers also expect a good service and an organised store,” explained Adib Kilzie, Head of Customer Experience, Cloud and Enterprise Solutions at KPMG in Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi grocery brands meet those expectations as they offer a smooth fast service and a systematised product distribution, which ensures a good shopping experience for the customer.”

Non-grocery Retail and Grocery Retail

The number two of the 2022 edition of KPMG’s ‘Customer Experience Excellence’ study, financial services, saw a notable drop in customer experience. While the sector is deemed to offer innovative, convenient, and technologically advanced services and solutions, banks, insurance companies, and payment services should “give more effort to corporate integrity and ensuring that the data of customers is confidential and safe,” said the report.

Meanwhile, a 2022 report by KPMG’s team in the UAE found that banks also have steps to take in their online customer services environment.

Returning to Saudi Arabia – in the exact same line-up, non-grocery retail, grocery retail, and the financial services scored the highest among the nine sectors taken under scrutiny in the case of net promoter score.

Average net promotor score for all sectors

Learning from best practices

According to Kilzie, brands from the lower performing sectors should take note of what the leaders are doing, and how they are doing it. Especially against the backdrop of the growing importance of customer experience as part of the overall purchasing and loyalty mix.

“Today’s customers are better informed, better connected and more demanding than ever before. In some cases, customer experience has overtaken price and product as the number one brand differentiator,” he said.

Meanwhile, all brands face the continuous need to innovate, and stay ahead of the curve. Technology is considered by KPMG as a key part of any agenda for advancement, with tech tools and solutions housing the potential to benefit aspects across the entire customer journey, from information gathering and decision-making to the actual buying experience, and post-purchase support.

Excelling in customer excellence across all its facets however does not come by easy. “Although many organisations are investing record amounts in customer-related initiatives, many are also are seeing the desired return on investment,” Kilzie concluded.