In yet another of its initiatives towards digitization, the Dubai government launched a new step. On Thursday, 26th October, customer services in Dubai went virtual. For the first time ever, the emirate observed the smart initiative of ‘A Day Without Service Centres’.
Most transactions provided by government entities are available only via smart channels, such as web portals, mobile apps and kiosks, to encourage customers to use smart channels to pay fees and other services.
Hundreds of customer service counters remained closed. Service executives helped the customers who walked in, to do online transactions. This was done in an attempt to enable the majority of the residents and citizens to be tech savvy. This move is en route to making Dubai one of the smartest cities in the world.
However, the customer care centres across various departments recorded very less footfall as a result of the pre-event awareness campaign.
A tour of the directors of various government departments began at the Al Twar Centre at 8am.
Senior officials from various departments toured Dubai Municipality’s customer service Centres that house various government and private customer care offices. Officials inspected how the customer care executives of various departments are assisting customers who walked in albeit the previous announcements about closing the service Centres for a day.
Several customers learnt the ABC of doing online transactions. Whereas, some received updated information about what all Dubai government services applicable for them they can access sitting anywhere in the world.
Some of the visiting customers know how to use email and things like that. They were open about learning the online services. But many others are used to the conventional system and they like to visit the centres to do things manually and meet and interact with people. The customer service executives helped those customers by doing the services for them online.
Abdul Rahman Saleh Al Saleh, director-general of Department of Finance, said told Gulf News that the intention of the initiative is to give awareness to the people about the smart services provided by various departments as envisioned by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Director General of Dubai Municipality, Hussain Nasser Lootah, said that the initiative demonstrated to the customers how important it is to make use of the second generation of the government services through mobiles and other devices.
A number of departments from the Municipality are showing their online and smart capabilities. The municipality is vigorously working towards its ambitious target of ‘zero visit to municipality centres’ with the cooperation of other departments.
There was confusion on the faces of some customers. Whereas, many other said that they found using the online services easier after they were taught how to use them.
As the municipality officers had earlier said, completing transactions via smart channels helps customers save time, effort and money by avoiding use of private or public means of transport. This helps to cut down on crowding roads and service centres. Thereby, in turn, it rationalises fuel consumption, reduces carbon emissions and preserves environmental resources.
The Dubai Municipality says that they have about 2,500 to 3,000 customers at the Al Twar centre every day. The Municipality is targeting to reduce the number of visitors to the centres. Its aim is to achieve 30 per cent to 40 per cent reduction by next year.