Academic journal article Journal of Competitiveness Studies

Strategic Human Resource Management in Saudi Arabia's Service Sector

Academic journal article Journal of Competitiveness Studies

Strategic Human Resource Management in Saudi Arabia's Service Sector

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

One Wednesday morning at 9:35 Abdullah Bin Saeed entered XYZ Bank in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, hoping to apply for a personal bank loan to solve his current financial crisis. After collecting his ticket number, he went to wait in line. A Security Officer in a manufacturing firm, Abdullah was in was in charge of a section of the company's security division. At noon he was scheduled to chair an important meeting where the Vice President for Operations -- Tim Johnson - would be present. The group was to receive a weekly update on several policy-related issues. By 10:50, not even close to being called, Abdullah began getting tense. Finally, a little before 11:30, he was called to the Customer Service counter.

Happy to be finally sitting in the chair in front of the Bank Officer, Abdullah smiled and tried not to notice that the Officer was busy fiddling with his mobile phone and had not bothered to greet Abdullah. Three minutes into the wait, the Officer had not yet looked at Abdullah, and was still focusing on his phone.

Abdullah decided to start with a greeting. ".Assalam-o-Alaikkum," he said. But the Officer didn't respond. Abdullah thought the Officer might still be busy, so he decided to wait until the Officer spoke in response. He was surprised when the Officer suddenly turned to address the colleague seated next to him, cracking a joke about the message that he was reading on his phone. At 11:36, the Bank Officer stood up and walked away without saying a word. Abdullah was now feeling tremendous pressure, the drive between XYZ Bank and Abdullah's office could take at least 15 minutes in normal traffic.

At 11:42, the Officer returned to his desk with a cup of coffee and, comfortably settling into his seat and looking quite refreshed, he asked, "Aiwa, ayesh endak?" - which means "Yes, what have you got?" in Arabic. Feeling furious, Abdullah began explaining why he was there. The Bank Officer sounded negative about several of the personal loan requirements that applied to Abdullah. It took at least nine minutes for Abdullah to get a clear answer and, in the end, the Officer rejected his loan application.

"I can't believe it, the process took my whole morning just to get a 'Big No,' Abdullah mumbled, as he walked out the door, jumped into his car, and quickly drove away.

When Abdullah reached his office, it was already 12:10. He rushed to the meeting room, where he saw that all his department personnel and Tim were present and waiting for him. Abdullah apologized for his late arrival.

"Abdullah, I want to sit with you after the meeting," Tim said. Abdullah was shocked by Tim's request, but managed to preside over the rest of his presentation.

Once the meeting was over, Abdullah went to Tim's office. "What was your problem, Abdullah?" Tim asked. "Why were you late?"

Abdullah explained what had happened. .After listening to his story, Tim suggested that Abdullah inquire about customer sendee at ABC Bank to see if it would better meet his needs. With Tim's guidance, Abdullah went to the nearest ABC Bank branch in the City Center the next day and within 20 minutes he had been approved for exactly the kind of personal loan that he needed.

Abdullah decided to ask Tim about the secret behind ABC Bank's superior customer service. In response, Tim offered him some literature on ABC Bank, which he had recently received from a senior ABC Bank manager. Tim suggested that Abdullah read the literature to understand ABC Bank's strategies for keeping customers happy. "Take notes," Tim said, "so you can learn about ABC Bank's customer sendee practices. Then you can incorporate those practices into your department's operations to increase productivity and customer satisfaction."

The contents of the literature are given below.

Strategic Human Resources Management and Staff Training at ABC Bank

Rapid change in the global business environment due to technological advances, globalization, and stiff competition among multinational corporations has forced organizations to identify their unique competencies and competitive advantages in order to survive, grow, and become profitable. …

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