Looking back at 2017. Looking forward to 2018

January 6, 2018

It is fitting that during the UAE’s Year of Giving 2017, which placed a priority on not just thinking about others but also proactively bettering their lives, the real estate industry became more customer-centric than it has ever been before.

The customer has always been right and our developments have always been designed to cater to the needs of end-users, but as the digital era continues to gain pace, a new relationship is emerging between consumers and real estate developers.

This is because social media has given more people a voice, which in turn offers us a unique opportunity to listen more deeply to a wider audience. As the conversation grows, which it does every day, we are gaining profound insights into our customers and engaging with them to get to the heart of exactly what they need. Gone are the days when we communicate with our customers in a corporate, business-like tone of voice to promote our business or push unit sales; now, we are engaged in an empathetic, two-way conversation that centres on them.

At MAG Lifestyle Development, we didn’t stop there in 2017. We trust our customers and we believe that their opinions should inform everything we do, so we took their insights and put them into action. Our customers are the best judges of what they need to improve in their lives and we consider it our duty to deliver this to them, whatever it may be. If it’s enhanced wellness and improved health then we can offer them a home at our newly-launched MAG Creek Wellbeing Resort, or if it’s value homes then we can introduce them to projects like MAG 5 Dubai South, MAG EYE and MAG 230 from our ‘MAG of Value’ subdivision. All of our projects are underpinned by a consumer need in this way and our design process starts with them.

Real estate companies that took a customer-centric approach in 2017 managed to keep their heads above water in what has been a challenging year for some. This is because customer-centric developments are naturally more competitive and compelling, and allow developers to distinguish themselves from the noise in our crowded marketplace. To secure loyal customers, we need to show them that by putting their trust in us, they will benefit not only from an improved living situation but an improved life full stop. I consider this my ultimate mission and I believe it is the way that our industry is headed.

In 2017, we adapted to this trend internally with a new brand identity that places our customers at its very heart. MAG Lifestyle Development now exists for the sole purpose of inspiring them to expect more from us; their needs and desires are the crux of everything that we have done and will do.

Everything starts from the home and this puts real estate developers in a position of great responsibility. If we can get the home right, then we are playing a proactive role in bettering lives and improving our society. I believe the only way to get the home right is to go back to that old adage — ‘the customer is always right’ — with new vigour and conviction in 2018 and beyond.

– Talal M. AlGaddah is the Chief Executive Officer of MAG Lifestyle Development and CEO Middle East Awards’ ‘Young CEO of the Year’ – 2017.