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Building relationships in a competitive environment

When it comes to business success, hard work and a focus on customer expectations are fundamental. They certainly are for Vijay Manek, managing director of PK International LLC.

Vijay has been in Oman since 1983. Initially working for an oil and utilities equipment supplier, he set up his own trading firm in the mid-80s, building it into a leading services and solutions provider to oil and gas companies. PK International currently employs 35 people.





 

Standing out from the competition

 The oil and gas industry is a tough sector to be in. Vijay acknowledges that competition is steep and says that his dedication to customer service is what differentiates him from the crowd. “I used to go and visit customers and find out exactly what their expectations are and how I can make myself different than the others.”

PK International’s relationships with its clients are built on more than transactions. Vijay sees his value-add in how often he speaks to customers and how well he understands them. “I think the relationship is the most important thing today,” he explains, adding that this is how to get to the root of customer requirements.

“Rather than price, they look for quality as well.” Going beyond surface expectations means helping customers solve other issues. “It is not only what they are asking for, but to provide solutions which can help them in other ways.”

 Explaining that he has invested significantly in manpower, Vijay says that he wants a highly trained workforce that can understand and zoom in on the needs of his customers. “The core is to focus on customer requirements and satisfaction,” he adds. This satisfaction is delivered not only in supplying orders, “but to support them all the way.”

 In an era of fancy technology and cutting-edge applications, Vijay credits his success to basic hard graft. “I always advise my staff that if you have a goal in mind, you can achieve it as long as you stay focused and work hard.” He also dismisses the defeatist notion that work can be hard to come by in a competitive market. “There are opportunities and you have to create the opportunities. You have to go to the customers, you have to understand the customers’ needs.”

Finding a trusted partner in HSBC

Vijay points out the correlation between the way he values his customers and his company’s partnership with HSBC. “HSBC has always supported us well. We’ve kept them informed from day one of what we are doing, how we are going to do it, and what our expectations are out of this contract.” This strong relationship with HSBC has allowed PK International to grow quickly.

Citing service quality and security as key factors in choosing a banking partner, Vijay credits HSBC’s long presence in Oman and reliability with helping to drive his business forward. “HSBC has provided us excellent service from day one. We’ve never had trouble with any transaction, whether it is locally or internationally. The security that has been provided means that we don't need to operate with any other bank except HSBC.”

Vijay recognises that good relationship management is the key to success, recognising the support his HSBC Relationship Managers have provided during the long partnership. “They have always helped me a lot,” he says, adding that his Relationship Managers are always quick to deliver. “They have guided us, they have given a lot of instruction to us. It’s a pleasure when you get a proper response from your Relationship Manager.”

In addition to business growth, Vijay acknowledges HSBCnet’s back-end support. Online banking, which he describes as a “super tool”, is one such example. “It is very secure. It doesn't make any difference where you are, you can do that immediately. That is fantastic and saving us lots of time.”

Building a sustainable business

Looking into the future, Vijay hopes to increase his social contributions. “I want to share our knowledge with the local community and that is the reason we are trying to establish in-country values and facilities for many product lines and services,” he explains. “This is how we can increase local employment, and we can help the country and ourselves also.”

Online banking is a super tool, very secure and efficient, saving us time

VIJAY MANEL MANAGING PARTNER, PK INTERNATIONAL LLC

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