A new kind of fuel station that is opening next year will have facilities unlike anyone in Oman has ever seen before.
Spearheaded by Oman Oil Marketing Company (OOMC), two new mega service stations are being planned in the Sultanate. Spanning over 9,000 square metres each, and located near Sultan Qaboos University and in Ghala, the new mega stations will contain a host of new facilities, including money exchange outlets, gyms, restaurants, post offices, a laundry, play areas for children and shopping centres for families.
The move is part of OOMC’s vision for the Sultanate until the year 2025, and David Kalife, CEO of Oman Oil Marketing Company, said this was part of the company’s vision towards putting customer satisfaction first. “What will we build? We want service stations to become destinations,” said Kalife, speaking to the Times of Oman.
“We don’t want filling fuel to be the only reason to go to the station. We will have services for laundry, we have a post office service, and we have planned a gym, so we are attracting new services which have never been thought of before. We will have entertainment services for kids, and currency exchanges, because we want what we have to be women and children-friendly services, as well.
“If you want to be the best, then you have to be alert and agile. We are a customer centric company with a lot of people, but we need to remain nimble. We want quantity and quality; we don’t choose between both. We have to continuously innovate. We don’t want the customer to think, ‘Oh, I have to go to the station to fill fuel and I don’t like going there,’ so we don’t want this to be part of a painful experience for them.”
Work on the new stations has already begun, and the first one is to open by the end of 2019, or the first quarter of 2020. “This is part of our long-term plan until 2025, and we are sure that it will be delivered on time, because we have been planning for this and all the preparations are underway,” said Kalife.
“Ideally, one of them should be ready by 2019, or at the latest, the first quarter of 2020, and this will be something that no one in Oman has ever seen. We want to try to gain in customer loyalty. Our motto is ‘You trust, We care’ and that is the core quality of any customer relationship. If you don’t have trust or you don’t care, then you are finished,” said Kalife.
Restaurant services in the new mega stations will be provided by Thai company Café Amazon, which is well known for providing similar services in stations in Thailand. Oman Oil’s partnership with them is part of a 10-year agreement to improve the company’s non-fuel revenues for the future. “Our partnership with Café Amazon is part of our plan to look at customer wants, beyond customer needs,” explained Kalife.
“It is a 10-year plan that goes towards our core plan of differentiation and sustainability. We don’t want what we offer to be like the rest of the standard offerings in the country. Differentiation is the key point when you want to expand and establish yourself in a market. You have to ask yourself – what is it that you are offering that others are not?
“What we offer will be like nothing else that our competitors have in Oman,” added Kalife. “If we are like anyone else, then we will die because all of us will be the same and there will be no difference between us and anyone else. Café Amazon has already opened in one location, and by the end of the year we will have five in Oman. The response has been very good, so we are looking forward to more.”
In addition, Oman Oil Marketing Company has been rolling out its new e-fill service, allowing people to pay for fuel digitally or online. Having run a pilot project for this at four stations in Muscat, the company soon plans on rolling this out throughout the country.
“Our e-fill system is proving to be really popular with customers and is part of our digital roadmap for the next three years,” said Kalife. “This system is currently in a test phase. We understand that we need to delight customers and make them happy. We want to have happy customers, and digitisation will lead to that because it is happy, quick and easy.”