In an era of constant disruption in upstream oil and gas, many companies have lost focus on the value of customer service.
However, relationships are still at the center of the operator-supplier dynamic. Amidst a workforce supply shortage and a demand for more technologically enhanced solutions, many service providers are spending more time focusing on the what than the why. In this article, we discuss the challenges facing operators in the current environment and share insights into how oilfield service providers can play a key role in the decision-making process.
1. Need for experienced people
Today, the industry is grappling with a crew change. In the ever-shifting matrix of market supply and demand, workforce volatility is creating service bottlenecks for oil producers. When the oil price fell below $40 per barrel, service companies scaled back, and the industry lost a chunk of its workforce. During the market rebound, production activity sped up, and the service sector worked to scale up fast enough to supply both the equipment and the personnel required to meet customers’ needs. Since the last downturn, the industry has been short-handed when it comes to retaining experienced field and office personnel. With that in mind, a major challenge for oil producers is finding qualified suppliers with the infrastructure and capabilities to turnaround orders quickly and keep pace with rapidly increasing production needs.
2. Need for exceptional service
There are a few factors that make a service company great, and safety is at the top of the list. Service companies need to have an immaculate record because it reassures customers that you are professional, prepared and knowledgeable. Next would be quality – not just in the standard of equipment you provide, but as a practice that’s integrated into every system and process performed for the customer, whether it’s a conversation over the phone or an installation in the field.
Finally, service should seem like a no-brainer, but it really encompasses more than people typically think about. For example, it’s inevitable that at some point, every service company is going to encounter an issue once in a while. However, it’s the way you handle those tough situations that matters. When a service company acts responsibly after a slip-up and responds appropriately, it can make all the difference between losing a customer or earning their respect.
While technology capabilities used to be a key factor for winning business, the fact is that the current market has reached virtual product parity. That means today there is a much higher emphasis on service and execution. Being an easy company to work with goes a long way when it comes to building relationships, and communication is a key component of that. For example, today’s service providers may act as a liaison between a customer’s field and office personnel to help information get to the right people.
Every service company is going to encounter an issue at some point. It’s the way you handle those tough situations that matters.
3. Need for communication
The more communication there is between a supplier and a customer, the better the outcome will be from that arrangement. Since everyone’s nomenclature is different, it can be difficult to compare products or services at face value, and the responsibility is on the service company to prompt those questions and drive the conversation. For customers to be confident they choose the right company, it’s important to make sure they know the specifics of what they’re signing up for. This not only helps customers fully understand their options and make informed decisions, but it also ensures that clear expectations are set for both sides.
4. Need for digital
There has certainly been a shift in customer demand for more digitally-driven solutions and integrated technologies. Nearly 99% of submersible pumps have an online monitoring program these days simply because of the massive cost advantages. For instance, these systems have become instrumental in preventing failures because they give operators the ability to monitor important downhole factors such as intake pressure and motor temperature. When you consider the cost of a failure, including the price of a workover rig and the lost production time spent pulling the equipment, the cost of a monitoring program is negligible. While the technology itself is affordable, it provides immense value to the operator by helping to prevent expensive failures.
Even though technology, prices, and equipment continue to change, the dynamic between service companies and customers always comes down to relationships and quality service. Just like in any relationship, if you’re reliable and you continue to deliver on your promises, over time you establish trust – that’s what makes the difference between a vendor and a partner.
Bridge the Service Gap with Valiant
While many oil and gas companies are used to working with temporary suppliers who provide one-off solutions, Valiant offers a long-term partnership without the paperwork. More than just a supplier, Valiant is a service company first, and providing quality equipment is part of our toolkit. We don’t just come on-site once to install the equipment – we are also servicing and operating your system around the clock to help you meet your production objectives. Since our focus is on providing lifetime solutions, we maintain constant communication with our customers from the initial contact throughout the entire life of a well to ensure they receive the support they need.