HOUSTON — Back in 2006, Shell Oil Co., an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell plc, realized its more than 43,000 sites in 70-plus countries all had different ways of executing the Shell experience to the customer. The company decided to create a unified standard, and ultimately realized that investing in its frontline workforce was key to the customer’s overall experience.
Shell Oil established a standard for all of its locations to execute every day. By 2011, the chain had been successful, but customer feedback showed the experience was too “robotic.”
So, Shell went back to the drawing board, according to Bong Fadullon, general manager of global site operations excellence at Shell Retail, who spoke at the National Retail Federation’s 2017 Conference. This gave birth to the “Welcome to Shell” proposition.
Welcome to Shell is comprised of four key promises:
- Everything in the site is right;
- The site is clean and bright;
- The transaction is quick and easy; and
- Every customer interaction has them feeling greeted and treated like a guest.
“As we move into this more and more, we began to realize it’s the person on our staff interacting with the customer who is the most important person,” Fadullon explained. “Employee engagement, activation, inspiration and motivation are key for that individual to be able to execute the proposition, whatever it is.”
To support the Welcome to Shell program, the company turned to technology — specifically to help in engaging its employees. Shell implemented Workjam, an employee engagement platform that provides a digital workplace for hourly employees. It allows retailers to communicate with and train employees, as well as manage schedules and more.
“The turnover at our sites is anywhere from 30 percent to 130 percent, and that is where technology comes into play,” Fadullon said. “We believe technology has a space in making all [this] work. Whoever is able to master the use of technology to drive operation and excellence will be a winner in the future.”
Shell refers to its frontline employees as “service champions,” and there are more than 500 million people employed by franchisees, Fadullon noted. One of the things the company does is run surveys a couple times a year to check in with these service champions and see whether they are happy with the job they have, and if it’s a workplace they would recommend to friends.
“Satisfaction drives loyalty, and the key driver of satisfaction has always been customers being treated as guests,” Fadullon said. “We believe employee engagement through the use of technology is an opportunity to make this happen.”
Editor's note: Look in the July issue of Convenience Store News for more on how to attract, train and retain top-quality talent.