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Forecourt staff return to Shell garage
1:00pm Friday 14th September 2012 in Latest
THE GOLDEN age of customer service has returned as a Christchurch petrol station reintroduces forecourt attendants.
Shell, on Lyndhurst Road, in Somerford , has trained staff who will voluntarily fill your tank, clean your windscreen, or check the car’s oil and water levels, and customers just pay for the petrol and oil.
So it seemed fitting that a former forecourt attendant, Charles Leith, 55, from Fordingbridge , should meet one of the new ones, Danielle Goulding, 19, from Parkstone, to swap stories.
Danielle also took the opportunity to look at a classic 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider, owned by Charles.
Charles said: “I served petrol at my father’s garage in Poole Park during the summer of 1973.
“We used give every fifth customer who came in a bit of V.I.P treatment, by opening the bonnet, checking the oil and water levels, and filling up their cars.
“It was almost sometimes to see if we could get a tip, as we were paid 35p an hour back then, which was the same price as a gallon of petrol.
“The incentive was also there for customers to call in, at the time, so that people could collect their green shield stamps, to save up and buy something.”
“There wasn’t any instructions or training back then, the cars just came along and then we’d go over and help them.”
Now, the forecourt attendants for the 300 Shell garages across the country that offer this service, go through an intensive AA course to enable them to carry out a range of car care tasks.
But, as Danielle says, it seems that Shell really wanted to ‘bring the service back into service stations’.
She added: “It’s mainly older people that ask us to assist them. So, if they have trouble filling up their cars or something, then I can help, and whilst I’m doing that, they can go in and pay, so it can save time as well.
“There is a forecourt attendant available from 10am – 4pm, seven days a week here, and it seems that a lot of people really appreciate it, particularly if they are busy or less able to do it themselves.”
You have your say
Natalie Roberts, 44, from Verwood, said: “We used to have them at a garage in the village. It was good, especially for women.”
Darren Roberts, 38, from Verwood, said: “It’s bringing back customer service, especially with the rise in petrol prices, and it’s free as well.”
Cyril Lee, 75, from East Cliff, said: “It’s a very good idea to get the service. There’s a lot of elderly people that need help.”
Eve Hill, 23, from Christchurch, said: “It’s a good idea and it would be nice if someone could help, as it can be a bit of a pain.”
Tim Nokes, 32,from Christchurch, said: “It’s making that real effort for the customer – going that extra mile, if you like.”