How the personal touch replaces `automated hell'
Wednesday 01 October 1997
In recent months Mr Turberville, a 45-year-old Aberdeen-born accountant, has taken to the road in a battle bus touring filling stations from Sweden to Spain. "Did you know that in Norway we serve 80 million hamburgers a year in our shops?" he asked. We confessed we did not.
His school of management is light years away from the old Shell doctrine. "Our business performance has not been acceptable. We've fallen into the trap of taking the customer for granted," he admitted, grasping a leaflet from the one of the companies he most admires, the rapidly growing Pret a Manger sandwich chain.
Mr Turberville fought against Shell's agonisingly slow decision- making machine. "You'd wait weeks to have something agreed by someone who hadn't seen a customer in months," he explained. Under the new structure, eight or nine layers of senior and middle management would be replaced with three.
The new approach has put staff back on the forecourts. Mr Turberville believes oil companies "automated the hell" out of garages in the 1980s.
"Like lemmings we all followed that," he said.
But the strategy is risky, depending on the improved service standards pulling in more customers. Sales at one west London filling station are up 15 per cent in trials of the changes, but Shell admits some sites are far less profitable than others.
At least yesterday Mr Tuberville had God on his side. As he walked on to the petrol station forecourt an elderly nun approached him, congratulating Shell on the way a team of employees was washing her Mini. "What did I say? It's working," he beamed.
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
Want to ward off (or welcome) trick-or-treaters? Here's how
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...
£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...
£45,000 - £65,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is a well-known APAC Corporate and...