How long have you been working with JET – and how would you describe the relationship?
Since I bought the site in 2004 - so we will be celebrating our 18th birthday this year! You know, every 5 years when the contract is up for renewal I always get calls from Shell, Esso and so on. And whilst I will always listen to what else is on offer JET make it impossible to leave as they do so many things so well. JET is a friendly, approachable company - and that is really important to me and fits with the ethos of our business. They take time to hear what we have to say and it’s even possible to have conversations with really senior people in the business.
Chris Murphy is my regional manager - he is my fourth and they’ve all been first-rate. They listen and get things done for us quickly. Talking to people working with other suppliers poor communication is often a big issue for them.
How do you feel about the new look and what do your customers think?
I take immense pride in our site and anything new that comes to the market and is available I will invest in. Every year I do something to improve our offer. In 2019, just before Covid, I invested in new pumps, new pipe work, re-lined the tanks etc. In 2020 I signed a new contract agreement with JET and they installed the new 3D branding and canopy lighting and it’s so much brighter which is great - clean, fresh and welcoming. And our customers seem to love it.
And what are they saying?
We get lots of really positive comments on social media – especially Instagram and Facebook. People were talking about the new lighting and we get nice comments for our customer service. When the fuel crisis was happening, we wanted to support the emergency workers and so we created a separate lane so that they didn’t have to queue for fuel. As a community-focused business we are always looking to improve and it’s good to be flexible so that we can react to situations that may arise in the best way we can.
Do you think the new look has attracted new customers?
Definitely! We now offer all grades of JET fuel and the Ultra grades are definitely attracting customers who drive high performance cars. Add that to the sharp new look and we are definitely adding to our customer database.
Our goal is to offer our drivers everything they could possibly wish for. We have a great 24-hour car wash – we even have an on-site launderette!
In the 18 years - have there been any standout moments?
We have JET outings every year and conferences every few years - and they are good memories. Recently it has been demanding what with the fuel crisis, the war and now protesters – but it’s at these moments that you rely on your staff to really step up – and I have a great team.
I am a great believer in training our people properly – so that we are all on the same page with a shared goal of brilliant customer service. When I employ people I look for personality and a good attitude – and I trust my instincts. We have 24 people in the business and I review every six months - health and safety, customer service etc.
And how important is customer service?
It’s everything. Service and our competitive pricing is the mainstay of our success. We have locals who we have genuine affection for and often people drop in with small gifts. It’s very gratifying. Because of where we are, close to the sea, we have a lot of people who retire here - and so we make sure that we look after our older customers. My team is relatively young but they will always go above and beyond to help. Filling up, carrying bags - even giving lifts to their homes so they don’t have to carry heavy bags. Good old-fashioned customer service values. We know more than half of all our customers by name and even though we have lots of competition in the area - our customers are loyal and keep coming back.
Sum up your job in three words
Challenging, forward-looking, service-first.
Is there a stand-out achievement?
For the past 18 years we have never closed. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And I’m really proud of that.