Shell Malaysia takes a cue from the hospitality industry

Shell Malaysia has recently released its new 'Welcome to Shell' campaign, describing it as a three-year integrated repositioning plan.

The new repositioning aims to forge an emotional connection with its consumers, by presenting the petrol stations as oases of calm and respite from Malaysia’s crazy roads and traffic.

A+M spoke to Ben Mahmud, Shell’s head of retail marketing, about the energy giant’s new initiative.

Ben explained that through its ‘Welcome to Shell’ initiative, Shell aims to “achieve exceptional customer service” in  order to make  Shell synonymous with the "highest standard of hospitality" on Malaysian roads by 2017.

Hence, a three-year transformational plan has been activated.

The multi-year transformational programme takes its cue from the hospitality industry to treat motorists as “guests” and experience on-site at Shell stations nationwide.  As part of ‘Welcome To Shell’, a comprehensive on-site training for over 8,000 site staff is being conducted in phases, which will be completed by end-2015.

According to the company, it is the biggest ever training programme undertaken in the history of Shell, which aims to empower every staff member to make each and every visit a positive experience for customers.

Shell will also upgrade selected service stations by revamping current Shell Select stores to a new retail design as well as launching its own in-house food and beverage section under its ‘deli2go’ brand, which offers freshly brewed coffee and pastries baked on-site.

New and improved facilities are further planned for particular stations.  These include suraus (prayer rooms) and toilets, dedicated seating lounges with Wifi connectivity, as well as device charging stations. Shell will also continue its leadership in safety standards under ‘Welcome To Shell’.

Site staff are trained and equipped to respond to customers and motorists in a variety of emergency situations.

“As one of the leading fuels retailers in the country, Shell is dedicated to helping Malaysian motorists get more out of their journey. Ultimately, we want to make our customers’ journeys better, so that they leave our stations a little happier than when they arrived,” Ben said.

Meanwhile, Shell worked with JWT which handled the creative executions for the campaign.

Responding to customers' needs

The starting point in the ideation process for ‘Welcome to Shell’ was its customers.  An online survey was conducted over a month during May-June 2015 with a sample of 1,006 nationally representative respondents in Malaysia.

The consumer survey led to useful insights about what makes drivers and retail customers happy thereby inspiring the idea for the campaign.

Overall, it concluded that customer service is an essential part of the shopping experience for Malaysians. For example, the survey revealed that  87% of respondents say a smile from store staff makes them happier than receiving a gift (80%) or reward (76%);while almost half (49%) revealed that poor customer service makes them more annoyed than being late for an appointment (46%) or waiting for a delayed flight, train or bus (43%). More than half have refrained from purchasing a brand if the staff is not friendly. This data, according to Shell, demonstrated the importance of service in strengthening its relationships with its customers.

Ben said:

While the world has grown closer through travel and technology, individuals seem to have grown farther apart. We sometimes lose the personal touch and forget that the smallest gestures – such as a kind word or a warm and friendly smile – are what make person’s day.

To get cultivate brand loyalty, Shell aims to deliver service with a more personal touch in order to remain an “essential part of our customers’ lives.”

By redefining customer experience at its stations, Shell aims to make its customers feel like guests: “ We want them to be wowed by their experience at our stations and we hope to make their journeys better, so that they leave a little happier than when they arrived.”