A smile, a free customer service tool.

Smiling, it’s easy, right?

We learn how to do it early in life, sometimes we just forget as we get older and maybe do it less often.

Lets see if we can help you smile.

Follow our little experiment.

Pause a moment, now think back to the last time you smiled before you read this article? Recall when a colleague, a friend, someone in your family or maybe a complete stranger did something or said something that made you smile?

Got it in your head, good. Remember that feeling inside, the happiness that made you smile. Capture that feeling. Close your eyes for a second and picture what it was that made you smile and why it made you smile.

Now, hold on to that thought and that feeling. You see, you’re smiling again.

You’ve just learned how to smile on cue.

Now you are a professional. Use a memory or feeling that helps you smile. Practice it and see how it works with your customers.

A smile is such a powerful tool in your customer service toolbox. So powerful that a well known airline cabin crew considered taking it away to make their point. Cathay Pacific’s flight attendees  considered ‘a no smile strike’. Seems like a small protest, until you consider for airlines, their brand is best exemplified by its cabin crew. Airlines rely on their five star reputation for service. It starts with a smile.

It’s such a powerful tool that Kirt Manecke based his top selling book on the power of a smile. Based on the premise that good service is good business. Add this book to your most important reading list : Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service.

A smile is so important that there is even a day dedicated to it.  What’s the most familiar smile in the world?  The one you see everyday as an emoticon on Twitter and Facebook. Its the one created by Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts. He created the smiley face in 1963. Harvey Ball said “Do an act of kindness, help one person smile” and founded World Smile Day, (click on the link to see the smiley face design) the next one is 3/10/2014. There’s time to practice before then.

Consider this. A smile is a free, yes FREE customer service tool. It’s easy to learn. All you have to do, is use it.

Here’s our top tips for customer service, of course, it starts with a smile.

1. Smile. You know how it’s done. Do it well.
2. Smile as you Dial. It’s an oldie but goodie, you can hear the difference.
3. First impressions. Like a warm greeting by a maitre d’
4. Last impressions. Like that delicious sweet at the end of your meal.
5. Greetings. Practice them, combine “Hello” with a smile! Keep it natural, keep it simple.
6. Care. Show that you care, do something that matters to them.
7. Read between the lines. Listen and pay attention to what your customer wants
8. Ask. Don’t just tell them what you do. Ask what they want.
9. Be Nice. See Shep Hyken!
10. Be professional. Always, that’s why you are there. Never lose your professionalism.

Confidently think you can spot a fake smile? How about this really cool survey and test by the BBC Science and Nature site.

Be good.Be smart.Be sure to Smile.

John Hallam

Email Info@infinite-training.com

Web www.infinite-training.com

Does service make a difference?

Does the quality of service you receive actually have a direct link to the time, loyalty and ultimately the money you spend with an organisation? Customer Service has always been an area of business that intrigues us, frustrates us and done properly can inspire us, but can it make profits? The following organisations achieved a high rating of customer service according to the Institute of Customer Service.
The Institute of Customer Service 2012 top 10 highest scoring organisations and services:

  1. Amazon (92)
  2. Marks & Spencer (food) (87)
  3. Ambulance Service (87)
  4. First Direct (86)
  5. John Lewis (86)
  6. Fire Service (86)
  7. Virgin Holidays (85)
  8. SAGA Holidays (85)
  9. Boots (85)
  10. Marks&Spencer(85)

All of them are established brands and organisations that are recognised as sector leaders in customer service. In the last 12 months two of those high ranking companies have demonstrated how good service can be linked to profitability. The John Lewis Partnership reported a 17% rise in profits, despite what many commentators would describe as a tough year on the high street. John Lewis was “Britain’s favourite electricals retailer
2012” (Consumer Satisfaction Index). While Boots UK illustrate the benefits of retaining customers and maintaining profits. The company reported a 6.1% rise in trading profits, while it’s customer loyalty scheme saw a boost in numbers, with over 60% of its retail transactions now made by Boots Advantage Card holders.
Customer loyalty drives retention and referrals. It’s a subject that is key to every CEO concerned with profitability. In a recent interview with Virgin boss Richard Branson, Carmine Gallo asked “What business is Virgin in?” “The experience business, he replied. “Anybody can sell a cup of coffee. Anyone can buy an airplane and we all buy planes from the same manufacturers (Boeing or Airbus), but there the difference stops. If you fly on a Virgin plane…you know you’re going to have a completely different experience.”

Branson went on to explain that the features and amenities Virgin America offers such as mood lighting, leather seats, newer planes and seat-back entertainment systems are all part of the package, and while the package might entice customers to give the product a try, the quality of the interaction they have with Virgin’s employees encourages them to return.
Branson also says quality interactions between leadership, staff, and customers separate the average company from the exceptional one in any category. Branson told Gallo, “When we started Virgin Atlantic thirty years ago we had one 747 and we were competing with airlines that had an average of 300 planes each. Every single one of those airlines have gone bankrupt because they didn’t have customer service. They had might, but they didn’t have customer service. Customer service is everything in the end.” (Gallo, Forbes, 5/9/13)
Chief Executive Nick Wood, Pets At Home, is implementing the same ethos. Not resting on previous success, he recently explained why he believed that customer service was the key to their current success and rise in profits. In an interview with Retail Week he explained their strategy “We’re focusing fundamentally on delivering service to customers every day. We’ve had a lot of growth from new stores but core like-for-likes are also up, which has been about focusing on the customer.” Wood believes the services provide customers with a “complete offer” and reasons to “keep coming back”. As a result, like-for- likes rose 2.2% while turnover soared 10% to £598.3m in the 52 weeks to March 28 2013. EBITDA jumped 10% to £100.8m. (RetailWeek, August 2013)
Ryanair, traditionally seen to defy the model that a good reputation for service equates to profits, may be about to refocus their business on good service. According to Harry Wallop, feature writer at The Telegraph, the treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen (as long as its cheap) way of doing business may be coming to an end. As one of the worlds most profitable airlines, Ryanair shocked the stock market in September 2013 with its first profit warning in almost a decade. The company’s share price plummeted as a result. The notorious Chief Executive once infamously told his “stupid” customers they could “bugger off” if they didn’t like the extra fees and levies. It seems their approach to customer services may be wearing thin with its customers and some experts believing that the company’s list of ancillary revenues is driving customers away. Interestingly, one of their main competitors, EasyJet, has announced record customer levels. In 2012 the airline made a simple change to policy and immediately raised their customer levels. By tending to basic customer service needs, i.e. reintroducing allocated seating, immediately attracted more customers at no extra cost to the business. In the week when Ryanair announced their profit warning, EasyJet showed record monthly passenger numbers, as a result its shares jumped 10.5 %

The emphasis is on building relationships and encouraging loyalty by meeting and occasionally exceeding customers needs. The company leaders we have highlighted recognise the challenge and are responding strongly. However, you don’t have to be the CEO of a multinational to make a difference to your business.
The experience of the customer can be very different in a very diverse market place. However, there is always an opportunity to impress. Take a recent experience of mine when I witnessed a high level of exceptional service in an unexpected place. A case of customer amazement from quite possibly the busiest places in the world. With over 350,000 pedestrians on an average day, nearer to 460,000 on busy days, Times Square, NY is an incredible hub of humankind.
Known as ‘the crossroads of the world’ in midtown Manhattan, Times Sq is not renowned for it customer service. When asked most people are quoted as saying the opposite, often citing New Yorkers as rude and offhand. A recent survey in the Business Insider (Aug 2013), New York was described as a having the most arrogant people in the United states.
But that’s not the whole story, and after a recent trip to New York I have learned that there are exceptions, you just have to look closely. After all, precious gems are meant to be rare, but if you look hard enough, you will find them. Like digging for diamonds in the depths of the Diavik mines, if you know where to look and you have an eye for treasure, you’ll find that rare moment of service you are searching for.
I was wandering around Times Sq, passing time before we had to leave later for JFK Airport. Just before lunch, at around 12:30 it started to drizzle. In the distance the gathering clouds were dark and ominous. A rumble of thunder told everyone there was a storm on the way. In just a few short minutes the storm descended on Times Sq, as drizzle turned to heavy rain, people ran quickly for cover or hastily looked to buy rain gear.
Of course the land of opportunity, shops and street sellers are fast to react to make a quick buck from the stranded tourists looking for an umbrella or poncho. I took shelter under a shop front on the corner of 46th & 7th. On the pavement nearby was a street seller who’s normal retail was baseball caps and T-shirts. He was a young man in his twenties, dressed in a vest and shorts, with a close cut afro. As the rain came in, he put on a poncho and started to sell umbrellas. With an array of cheeky sales pitch comments, he teased the passing pedestrians into stopping to purchase an umbrella. His style was enough to make me stop for a while and enjoy patter.
What he did next was what Shep Hyken would describe as “A Moment of Magic” and captures the essence of ‘amazement’ in his book “The Cult of the Customer”.
46th street crossing 7th Avenue is extremely busy, with a never ending flow of traffic and people. With the rain falling heavily pedestrians were scuttling across the road and vehicles were waiting impatiently for the lights to change. As the rain continued to fall, an elderly man was slowly crossing the road. He was a little unsure on his feet and careful to tread his path. When the light’s changed, he was the only person left on the road and only half way across, the vehicles began to encroach on the designated crossing zone. He was struggling to go more quickly to reach the other side. The umbrella seller was quick to react. He immediately saw that the grey haired old man needed help and without a second thought shouted to his ‘assistant’ who was sheltering a few feet away from me. “Yo, go and help that man cross the road” he shouted in a strong Brooklyn accent, gesturing towards the stranded pedestrian. His assistant duly ran to the gentleman’s aid, offered his arm and escorted him safely to the pavement and onto level ground. The gent nodded to the seller, thanked his assistant and continued on his way. Just a few seconds in a busy, chaotic day in Times Sq that made a huge impression on me and a few others that noticed. What did I learn? First of all I learned that I am not always as quick to react to someones needs as I’d like to think. Nor did anyone else in that split second and I suspect several others would have checked themselves for not helping. I also learnt that in all my experiences of being a customer in New York, my amazement experience came from a most unexpected source. There are many companies, retail outlets, food outlets, shops and stores in the city that I visited this week. Many of whom did impress me as a customer and did a great job. However, out of all the big brand names, chains, franchises and business, the one that most impressed me beyond any doubt was a man whole buys and sells goods from a street stall. A micro business by anyones definition. And I wasn’t even his customer, until that moment. Guess who I bought a $5 umbrella from before I moved on?
To many, like our hero in this story, customer service comes naturally. While others need a little more inspiration and guidance. Many of us need a help along the way, after all some people take to swimming in minutes, “like a fish to water” while some need water wings and a little encouragement. You wouldn’t leave them bobbing around without giving them a few pointers would you? (maybe for a little while, but then the fun wears off and you need to get them moving!) The same goes for Customer Service Skills. If you don’t show people how to paddle they won’t be able to swim upstream so well. Teach them the basics and they will forge ahead. Leave them bobbing around and they’ll sink (or your customers will).
Customer Service training is not only about learning new techniques and fancy acronyms, it is also about motivation and inspiration towards improving attitude and performance.

John Hallam

Email Info@infinite-training.com

Web www.infinite-training.com

Customer Amazement – a tale of New York

A tale of customer amazement from quite possibly the busiest places in the world.
With over 350,000 pedestrians on an average day, nearer to 460,000 on busy days and approximately 100,000 car drivers/passengers daily, Times Square, NY is an incredible hub of humankind.

Known as ‘the crossroads of the world’ in midtown Manhattan, Times Sq is not renowned for it customer service. When asked most people are quoted as saying the opposite, often citing New Yorkers as rude and offhand. A recent survey in the Business Insider (Aug 2013) , New York was described as a having the most arrogant people in the United states.

But that’s not the whole story, and after a recent trip to New York I have learned there are often two sides to be heard.
Precious gems are meant to be rare, but if you look hard enough, you will find them. Like digging for diamonds in the depths of the Diavik mines, if you know where to look and you have an eye for treasure, you’ll find that rare moment of service you are searching for.

Earlier this week I was wandering around Times Sq, passing time before we had to leave later for JFK Airport. Just before lunch, at around 12:30 it started to drizzle. In the distance the gathering clouds were very dark and ominous. A rumble of thunder told everyone there was a storm on the way. In just a few short minutes the storm landed on Times Sq, as drizzle turned to heavy rain, people ran quickly for cover or hastily looked to buy rain gear.

Of course this is land of opportunity, shops and street sellers are fast to react to make a quick buck from the stranded tourists looking for an umbrella or poncho.
I took shelter under a shop front on the corner of 46th & 7th. On the pavement nearby was a street seller who’s normal retail was baseball caps. He was a young man in his twentys, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, with a close cut affro. As the rain came in, he put on a poncho and started to sell umbrellas. With an array of cheeky sales pitch comments, he teased the passing pedestrians into stopping to purchase a handy brolly.
His style was enough to make me stop a while and enjoy patter.

What he did next was what Shep Hyken would describe as “A Moment of Magic” and captures the essence of ‘amazement’ in his book “The Cult of the Customer”.

46th street crossing 7th Avenue is extremely busy, with a never ending flow of traffic and people.
With the rain falling heavily pedestrians were scuttling across the road and vehicles were waiting impatienly for the lights to change. At one point, as the rain continued to fall, an elderly man was slowly crossing. He was a little unsure on his feet and careful to tread his path.
When the ligths changed, he was the only person left on the road and the vehicles began to encroach on the designated crossing zone. With about three yards to go he was struggling to go more quickly to reach the other side.
The umbrella seller was quick to react. He immediately saw the grey haired old man needed help and without a second thought shouted to his ‘assistant’ who was sheltering a few feet away from me.
“Yo, go and help that man cross the road” he shouted in a strong Brooklyn accent, gesturing to the stranded pedestrian.
His assistant duly ran to the gentleman’s aid, offered his arm and escorted him safely to the pavement and onto level ground.
The gent nodded to the seller, thanked his assistant and continued on his way.

Just few seconds in a busy, chaotic day in Times Sq that made a huge impression on me and a few others that noticed.

What did I learn?
First of all I learned that I am not always as quick to react and see a need as I’d like to think. Nor did anyone else in that split second and I suspect several others would have checked themselves for not helping.
I also learnt that in all my experiences of being a customer in New York, my amazement experience came from a most unexpected source. There are many companies, retail outlets, food outlets, shops and stores in the city that I visited this week. Many of whom did impress me as a customer and did a great job. However, out of all the big brand names, chains, franchises and business, the one that most impressed me beyond any doubt was a man whole buys and sells goods from a street stall. A micro business by anyones definition.
And I wasn’t even his customer,.. till then.
Guess who I bought a $5 umbrella from before I moved on?

The next time you are in New York, don’t just listen to the hype about rude and uncooperative local people, give someone a chance to impress you. You might be as surprised and delighted as I was.

John Hallam

Email Info@infinite-training.com

Web www.infinite-training.com

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What makes good customer service?

It’s a question asked but rarely answered by the people that count…the customers.

We set ourselves a task to find out. Rather than write a big piece of what is or isn’t good service, we let the people do the talking Inspired by the excellent work by Soulpancake (if you haven’t seen Kid President, firstly where have you been hiding and secondly you’re missing a treat) we hatched a plan to put together our own video.

Armed with the video camera from our iPhones, some post-it notes, a pen and a mini tripod from ebay, we captured people when and when we could. Some were family, others colleagues and friends…and some four legged contributors. All were more than willing to help us once we explained our purpose.

The question we asked of our friends, family and colleagues was “what makes good customer service” They all answered differently, but all were gut reactions. As Seth Godin, entrepreneur, author and Guru said “The only purpose of customer service is to change feelings”.

You’ll see that most people refer to something that has feelings. Most importantly customer service is about feelings.

Our conclusion to the exercise is simple. We all have our own needs and wants. Some people want undivided attention, to be guided and supported, while others want space to breath, to choose and to make an informed decision. We all want something different. Perfectly summed up by  John Russell, President at Harley Davidson, “The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.”

The smart organizations realize this and are able to adapt, read between the lines and give the customer the best experience, so that we feel like valued individuals.

So the people have spoken, check it out here..

What does good customer service mean?

John Hallam

Email Info@infinite-training.com

Web www.infinite-training.com

Call Handling Skills…how to get it right

Telephone contact is central to many organisations success. The call handler therefore is arguably the most important person in the organisation. The first contact, first impression, first opportunity for any customer to get a feeling for how their relationship with the organisation is going to develop.

What makes for successful call handling?
Natural ability. If you have ‘it’ your personality will shine through.

If you haven’t got ‘it’ you are going to need to apply some structure to help you learn how. Even if you are a natural, you are still going to need to apply structure, for system, procedure and process compliance.

Call handling skills need to be learned and adapted just like any other personal skill.

Assuming the calls are answered quickly, good practice is to aim for three rings or less, your most important timescale is the next 30 seconds.

Your greeting, should be clearly audible (that sounds obvious, but when was the last time you listened to yourself on playback, do it and practice it), concise and accurate. Remember my first concern as a caller is understanding that I have rung the right person. As a call handler, pause half a second before you give your greeting, allow the listener time to tune in, and speak at a steady pace. Don’t rush or push, the caller will have to ask you again if they don’t hear properly.

It’s cheesy, but still true, remember to smile as you dial!  People can hear the smile in your voiceThe research backs it up. Professor John J Ohala from the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley told us so in his research paper  “The Acoustic Origins of the Smile”, Ohala states that “higher resonance can be achieved by a trumpet like flaring of the tract and/or by retracting the corners of the mouth”

So smile while you are talking, it really does work, try it now.

When your call speaks, be prepared to listen, be attentive and show empathy. Listen actively (yes, I see, ok, ect) but don’t interrupt.  They’ve taken the trouble to call you, let them tell you why and what they need.

Here’s the bit that most people miss. When your caller has finished telling,  don’t immediately ask questions. Take stock and take responsibility for the call (ok, I can help you with that) and tell them what you are going to have to do next. Don’t just do it, explain it.

Set the scene for what follows next. You know the process, but they may not, it’s easy and only takes a few seconds to do, something like “to be able to help you I need to ask a few questions, is that ok” or “we need to complete a few details with you to get the right service, will that alright”

That should allow you to start asking a few questions. By now you should have made a great first impression that you can build on.

We’ll look at the rest of the call in another blog. For now, go and practice that greeting and smiling!

John

Customer Service…does it really matter…is it really worth investing in?..

Customer Service has always been an area of business that intrigues us, frustrates us and done properly can inspire us.., or at the very least it can make you smile for a while.

But does it really matter to you? Does the service you receive actually make you spend more time, and money, with any given company or organisation.

According to statistics it does. These organisations achieve high rating according to the Institute of Customer Service.

The 10 highest scoring organisations and services are:

  1. Amazon (92)
  2. Marks & Spencer (food) (87)
  3. Ambulance Service (87)
  4. First Direct (86)
  5. John Lewis (86)
  6. Fire Service (86)
  7. Virgin Holidays (85)
  8. SAGA Holidays (85)
  9. Boots (85)
  10. Marks & Spencer (85)

Look familiar? That’s because they are successful.

According to the latest (May 2011) American Express Global Customer Service

78% of customer have thrown in the towel and gone elsewhere due to poor service

When was the last time someone made you smile, was genuinely helpful and interested in you as a customer?

And 73% of customers state they have spent more money as a result of good service (http://dailyinfographic.com/social-customer-service-infographic#)

Now that’s just the stats.

Good service is about feelings. Remember the last time a shop assistant made you smile? or the last time a sales person made your day? That’s creating a feeling. A moment of magic as Shep Hyken would put it.

The experience of the customer can be very different in a very diverse market place.

For instance, we recently organised a national corporate event at a local Hilton Hotel. The attention to detail and the attention to us from the staff is second to none. Anything we need or ask for is taken care of straightaway and done in style. We now hold our bi-annual conference there without a second thought. What makes is for us, yes the excellent facilities and the atmosphere, but what really seals the deal is knowing we will be taken care of and the confidence in the hotel team to help us make our event special to all our guests.How far removed could a local butchers be from a hotel business. It’s still about the feeling. Shopping there I know the family business is run well, there’s always cheerful banter with each generation of butcher. It’s a learned family trait in talking to your customers. Of course I go back because the products are great, but I know that when I recommend my friends should go, they will be pleasantly surprised by the how well they are greeted and served.

To many customer service comes completely natural, to some it needs a little more inspiration and guidance. If everyone was naturally good at it, you wouldn’t notice when someone gets it badly wrong. Many of us need a help along the way, after all some people take to swimming in minutes, while some need water wings and a little longer. You wouldn’t leave them bobbing around without giving them a few pointers would you? (maybe for a little while, but then the fun wears off and you need to get them moving!) Same goes for Customer Service Skills. If you don’t show people how to paddle they won’t be able to swim upstream so well. Teach them the basics and they will forge ahead. Leave them bobbing around and they’ll sink (or your customers will).

Remember training is not only about learning new techniques and fancy acronyms, it is also about motivation and inspiration towards improving performance.

As the great Jan Carlzon said “improve 100 things by 1%”

John Hallam

Email Info@infinite-training.com

Web www.infinite-training.com

Happy Christmas from Infinite Training….Santa’s little helpers x

Santa's Little HelpersHappy Christmas everyone.

We’ve had a great year, but not it’s time to enjoy the festive period. Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas time.

See you in the New Year x

KWL and Infinite Training

KWL (Kingstown Works Limited, Hull) and Infinite Training started working together through 2012.

We were really pleased to be asked to assist in their latest Lone Worker Policy development and delivery.

We were pleased to work with the Endsleigh Centre again for our Hull region delivery.
The programme we developed included :

Define lone working

  • •Lone working policy
  • •Risk categories
  • •Legal aspects
  • •Identify key policy and procedure protocols
  • •Review and reinforcing KWL Lone Working Policy and systems of work

Dynamic risk assessment

  • •Assess risks to personal safety in relation to lone working
  • •Practical strategies for lone worker safety

Scenario

  • •Case study and developing strategies for managing lone worker situations

Communication Skills

  • •Body language, words and phrases for managing difficult situations

Reporting measures

  • •Review and identify reporting and recording measures for associated with lone worker risks
  • •Reporting incidents, risks and near misses
  • •Review
  • •Policy and procedure review

The results from the training and the feedback have been excellent, we look forward to the next stage of delivery through November to January 2013.

The project is now well under way with almost 300 members of the KWL Team trained in Lone Worker Policy. They now have a greater understanding of the Safe Systems of Work in place, have greater communications with Civic 1 and a more robust procedure in place.

We had really positive feedback from the course, with 95% of delegates rating the training as excellent or very good and 90% of delegates rated the training methods as excellent or very good. We were delighted to get some very positive Twitter feedback too!

photo photo[1]

 

Lifehacker – Customer Service Short Cuts

Stop Wasting Time Waiting for Help

Technology and commonsense ideas to get the best out of your customer service experience from an article written by the Lifehacker team.

If you are a company, it’s an insight into your customers journey and how you can smooth the way to better communications.

Customer Service Success in Sheffield

We love this story of fantastic customer service published in the Sheffield Telegraph  on Sunday 4 March 2012 09:00

Val deserves all the credit she receives and the Telegraph for covering a Positive #Sheffield story.

LIVING at the other side of Sheffield, Val Taylor needs an early start for her job at a petrol service station in Crosspool.

“I get up at 4am and I’m here for between 5.30am and 5.45am, and I’m here until 2.30pm five days a week Monday to Friday,” she says.

At the age of 72, it is not only her commitment to working at Jet’s Crosspool Service Station that has won her the company’s inaugural title of Sales Assistant of the Year.

Her customer service and pride in her appearance and the premises at the corner of Selbourne Road won over the judges of 380 independently-operated sites.

It all resulted in a trip yesterday (Wednesday) for an awards ceremony at a top hotel in Stratford-on-Avon for Val and Crosspool manager Stella Lucas.

It was “very rewarding to be recognised after working in the forecourt industry for nearly 20 years,” said Val, who lives with husband Tom in Yew Lane.

“The customer always comes first in my job and being friendly and polite costs nothing!”

Val first worked for BP in Langsett Road and then in Savile Street, near the Wicker, until the floods of the summer of 2006 caused irreparable damage.

After 18 months on reception at a neighbouring Vauxhall dealership, she moved to the Jet station in Manchester Road where she has been for two years.

“I love the job,” she said. “It’s social. There are some nice people here, and there’s a good rapport between the customers and the staff. Everything is fine.”

Nominees for the award came from dealers and regional managers, and the final decision was made by a panel of ConocoPhillips judges based on employees who go the extra mile to help customers.

Stella Lucas said: “Val is an absolute pleasure to work with, She has the patience of a saint and nothing is too much trouble when it comes to helping our customers.

“She contacts the local garage if customers have car problems and offers helpful directions if anyone is lost.

“Val takes the greatest pride in her work by arriving early and keeping the forecourt clean, plus she is always dressed immaculately.”

Jet regional sales manager Guy Pulham said she goes “above and beyond the call of duty: at 72 years young, Val sets a great example by doing such a great job and we’re extremely pleased to have her in the network.”

With two daughters, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren, she could be excused taking things a little easier.

But Val is having none of it: “I haven’t got time to retire!”