Grand Petroleum, Inc. is a Valero gas and convenience store operator in Northern California with ten locations and more under development. Previously, its site teams relied on e-mails, texts, handwritten notes, word-of-mouth and face-to-face meetings to stay in touch, which slowed response times to employee questions. What’s more, above store leaders traveled quite a bit to oversee their locations, and found themselves responding to the same issues over and over again.
Recently, the company’s owner decided to try out Crew’s modern approach to communications via a simple mobile app the entire organization could use to stay in touch. Grand Petroleum’s managers and employees quickly fell in love with the solution’s intuitive messaging, announcements and recognition capabilities. Crew keeps all 70+ employees on the same page, which in turn is improving everything from employee satisfaction and retention, to the customer experience and overall sales.
To help team members easily connect, Grand Petroleum’s leadership set up several targeted groups in Crew. “With groups for each department and site team, as well as cross-store groups for managers and maintenance, Crew helps us instantly resolve any issues that arise,” noted Cindy Anderson, regional manager at Grand Petroleum. “For instance, if a register gets stuck or the point of sales system isn’t accepting a customer’s loyalty card, our cashier doesn’t have to waste time trying to track down their direct manager. Instead, they just post their question in Crew, and any manager who knows the answer can assist them right away.”
Employees are now empowered to answer customer questions 90% faster than before implementing Crew, making it easy to solve problems quickly and send customers – including truck drivers in a time crunch – on their way much happier. Managers also use Crew to assign specific tasks, reward good performance and facilitate training by sharing pictures or videos. Finally, team members use Crew to ensure smooth shift transitions, communicating important updates about repairs or inspections to everyone at once, rather than leaving notes in the store and hoping the right people see them.
“Employees have embraced Crew, and it’s become an essential tool for all of our communications. By giving people the sense that they belong to something bigger and their input matters, Crew brings positivity that motivates teams to improve productivity.”
Just like any new tool, Grand Petroleum’s employees were a bit hesitant to use Crew at first. However, the company’s managers led by example, reminding people to keep things professional and post all work-related questions, problems or updates on Crew – even if they already had their answer. Once employees got used to doing this, they realized Crew was a helpful resource for sharing knowledge.
Although the company still doesn’t require everyone to use Crew, most employees adopted it within the first month, and today 98% rely on the app as their main form of communication. Managers encourage new workers to download Crew right off the bat, explaining how they’ll benefit from access to important updates.
Now that everyone – from smaller remote sites to graveyard shift workers – is connected via Crew, Grand Petroleum’s employees feel better supported and know their voice is heard. Rather than spending 80% of her time dealing with unpredictable issues, frustrations or mistakes, Cindy is freed up to focus on employee engagement. She said, “Today I spend more time communicating with our teams, and it’s time better spent for the business. Before, things were getting lost in translation, which created unnecessary downtime, whereas with Crew, I’m able to spend 60% more time on positive, proactive communications.”
For example, the organization uses Crew to set a standard for quality work by posting photos of how displays are supposed to look, or sharing new procedures. If one store is cited for an infraction during a surprise inspection, managers use Crew to remind the other teams how to better comply. Crew also provides the perfect place for public recognition when an employee goes above and beyond. Managers award Crew Gold Stars when people cover a last-minute shift for a co-worker, raise important questions or concerns, or simply do a great job staying on top of their work. With this increase in quality of work, Cindy has seen a 35% increase in customer satisfaction.
Since adopting Crew, Grand Petroleum employees are happier and more motivated, which means they serve customers better – helping the business boost customer satisfaction and grow overall sales. Ardy Farhangdoost, a general manager at Grand Petroleum, shared, “With Crew, frontline team members get answers faster, which means they can address customer issues and get services up and running faster. All of this reduces friction for customers and improves their overall experience.”
In addition, Cindy estimates that employee retention has gone up 30%, reducing the time her team spends on finding and training new staff. With each new employee requiring 20 hours of training with a manager, this saves the business around 1,500 hours of manager time each year. As a result, the leadership team can focus on things like identifying talent potential and increasing store output, sales revenue and gross margins.