Shell gas stations

I have never done a reveal gas station before today, but took the plunge because there are some decent bonuses in my area.

Anyways, I read through all the materials and searched this forum for related threads as well. I feel fairly stupid because even though they provide dozens of pages of directions, I am still confused by some things.

1) What exactly is the difference between a caution vs no?

2) If a pump is not available (plastic bag over the nozzle), do I rate that pump number a no? Or a caution?

3) For the “general site photo,” I included the PID sign because that seemed important to them, but in some instances it caused me to be really far back because of angling. Is it more important to include the PID sign in that case? Or do they prefer I not include the sign and get closer to the overall building?

4) At what point do I ask the employee the “product knowledge question?” Is that part of the mystery shop portion? Or is it like a quiz question?

5) How do I grade things when one of the little red credit card safety seal stickers is absent? Is that a “no,” even if 9/10 pumps have an intact sticker present?

6) Those boxes on each pump containing the shell applications... if the box is cracked/damaged, is that a ding to the score? It specifically asked about the box at the pump I used for my gas, but what about the others?

7) How harsh do I need to be about “dirt/grime buildup” on the pump stations? Im in the Midwest where it’s a sloppy wet dirty mess outside right now.

Any advice/tips would be so appreciated. I did find the thread about “why is shell the worst” so I’ve read through that one winking smiley I just really want to do a decent job and submit thorough reports. It took me about an hour at each of the 3 stores I did today, hoping to speed that up with practice.

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Here is what I have done or would do:

1) Caution is really more your judgement. Is the shop negligent in other areas or is the infraction a long term issue meaning is it something that appears to not have been addressed. Example: A dirty restroom where it appears to not have been cleaned (a No) or is it where the shop seems busy and the trash has not been emptied or a customer has been a slob (Caution).
2) That's a No. If they (the editors think not, they'll change your answer anyway).
3) I take 4 photos: Two of the site closer with the PID omitted and two further out with the PID included. I usually submit the photo without the PID first and see if they want the PID as well. Often, the editor will ask for the PID overall photo, sometimes they don't. In the comment section I might state that the overall photo was difficult to show the PID due to the PID's location or being obstructed by landscape or some other thing.
4) I just ask the question as part of the shop purchase. Say, "what does the (whatever is being touted by the company) do or something like that. The employee usually has a good response. AAMOF, I cannot remember an employee answering incorrectly. Just keep it simple and be understanding of the reply.
5) Look closely for those stickers. I have not come across them missing. If you see one missing, take the photo of the pump and give a Caution.
6) IMO, No ding. Its there.
7) Don't be harsh at all. I'm in the north country. I never judge for wintertime messes until there has been a period of warmth allowing the site to clean stuff. By mid-spring, give them a caution if there's a mess still. By late spring, ding them, they've been negligent.

That's how I've done it or would do it.
@French Farmer Thank you so much for the detailed response, I really appreciate your help!
Ok so I got one sent back as a hold and asking for another food offering pic. No problem, I took tons. However, I can see the edits they made and now I feel bad! They marked about half of the pumps as no or caution due to dirty residue. Is that normal? They really weren’t bad in person. I know it’s their report and all, I just feel bad for the store owner because he was doing a good job and trying hard.
Yes, that is normal. You struggle over whether to mark things off, trying to strike a perfect balance and and be fair, and then someone changes half your answers based on some grainy photos. I suppose they they have to establish some sort of consistency among the different evaluators, but sometimes I have to wonder. Just keep using your best judgement and don't let it affect you, unless you get specific written feedback.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2018 09:29AM by mystery2me.
I agree with French Farmer's advice. I would add that we are only worried about the little red seal at the pump we use, and can ignore it on the others. The same goes for the application holder, if I recall correctly.
I did a shell shop went through three editors. This was a 12 pump station the first editor only wanted copies of the receipts resent. I did. The second editor did not like pictures of some of pumps. the station was 45 min away. I drove back took new pictures. The third editor did not like the overall food offerings. I finally called in and said I am not driving back it is not worth my time. She approved the shop. I said the editing for these shops are too subjective they needed more consistancy. I want to do a good job but i do this for money and need to make a profit.
For Shell shops, my rule of thumb for photos is the "Rule of Four". Food photos - take 4 different photos. Same goes for Product photos. For the Interior photo, take 1 photo from each corner of the shop (4 total). Forecourt, do the same - 1 photo from each corner. I already mentioned the Overall (2 plus another 2). The only exceptions for me are the restrooms (2 photos), storefront (2 photos), pumps (two photos) MID (1 photo each side) and Selfie (2 photos)..
Also, put together your own personalized worksheet. For example: my worksheet has a space each for things like address of shop, date of the shop, shop visit ID, time began and time done, amount of shop purchase, amount of gas purchase, price of regular gas, total number of pumps, how many were diesel, required photos, invoice amount, date of invoice, invoice ID and anything else you think would be helpful and pertinent to the shop. Make one for each shop you perform. Staple the receipts to the sheet and then file into a folder for the month of the shop. Have a folder for each month of the year.
I could go on about how to input this into your computer. But nevermind, you get the idea.
Some may consider this all a bit "anal" or OCD. For the most part, I've always found that when I write the information into the worksheet, it imprints into my memory.
BTW, on the worksheet, have a blank area or use the back of it for any comments specific to the shop. If something odd occurred and you think it might be pertinent to the editors or the MSC write it down there. Much like how a police officer stays at the seen of a ticket, etc, write everything pertinent at the site, not later when you might forget.
A few tips: 1. Take a pic of the entire counter from an angle, not just the pay area. 2. If you have a panoramic feature on your camera or phone, use it, especially for the corner shots of the interior and the restroom. 3. Don't get too close to the food picture shot, especially if it is something like bananas. Step back so they can see the adjacent areas. 4. Make sure your product shot is from a different angle than your overall interior shot. For the product they lie to see an end cap, the aisle items and, if possible, the wall items in back of the aisle. If you use your pan feature here you can get both aisle products into the picture. 5. For the forecourt shot don't take just the canopy. They want a ground shot up to and including the bottom of the canopy. 6. Step far enough away for the overall shot so you can capture the MID, canopy area and building. It is a good idea to take a shot from the left and right corners.

All of these details make picture taking a pita but it is what they want. I have found the editors to be overly critical and, I agree, it is annoying when they change many of your answers. But as long as the shop is accepted, I really don't care. I was told once by a scheduler or a supervisor that new editors are placed with Shell so that could explain why they are so picky.

I don't argue with the editors. I will respond once via email and if my explanation is not accepted, I get a scheduler or a supervisor involved. And I don't return to the station to correct some ticky-tack hold. If I missed a picture or the shot was blurry then it is on me and I will return unless distance prohibits it.

I have gotten used to doing Shell shops and can do them in 20 to 30 minutes like the other brands but they remain my least favorite.
You guys are great, thank you!!

Another question— how do you invoice when it’s a “darkness eligible?” I had one and added it into my purchase reimbursement with a note, but wasn’t quite sure what they prefer...

Also, is there a way to see when a shop is through the editing process and accepted?
You don't have to do anything. They will verify that you did indeed complete it at dark, then they automatically add the "Darkness" incentive.
I haven’t come across any Shell shops yet, but have done Sunoco and Chevron. Neither of those stations were as bad as what you are describing. I hope they pay well!
For the question “is the site open 24/7,” does anyone know if they mean the actual store/station? Or do they mean can you drive up and pump gas/pay at the pump 24/7?
I'm 99 percent sure they mean the store/station. I've always answered it that way and have not been told otherwise.
I always take extra pictures on these in case something doesn't look right. Our survey is different around here, it doesn't seem as picky as yours. I like the free gas part but not rewarding the clerk is a drag.
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