Shell is bringing customer service to the pumps with the return of forecourt attendants at nearly 300 sites across the UK.

The new Attended Service programme is a free service designed to help drivers with advice on fuels and fuel efficiency, basic car care and safety tips.

Shell has set out to improve the forecourt experience by reintroducing close to 400 forecourt attendants this year to deliver a more personal service at no cost to motorists, including helping them fill their vehicles.

All Shell forecourt attendants have been trained by the Automobile Association (AA) to be able to carry out a range of car care tasks for Shell customers.

Recent research commissioned by Shell shows that efficient and knowledgeable customer service is welcomed by sizeable segments of UK motorists. A survey of more than 2,000 British adults revealed that 20% would rather have help and assistance when buying a product or service than be left to make their own choices. This figure rises to 25% for those aged 55 and over.

In addition, 30% view customer service as good when it saves them time by doing all the work for them, and this rises to 34% with the under-35 age group.

Shell’s new forecourt attendants will offer basic car care advice including checks on oil levels, screen wash levels, tyre pressure and tread. They will also advise customers on driving behaviours and how to make the right fuel choices and provide seasonal tips for driving in great British weather.

This service and advice is expected be welcomed by consumers as Shell’s research has revealed 9% of motorists have filled up their car with the wrong fuel. This can be a costly mistake, with men admitting to having done this more than women (11% for men compared to 7% for women).

In addition, even though the vast majority of motorists surveyed (90%) claim they know how to check their oil, more than one in eight (13%) leave this to their annual MOT.

Melanie Lane, general manager for Shell UK Retail, said: “Shell is renowned for its great fuels and engine oil and we are committed to trying harder than any other UK fuel retailer to bring that same level of quality to the forecourt and service experience.

“Across the industry, UK forecourts are generally not considered the most inviting and customer service-focused environments, and we aim to do something about that. The reintroduction of forecourt attendants will be a welcome addition for many of our busy, time poor customers.

“During 2012 we will continue to focus on making quality one-to-one service and improved facilities available to more customers across the country,” added Lane. “We are also encouraging our customers to tell us how the attendants are doing as well as other ways we can improve their experience through our Tell Shell system at

Commenting on the return of attendants at Shell, Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “Our work in training the new Shell attendants to become the front line on road safety and motoring advice will be a great help to UK drivers, and make our roads a safer place to be.

"We are proud to be collaborating with Shell on this project and we salute the return of the forecourt attendant, a great reminder of the golden age of motoring.”

Attended Service is part of Shell’s 2012 investment programme, which focuses on making its forecourts and petrol stations the best in the UK. Other developments include 250 former Total sites reopening as Shell service stations after an extensive makeover; the introduction of Costa Express machines at more than 500 stations; the integration and extension of Deli2go, which is Shell’s selected service provider for hot wraps, sausage rolls, pasties and ‘taquitos’; and members of Shell Drivers Club are now able to use their points to get Waitrose vouchers and make savings on their grocery shopping.