TWIN FALLS • Camelle Sizemore is no grease monkey, but she has been known to dabble in oil.
It’s not the kind, though, that will make her rich.
The 21-year-old Hazelton resident is the only female employee at the Twin Falls Jiffy Lube on Blue Lakes Boulevard. And though she performs the same duties as her six male colleagues, her bosses recognize her unique womanly attributes and take advantage of them.
“Girls see things a bit differently than guys in terms of customer service, and her insight from that perspective is valuable,” said Jiffy Lube owner Shane Burton. “I’ve never seen her upset, and she’s always smiling. She has the personality to work with both truckers and little old ladies.”
Added assistant manager Joseph Johnson: “She is a ball of fire, very assertive and super meticulous about cleanliness. Her work effort is above and beyond.”
“I love it here,” Sizemore said recently, after installing a new cabin air filter in a customer’s car. “I just wanted to do something different.”
Different it is.
Sizemore, who has been on the job six months, attended two community colleges in 2009 and 2010 after graduating from Valley High School in Hazelton. Along the way, she worked in a golf course clubhouse, worked for her family’s landscaping/sprinkler business and was a team leader at a Panda Express restaurant.
And she plays basketball — well enough, in fact, to be offered scholarships from the College of Southern Idaho and Treasure Valley Community College. She turned down the CSI scholarship to help care for her father, who died from cancer in 2009.
“My whole senior year in high school, I knew that my dad’s time was coming, and I was getting ready for it,” she said. “I wanted to spend more time with him.”
Now she’s at Jiffy Lube and digging the whole experience.
“I get to help customers maintain their vehicles, and that makes me feel good knowing they are safe driving down the road,” she said. “And I get to get dirty.”
Sizemore is Jiffy Lube’s customer service guru, a duty she places at the top of her list of responsibilities. Her gender comes in especially handy when she serves female customers.
“Some women like to talk to other women, because they feel less pressured to buy services they can’t afford or feel they don’t need,” she said.
Johnson elaborated: “Women customers can sometimes feel that they are not being completely informed about their vehicles. They may feel they are being taken advantage of from previous experiences in an auto or tire shop. Camelle makes communication very comfortable because women can interact with her as a woman and relate to her.”
And because she interacts with a wide variety of people every day, Sizemore is astute enough to alter her demeanor to meet the situation.
“You have to adjust your attitudes and personality a little bit for individual customers because some customers have more experience with cars than others do,” she said. “You have to be at the top of your game every day.”
But her customer rapport has so far kept her from experiencing life in the “lower bay,” the basement-like caverns below the cars where technicians “drop the oil.”
But that’s OK for now. She has plenty of other tasks.
In addition to keeping customers happy, she figures out via computer the correct oil, filters and other supplies to place on specific cars, performs quality inspections for customers, helps keep the shop clean, fills vehicles with oil and windshield-wiper fluid and replaces engine and cabin air filters.
Sizemore and her colleagues work together in a logical sequence, individual duties accomplished only after continual communication.
“There’s a lot of teamwork involved,” she said. “It’s enjoyable because the employees always make everything fun, and they are always in a good mood.”
Sizemore’s Jiffy Lube experience may have spawned a career. She has looked into the possibility of enrolling in the College of Southern Idaho automotive program, the intrigue of engine diagnostics prompting her interest.
“It’s like solving a puzzle trying to figure out one little thing that will make a vehicle run better,” she explained.
But in the meantime, she’ll concentrate on becoming a Jiffy Lube expert. She seems to have part of it already down.
“I like it when I see our customers leave with a smile on their faces,” she said. “That makes my day.”