Delivering Pizza


© Julie70 FlickrYesterday was one of those days where making food seemed like a huge task*, we had so many other things to do. So we decided to order pizza. We experienced extremely poor customer service and I will tell you why here at my blog. What people working with customer care ironically seem to forget is the need of the customers and they try to fix or serve a need that is in no need of service. I find this funny, so I need to elaborate on this today.

Postponed Dinner

I ordered pizza online with an estimated time of delivery approximately within the hour. All good so far, but from earlier experience, we always got the pizza within 40-45 minutes. When it got close to the hour I started to get my “Oooh…I am soon experiencing some nifty customer support” – this is where I start documenting everything with pen and paper. When another 15 minutes passed I called the pizza place. Oh they left 10 minutes ago was the short reply. I said, funny, I live 3 minutes away. Another ten minutes went by.

* This indicate that it was my turn to make dinner!

But that was not all.

I finally got the pizza after a delay of almost one hour. But the order was not complete. He forgot the kids-pizza and blamed it at chaos at work today. No, you don’t say I replied with sarcasm in my voice. Do you want a refund he said? No my six year old do not eat hot spicy pizza so I need you to get it for me. Another 30 minutes went by and he delivered a pizza that was burned and he did not bring the toy that always follows a kiddies menu. In the living room I had a hungry kid with high level of frustration and my night was almost ruined. Well I got a 50 % price cut, and they lost a customer for a very very long time. Why?

Why they lost me is simple

They did not provide me with food at the time my family planned to eat. They did not inform me about being late even if they must have known that there was chaos this night?

What if they called me and said: I am sorry we are behind on our orders today, we can bring your pizza at xx o’clock? Or if you would like you could order your pizza from (“competitor’s name”) and we will cancel your order with us today.

What would it lead to?

  • I would wait, know and be happy
  • I would cancel the order and order from the competition this one time, but I would for sure be a returning customer the next time
  • They would not need to give me 50 % discount that I do not care about anyway. I want food!
  • They would not need to deliver my pizza if I went to the competition, saving them time, making it possible to catch up.

I would either way be a happy customer. I would get my food on time, or be notified if time was not essential to my delivery.

I got an e-mail today where they offered me a gift certificate. That is nice but in real life it is just another way of wasting money, when they could save time and money by giving me a call. I am still ordering from the competition next time.

What did we learn?

The need of the customer might not be met by what you are offering. If your broadband connection is down, you might not care whether or not it is getting back up, but you do care about when and how you are going to place your orders within time limits! If you are out of Pepsi, you might still be thirsty, waiting until the next shipment of Pepsi won’t do. You need to solve the needs of your customer and not necessarily fix the problem – there is a difference.

Finished reading?
Do you want to read more about customer care? Check out my customer care category for more.

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5 Comments on "Delivering Pizza"

  1. Yes, it was. Lesson learned (as elementary as it sounds): Business is about making money.

  2. Frode Heimen | July 28, 2010 at 8:54 pm |

    Hi again Anna from accross the pond.

    Wow! I bet that was a great learning experience for you?

    – Frode

  3. Hi Frode,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Adding to “Call the headquarter to stop orders from the internet” – I remember one day we had a power outage at Waffle House while our division manager was there. He did not allow us to close the restaurant down! (We were boiling water on the gas grill to make coffee, the soda machines didn’t work, no lights, no refrigeration, no air conditioning… – it was total chaos and the health department would have probably not approved of us being open either). The division manager did not care if we ruined our reputation – stopping to take orders was just not an option.
    Anyway, have a great week. 😉 Greetings from across the pond,

  4. Frode Heimen | July 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm |

    Hi Anna. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

    I do believe this could be avoided by thinking smart. You have so many people at work at any given time. Probably they where understaffed this evening. They would benefit greatly from getting one man on the phone calling a few people. 1. Call the headquarter to stop orders from the internet. 2. call in one or two more employees. 3. call the customers and apologize as I wrote.

    I once had trouble getting my department to handle all the calls. I did some basic math and removed one person from the phone, he got one mission to increase the efficiency in all the other by ten percent. After working with 1/4 of the people we where profiting from this stunt. And he has been working as a coach ever since.

    They could probably also include some delivery time check in their online orders. In that way the customer would be warned that it might take more than one hour. It is absolutely possible.

    I have not worked in fast food myself, but I believe that managers here is promoted from the staff, resulting in rookie managers. This could be the problem here? Resulting in not being prepared for the peak?!? I don’t know..could be?


  5. Hi Frode,
    Great story. I used to work in fast food and think this is an interesting topic. Could this issue have been avoided by putting yet another ‘process or system’ in place? Or does the fail-safe still rest on management’s leadership abilities?

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