Pizza Customer Woes
Posted by Becky Carroll on February 15, 2007
Phil Gerbyshak and I have a lot in common. We both try to blog from a positive perspective. We both believe in the cool “underground” culture that is blogging. And we are both frustrated with the pizza chain Papa John’s. Phil’s post from yesterday describes his bad experience on Valentine’s Day, which ended up with cold pizza left on his front porch. Check it out, including the comments because Phil asked for suggestions on how Papa John’s can “Make it Great!” Yes, this is a departure from the usual positive thinking, but let this be a lesson to all: enough frustration can cause anyone to crack.
Here is my pizza story, along with some tips for Papa John’s.
The Online Experience
I love it when the online and offline experiences work together. They didn’t work together for me with Papa John’s. When I first heard of this chain, I was very excited about being able to order pizza online and have it delivered. Why? I don’t have to leave my computer, I don’t have to talk to the
teens people hired to work there, and I love using the Internet to make my life simpler.
My first order went fine — pizza ordered online, I could add or remove toppings to half of a pizza at a time, and I could pay cash at the door when it arrived. Cool!
My second order left something to be desired. I had some coupons from my first order; they had been glued to the top of the pizza box. I grabbed the coupon sheet and logged on to the Papa John’s website. I customized my two pizzas (Family Special: buy one specialty pizza at regular price, get a large with two toppings for $x) and went to the check-out screen. I looked for a place to indicate my coupon. There were places to input a “promotion code”, but the coupon didn’t list any codes. The Family Special was listed, but it was priced $4 higher then my coupon. As a result, I had to either pay a higher price or abandon my online order; I did the latter (major bummer – this is why I used Papa John’s!). Where is my phone?
Marketing Tip #1: If you are including a coupon with your pizza, be sure to enable it to work with all of your order-taking systems, including online.
The Phone Experience
I picked up the phone and dialed the local Papa John’s (after looking in the phone book for the number, as it was NOT printed on the coupon).
Marketing Tip #2: If you are including a coupon with your pizza, be sure to include the local number so someone can easily call you to redeem the coupon.
After momentarily being put on hold, a young-sounding man answers and says, “Papa John’s, would you like to buy our Family Special for $x+2?” (Translation: $2 higher than the price on my coupon.) Boy, am I feeling jerked around! How many versions of this special do they have, and am I getting the best one?
Marketing Tip #3: Coordinate your communications to have the same information (in this case, the same price) in all places you touch the customer: online, phone, print.
I tell him I have a coupon for the same special but for $x. He tells me to wait, and I can hear him talking to a manager. He says OK, but I have to give them the coupon when they get there. Fine. He asks for my phone number, and I give it to him. He looks up my street address in their computer and asks if this is the right address for me – and is my name Becky? I say yes to both. Cool, at least they kept my info.
Then I hear him turn to his boss again and ask whether they will deliver to my street address. Hello? You have been here before; how else do you have my address?
Customer Service Tip #1: If you are going to have a conversation about me, at least put me on hold so I don’t have to hear it.
Customer Service Tip #2: Be sure to train your customer service people on great customer service. Yes, there is a cost involved, but it may keep you from losing customers.
To finish the story, he takes the coupon price (under duress), they deliver the pizzas, my kids are happy, and we eat pizza for dinner.
Think for a moment about my customer needs. I am ordering online because it is convenient for me. Papa John’s seems like they are geared towards Internet purchasing of pizza. Great idea, poor to fair execution. If the customer has an online “promotion code” from an email offer, then they are set. If the customer has a paper coupon, they are hosed. The inconvenience of having to pick up the phone and dial after spending time to order online is maddening. Papa John’s cross-channel strategy is not working. Papa John’s has to do more than just offer a web presence in order to be successful on the web; they have to meet the needs of those online customers.
Their website does have a place for “customer feedback”, which they apparently use for both customers and employees. I will send a link to this post when I fill out their feedback form and see what they have to say.
Phil, give it a try, and let’s see what we get!