Complaint Feedback Needed ASAP

I got this scathing email last night. Similar to many complaints, this one is blown way out of proportion. Here it is in it’s entirety:

Dear xxxxxxx,

We’ve recently moved into xxxxxxx from another city. Yesterday we received a letter from your business consisting of a menu, welcome letter, and a free 1 pizza gift certificate issued by Heather for moving into the neighborhood I guess.

This evening we decided to use it and give your pizza a shot, especially after you took the time and concerns of sending that to us. Being it was our first time ordering from your pizza business we had the worst experiences I’ve ever experienced with a business such as yours.

  1. I called, the individual who answered the phone was very rude about requesting to
    place me on hold… I was like maybe he’s just having a bad day; so I said sure.
  2. I was on hold more than 5 minutes before hanging up.
  3. While being placed on “hold” I overheard 2 individuals talking pretty loudly over
    playing a card game tomorrow and drinking booze.
  4. We called back 5 minutes later and the gentleman asked if we would hang up and
    call right back. We were like whatever so we did.
  5. We called back and the gentleman took our order, before finalizing the order he
    said there’s an $8.00 minimum for delivery. We were going to order something else
    but the gentleman was very rude about it.

You’ve lost us as a customer and we are informing everyone we know about our experiences. I own a large website development company and currently have over 500 clients whom I speak with on a very regular basis.

I’ve also decided to do an online journal/website about Bethlehem since I’ve never lived here before and experience it with others. I plan on posting these experiences with as many people as I know and requesting my parents and everyone I know to pass this along. We’ve lived here a month and have been buying from your competition. The business we always buy pizza from is who I’m referring EVERYONE I know or talk with to go to. They will be getting any potential business from me as I will inform everyone I know about them being the greatest. This is your loss, their gain.


My response will be:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding your experiences Sunday evening. While many businesses dread complaints, we use them to learn from.

Because of the volume of our business, asking customers to hold on a minute is a necessary evil. The conversation you heard was between customers. Before I open today, I will have new phones in place that will allow us to put someone on hold. If you waited for 5 minutes, I sincerely apologize.

As the person who took your order explained, we were having trouble with our phones, and this is why you were asked to call back.

If you try us again, I?m sure you won?t be disappointed. We have over 2,000 satisfied customers currently in our database. We?ve been in business just shy of 10 years. We have a wonderful reputation in the community. We make food donations to organizations within the township several times a month, every time we?re asked.

As a business owner, I?m sure you?ve had a situation or two in which, to spite you best efforts, things didn?t go exactly as planned. I urge you to try us again. I?ll put a gift certificate in the mail for you today; your next order is on me. If we disappoint you again, feel free to trash us to anyone who will listen.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. If there is anything else that I can do to remedy this situation, please feel free to contact me.

Anyone have any other ideas?

I think if you reply with that you have done your job. It may not help but I dont think there is much more you can do.
Good luck

I think your reply was appropriate. First, I smell a slight bit of foolishness in the complaint letter though…it said they had just moved to the area (but I don’t know how far that new area is from where they used to live), but if they did just move, how can telling everyone they know be that large of a problem being tehy probably don’t have many new friends or ones already in your delivery area. That is not to say you shouldn’t try to resolve any complaints though, but someone who is claiming to start journals to kill your business sould a bit extreme, but there are some out there is nothing more to do…If you have their address, try taking a free pizza to them personally one afternoon and talking with them for a few minutes. I think you have the right idea so far though.

I agree that your letter sounds like an appropriate response. The customer’s letter sounds a little fishy to me. Someone that tries to write a formal “sounding” complaint letter then uses phrases like “I was like maybe he’s just having a bad day”, and “We were like whatever so we did” probably is just attempting to scare you into giving him more free food. I have a hard time believing he “owns a large website development company and currently have over 500 clients whom I speak with on a very regular basis”

My 2 cents… I wouldn’t worry too much about this one. Sounds like a lot of hot air. I would send the letter, correct your problems, and then forget it.

You might want to address the flashpoint for this complaint…rudeness!

I am a firm believer in the “rule of 10” - for every dissatisfied customer you hear from, there are at least 10 other that had the same experience and just went away. Explain how rudeness will not be tolerated in your business and discuss the steps you took to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. Did you fire the rude employee? Did you have a store meeting about proper phone manners? Are you really sure this customer won’t be disappointed again if he calls back?


one thing extra I do is flar the account in the pos.
we have an alert like for bad checks that when the name or number pops up I will put in customer had a previous bad experience be sharp and prompt!

flag the account

Wake up people!

So what if the Customer felt they had to inflate their claim with threats of what action they might take. Fact is, many Customers, myself included, have found that at many places you just don’t get the problem resolved unless you push.

The only thing that matters is you had ONE NEW CUSTOMER that cared enough to actually write to you. Do anything and everything for this Customer, and he/she will be yours for life.

You addressed everything except the $8 minimum delivery. Why is that there if you sent them a free pizza to try you out? Sounds like a training issue.

Last I checked people could still pick up a free pizza as well. Not that I’m pretending to know the details. We send out a new mover mailer, and it is a carry-out or dine-in only offer. I want people to come and visit me. This way they can see the store, the bar, the big screen tvs, and I can introduce myself and hand them a menu.


I am with driver X, and think you might be missing the ball a bit Scott. The customer wanted a free pizza delivered, not a free pizza and $8 of stuff they had to pay for or a free pizza they could pick up.

Heather - If you are sending out new movers, then you really should look at training for your staff to handle them more appropriately, and have them do what ever it takes to get that customer and turn them into a regular. I am sure that this is an isolated event, but still, one bad experience is another customer that is eating your competition’s pizza.

At least this guy wrote you a letter stating he would bad mouth your shop. Think about the 10 other customers who had bad service who didn’t write and are just telling all of their friends about the bad service they had at your shop. I am not trying to sound harsh, but the rule of 10 Brad mentioned is very true.


I’m not missing anything. I understand what everyone is talking about. My flyer clearly states that it is dine-in or carry-out only. I only have about 4 or 5 percent of the people try to get it for delivery and of course we deliver it. But I do still require that they order at least our minimum for delivery.

I agree that it was probably a training issue, and the order taker probably didn’t convey things in the proper tone or tactfully.

Just a quick update. The customer has ordered twice in the last 5 days. While he hasn’t sent any compliments, he didn’t have anything negative to say either.

Thanks for your feedback.


They say in their letter that you lost a customer and they are going to bad mouth you - then they other twice in the last 5 days. Makes you want to say “hey, we have you down as a lost customer, are you sure you are calling the right place?”

Statistically, a customer that complains is more likely to return to your business EVEN IF YOU TOTALLY IGNORE THEM than a customer with a problem that DOES NOT complain.

It is a hard message to get through to people that the “pain in the butt” complaint on line one is actually a good customer that WANTS to buy more from me.

It’s the 90% of people that don’t give us a second chance that scare the heck out of me.