Handling complaints...

I know we have had these topics before but this past week I got zacomplaint and I am totally upset about it. Perhaps I am experiencing a bit of burn out who knows but want your take. Normally my philosophy is give em credit, it’s only a pizza. We don’t get many complaints but man I am just irritated with this one in particular.

A office manager from a large factory orders every now and again. She always wants to charge and then it becomes a 4 week battle to get her to pay. Not to mention she always wants to add a 15% gratuity on when she orders but then when the check comes she doesn’t include it. When we confront her she says she forgot. (It’s included on ticket and the invoice I send her)

Anyway she calls last thursday needing a BIG FAVOR for the next day. She needed pizzas delivered in 3 shifts. She asked how many people can eat off a large. I said generally we say 3-4 adults because it will be 2 slices per person. So she orders 18 pizzas for a 11:30 order, 6 for 3:45 and 6 for 10pm. She told me how much she “loves” me and thanks for bailing her out on this one. Then tells me to add 15% gratuity. She tells me to just make a variety of pizza but include a cheese because of lent. I was working on getting her a total and she says don’t worry about it just make sure they leave a ticket because we always take care of them.

About an hour before the delivery she calls and says she needs a BIG FAVOR can I add a salad for 25 to the first order. I say sure.

We make the pizzas and send them. And what is so funny is we were all commenting on how awesome they looked. I included 2 pepperoni in the first order and 1 in the second and third orders. The rest were a cheese and then 2 topping and speciatly pizzas.

TUESDAY (4 days later) she calls and instantly starts talking loud wanting to know why her bill was so much. I said huh? I gave you 4 dollars off each pizza. (which was a 120.00 discount) She said well whoever took my order told me 3 people could eat a large and we had way too much food, are you gonna make us pay for those? I said well yes, you got them, I told you 3-4 adults as a guide to how many you should order…better too much than not enough. On and on she goes. Well I wouldn’t have ordered if I had known you were gonna send all pepperoni pizzas. I said we only sent 2 and 1 and the reason I did is because it is america’s #1 pizza choice. She then said at least 5 pizzas were burnt…are you going to deduct those? I said really 5 pizzas were burnt? She continues on and then toward the end of the conversation swithches it to 3 pizzas were burnt. I said well I will credit your bill for 3 pizzas. She said she wanted me to look it over again because it was way over priced, too much food and burnt pizzas and she wants an explanation.

She did mention her boss was very upset that she spent that much on the pizzas. (which I think is the real issue)

So how do ya handle this?

I also want to add that we were so excited to get a big order because things have been slow. Our whole group felt real good about the pizzas we sent. Just one of those orders when they are coming out of the oven we were saying man…that is a good lookin pizza…

ARghhh…can you tell I am battling this one???

First of all…sorry to hear about all your problems with this order. Things are tough enough these days without having impossible customers, especially a customer that you helped in a pinch and seemed ungreatful. From this point forward, with this customer, I would expect to prepay including gratuity. Another thing is…she told you do to a variety, if she wanted specific kinds, it’s her problem. She needed to make a list and present it. She can’t complain about what she got if she wasn’t specific. If her boss is upset, maybe you should have a conversation with that person. The lady you’re dealing with doesn’t seem to have a clue.

In order to give you piece of mind, do what you feel is fair. It sounds like you’ve bent over backwards to help this customer and she doesn’t seem to care. It’s all about what she wants. You may loose a customer, but is the hassle worth it?

I know you’re beating yourself up over this one, but there’s no reason to. I agree with Fireside in the fact that she should have been more organized and told you exactly what type pizzas she wanted. I think you went above and beyond for this customer (probably several times if I know her type) and then she wants to beat you up over it.

My recommendation is to do what you think is right. If you honestly feel your pizzas were good (not burnt) and you sent her a good assortment, then I wouldn’t credit her anything. I would also tell her that from this point forward, all orders must be prepaid (this way she knows exactly what she’s spending). After you enter her order, call her back and verify the type pizzas and the pricing to make sure there’s no surprises. If she doesn’t want to do this, she isn’t worth all the trouble and worry she’s causing you.

I’ve had to train myself to do these things. We have a large manufacturing/distribution area within a mile of our store and we’ve done lots of corporate orders. Most of them I have no problem with, in fact I have a great working relationship. I don’t make promises I can’t keep and always provide a quality product at a good price. BUT, I have 1 or 2 that I can’t seem to please. I have learned to take their complaints for what they’re worth and, in a few instances, suggested they find another place to order. Life is way too short to worry over someone like this.

I kinda agree with the above people. You gave them a huge discount and she still complained. Not worth the aggravation of sitting around waiting for the check 30 days later.

If you still want to deal with them, do it on YOUR terms. If they want the discount, then it should be prepaid.
Full price for invoicing.

If you want to get rid of them, explain your problem with them. You went above and beyond yourself to cater to their need and got nothing but grief from it. You tack on 15% gratuity and it is never given. At least give the driver $5 or $10 bux for their troubles.

We all have to put up with BullS**t to make money.


I’m really not sure how you proceed with this one it tough when the ball is in the customer court in terms of ‘they still have the money!’

But some comments on how to move forward - When I first started I tried to accommodate everyone and go the extra mile to be flexible. In the majority of these case all is fine but in the odd 2 or 3 cases it back fires and causes hassle and stress etc etc.

So now we stick to basic procedures for how to handle the order and payment, the same every time for example:

We always repeat the order back and quote the order back in full and then the price and the end of the order EVERY time - that we when ever someone calls and says - you over charged me - I check the price and if its right (which it always is) I can say - you were charged xyz (including any deals) and we told you the price when you placed the order. Even when we get the ‘give us a variety of pies’ I always tell them specifically what the order is.

All orders are paid cash or card - no exceptions thats how we do business. And for the big orders we ALWAYS call them back about an hour after the order is delivered to check everything was ok as I learnt early on most non-genuine complaints are made days later rather than on the day.

hope this helps

Darn, Kris. You do get some woppers to deal with.

I think what Wizzle and RobT mention is what connects with me. They have the money still, and you gotta decide if you can stand lose the customer. Teh relationship is way lopsided in their favor with no paper trail . . . you already know that, though.

If it were our problem, we’d insist on the invoied amount minus three ‘burned’ pizzas . . . which I would assume were cheese without any evidence. We insist on proof from our customers generally for replacement. If the ordering person says the boos has a problem, then I would present to the boss the narrative of what happened. As a matter of fact, it may make a good idea to write up how you saw things go, and send a letter to the ordering party as explanation of why you are not amending the invoice. Include the whole “favor” and not wanting totals. You then have paper trail in whch to discuss.

Going forward, it sounds like you need a procedure in place for taking and billing corporate/business orders. It just takesone to jump the track and make a process out of it. Faxable order forms, checklists, listing of pizzas with space to put in quantities, anything like that is good for ease of use. Include policies and any “gratuity included” statements. Then you have a package you can send out and always know what is coming back to you. Prepayment may be required on some orders.

We have had something like this happen as well…our policy is to ALWAYS give a price beforehand to avoid this

Also there were a couple accounts that we have had switch to credit card payments only due to problems paying in a timely fashion

I once told the customer to send a check for what they think is fair and it turned out to be more than what I would have taken off…make sure to detail how much you have already discounted

Knowing what I do now if I HAD to do invoices I’d do the opposite, you earn the right to get credit after ‘x’ orders paid by credit card. I still get requests from schools for payment on invoice but we still quote everyone payment in cash or card. I’ve not lost a single order.

usually on large orders we ALWAYS follow up after each time we deliver we ALWAYS send thank you cards, if it is 200.00 or more my wife bakes about 24 sugar cookies and drops them off the next day my point is it NEVER would have been 4 days from the time of the order till WE made contact with them. lastly we ALWAYS ring up full price and then add the discount so that they can see the savings… I still think I would somehow try to come to an agreement where both sides are happy, instead of discounting back wards the 5 pizza’s ask if you can bring over 5 or six pizzas this week

and I thought just getting great food there on time was good enough :wink:


Well I ended up just sending an invoice. I did however show the regular price and then the discount so she could see the savings. I credited 3 pizzas because that is really all I am willing to discount additionally. The order was good and the complaint was bogus but customer is always right…

We will see if she pays and when.

I decided that customers like that aren’t worth the hassle. I run an honest business and truly enjoy sending out a good pizza and that is what she got I was there, I saw them and they were the poster pizza for our biz. I am proud of everyone she got. If she was unhappy she will continue to be unhappy because she got what we make and that is how we make them. I also decided having a complaint is one thing, but calling and just going off is another.

I will probably continue to allow her to charge (assuming she pays the full invoice) but clearly go over the order, price and payment terms.

I did try and get the name of her boss and was told he can’t be bothered with this stuff.

I originally was sending a letter explaining myself but decided it seemed more of me trying to get my last word in. The food wasn’t the problem…she over ordered and over spent. There is nothing I am going to say or do to change that.

Thanks for letting me barf this one…I am going to work on not taking things so personally and hopefully take a day off. :wink:



it happens to us all. I got really wound up last week over 2 pies! Customer orders a new pizza we launched and then calls up and says it horrible. Manager on duty says we’ll replace provided we get the old pizza back and they asked for a pepperoni pizza (delivery)

Following day she turns up at the shop with the pepperoni pie (uneaten) and says it is disgusting and she wants three tubs of ice cream to make up for it. Manager (the same one who dealt with her day before) just gives her cash back, asks her to leave and tells her not to order from us again. Manager calls me and tells me the pizza is (although its now a day old and a bit shaken in the box) a good pie but she just couldn’t be bothered arguing with her.

Really annoyed me but you ain’t ever going to win with someone like that so get it over and done with quickly and move onto something else.

Saving this customer is critical if word of mouth means anything. Controlling this madness is another story. Get to the key management of “her” corporation, sit down for a moment or two and describe what you have described here and you might find a win-win situation.


do you have a large order price list?

A few places i have worked had this. If a business ordered over 10 pizzas, they got 1 toppings for $6 special pizzas for $10 and so on. That way they knew ahead of time what price was, and could figure out what they wanted. 3-4 ppl is pretty standard for a 14" large pizza from what i know.

I think you did far and above what was needed. Sure maybe giving price ahead of time would have been good, but hind site is 20/20


I’m sorry you ran into the flamer style customer, the ones that always order but something is always wrong.

I have a few customers, residential and business that are that way.

With my store, we do not take credit (meaning its not a buy now and pay later unless they have put a deposit down on the pizzas) We have a policy that states if you preorder a larger order of 10 or more pizzas a verification of the order must occur. We do not just pick pizza’s for people (that has backfired). We get an ok for each pizza. We also either fax, email, or delivery a copy of the order and have it reviewed, and signed. This must all be done before the order is made.

It seems a bit much, but customers are ok with it, and we do as much of the leg work as possible. This helps to reduce the problems that you and many of us have run into in the past.

Once we have done a few big orders with a place (10 or more pizza’s) we work on setting up a contact person that we can deal with for future orders. Our biggest order usually comes from the zoo near us which orders up to 100 pizza’s spread out over different times of the day. Along with them we are near a business park and having set procedures for our future orders makes things very easy for anyone in the store, and easier on the businesses. We know exactly what we are making and delivering or having made for pick up and they know exactly what they are getting.

We also do not accept checks unless they are company checks. This also saves a lot of hassle.

You may have to take a bit of a loss on this order you are having problems with. I also recommend as some of the others here have stated that you speak with a manager higher up in the company. Explain the situation (as nicely as possible by both doing a praise and a simple explanation of the problem). I would also add you are just making them aware of how often you deal with the company and it is seeming to become a habit of (depart/person) you are normally dealing with to turn around many times days later with problems on the order and expects refunds/free items/ and so on. I’d say that as happy as you are to do business with them, the current issue has caused you to change your policy and at this point explain how you are going to handle future orders and get his opinion on the matter. See if the manager can suggest maybe a different method for you and their company to do future business.

I hope my ramblings have helped out a bit. I wish you the best of luck with customers.