We had a driver get in a car accident last night (not her fault), but she got shaken up pretty bad and her car was totalled. Of course, it happened during the dinner rush…but the staff did a good job at getting another driver in and getting things back on track. This morning, we received this message on our Facebook page.
“I couldn’t find a “contact us” tab on your website so that’s why I am messaging through fb. My husband and I recently found out that you have gluten free pizza and were excited so tonight we ordered 2 from your location. Apparently en route the driver was in an accident so our pizza’s had to be remade and we ended up getting them over an hour after we ordered them. I was expecting some kind of compensation for the extremely late delivery, but no. The driver said sorry and that was it. This is very disappointing. We are limited in our ability to get GF pizza from any place. We really wanted to have a great first experience, but quite honestly a ‘sorry’ from a driver is not what I had hoped for. I’m reaching out to you now to see if there is something that can be done to remedy this situation. I want to order many pizzas from you in the future and to tell all my friends about how well we were taken care of.”
Frankly, I was a little angry that there was no concern shown to the fact that our driver got in an accident and that’s why your pizza was late. Just wondering how ya’ll would respond.
I would be angry about it too, and quite frankly this customer seems like she’s probably an a-hole. With that said, I have to disagree that “silence is golden” in this one. I won’t respond to somebody that is outwardly hostile, but this woman sent a pretty level-headed message.
Since you asked, here’s exactly how I would respond:
“I apologize for the late delivery last night, and that you were only given a “sorry” from the driver. Unfortunately our evening became very hectic after our deliver driver’s car was totaled. Once we found out our driver was not seriously injured our priority was to get a back-up driver in quickly and get all of our orders to our customers. Now that things have settled we are making calls today to any customers that received a late delivery, so thank you for contacting us. We are happy to give you a credit for two gluten free pizzas on your next order - just use the same phone number as last time and it will automatically pop up. Being gluten free, we are happy that you found us!”
The customer may have just heard that the driver was in an “accident”. The way that is phrased let’s her know that the car was totaled (i.e. it was serious), puts things into perspective (“once we found out she wasn’t seriously injured”), explains that things were very hectic and displays how just getting their pizza to them after all of that was extraordinary customer service.
If you’re like me, you probably spend A LOT of money to find new customers. Don’t give one up. This is an opportunity to make a customer for life if you choose to look at it that way.
So you’re saying that even though the OP delivered the customer fresh remade pizzas that night, that they should still give the customer 2 free ones just because they were an hour late??
Sorry, im gonna disagree with that… I could see maybe a discount off their next 2, but not giving them away totally free! The customer sounds like an “entitled person” to me that does this all the time with everybody! i’d think most people would be understanding of the late delivery given the circumstances and not worry about any kind of discount.
Whenever I see a post like this, I have a hard time understanding why pizza shop owners are so willing to give free food at the drop of a hat. There is no other industry that gives free product away like we do. Royster, if a customers magnets show up after you promise them, do you give the magnets to the customer for free? I ordered shirts for my crew for Christmas and my supplier did not get them done when promised. It never occurred to me to ask for the shirts for free-life happens!! We need to treat our customers like gold, give them the best service possible, the best food possible-but, if a road crew delays my driver, I do not give the food away or discount it. When an unreasonable customer says they will never order from me again, I put the date in my POS system so I can see when they call back again. The only response from that women should have been is your driver ok? We work very hard for the money we make, go ahead give the benefit of the doubt, but don’t let people take advantage of you. In order for them to be a customer they first have to BUY something.
Jolly I think the restaurant business is unique in how much food one gives away…When I was in the business, I gave away my fare share…Without any real way of measuring the returns, I can only express my opinion that it helped, rather than hurt the bottom line…So I think it is a good idea in moderation…
Bill Marvin (The Restaurant Doctor) in his book Cashing in on Complaints, has estimated the value of a happy guest. In his example he assumes the happy customer spends $50 a year and tells 5 friends who tell 5 friends and so on. At 5 years Bill claims the value is just short of $50,000.
If you think it is not worth satisfying new customer that has had what they FEEL is a bad experience, look at the numbers if they spend $50 a month rather than a year.
Yes, I would, and here’s why: Suppose somebody gave you the option to wager on a coin toss. You have to wager $6.00 and if it lands on “heads” you win $800. Would you take it? Heck yeah… a $6.00 wager for an expected pay out of $400 is a no-brainer bet.
My customer retention rate is about 50% (the same as that coin toss), those 2 large pizzas will cost me about $6.00, and my average customer’s Lifetime Value is about $800. I’m spending 6 bucks to have a 50/50 shot of making this person into a customer. I’ll take that action all day long.
You said that you would offer them a discount on their next two pizzas. That may satisfy her to a degree, but why not spend just a few extra bucks and WOW her?
This may be an “entitled person”, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try to figure out a way to take her money. Heck, give me 1,000 “entitled” people and I’ll show you how to make a fortune… selling to people that react to a little ego scratching instead of rational thought is like shooting fish in a barrel.
I agree with Daddio in that this person feels like they had a bad experience, and unfortunately that’s all that matters in this person’s mind. We can either brush the person aside because we are “right”, or we can go after that $800 prize. I can’t say either option is the correct one, but I know the option I’d take. The fact that she sent a pretty cordial e-mail clarifies the decision for me… my response (or lack of) would be much different if it had been an expletive-laced rant.
After 9 years serving customers, I’ve learned that the size of my wallet tends to vary inversely with my need to be “right.”
After reading the original post again, I would say your drivers need to be schooled on handling situations like this. When I was a driver I would try to explain the reason for the late delivery “One of our drivers was in a serious accident which put us behind. Your order was remade so it is fresh.” If the customer wanted to be compensated after the explanation I would say “Let me see what I can do for you. I will call the store right now.”
I had a customer call and complain about a $36 order, so we resent the entire order. Later they called wanting a discount on a future order. I advised them that the new order was the only thing I could do for them so they disputed the charge with the credit card company, tax tip and everything. After they lost the dispute, they called again asking for a discount if we want to keep them as good customers. I advised hem they weren’t good customers and no thank you.
One piece missing in the ‘gamble’ is that in any customer service industry, the losing half has additional risks of damaging the reputation in the marketplace. It’s not a net zero concept as those unhappy people are nearly 10 times more likely to share their experiences than a happy/satisfied customer.
MY recommendation to colleagies has always been: Never let customers feel like they are paying the price for an operational problem. Car wreck svcked, and was in no way the customer’s to deal with. Fresh food is a given, not a consideration for the delay in delivery . . . really. sure a gluten free pizza costs you twice as much actual food cost . . . but GF customers can be a whole lot more profitable as they tend to be willing to spend more since there are fewer options . . . . . and GF people travel in herds, folks. One finds a great place, and they all find that place, however many ‘all’ turns out to be.
Each place makes its owne marketplace decision on the value of customer satisfaction and customer retention. We spend vast amounts per new customer to get people to walk through the door/call the phone number/online order . . . what’s it worth to make them call that second time and groom into the low hanging fruit for marketing offers?