Refusing Service to Customers

I’ve taken some time to cool off and now must pose the question that’s been rattling around in my brain for the past half hour or so. We have a very short list of customers who have posted a 1* review on Facebook. I’ve replied to those reviews as cordially as possible except the last one where the customer just lied. Here’s the thing, they post a 1* review and one of them went even so far as to create a community forum thread on Facebook to bash our reputation. I don’t want to continue to service them for fear of further brand reputation losses and feel there is nothing to gain by servicing these people. For example, the 1* review we got today was after a lady said the wings weren’t cooked despite EVERY order getting temped at the basked before going into it’s foam. She said there was no steak on a steak and cheese despite EVERY item getting weighed today as part of a portioning initiative started on Sunday. 8oz of steak in a 11" bun is a hefty portion… Thanks for reading my novel and I appreciate your feedback.

How long have you been in this business? This is everyday life in the pizza world.

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My question: “They continue to order despite being unhappy time after time?”

You also can disable reviews on Facebook & visitor posts.

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I had no idea you could actually disable reviews

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You can not please everyone, nor should you try. Personally i just ignore them. It is the only way i stay quasi sane anymore. But yes, you should just disable reviews and let it go.

You can’t please everyone and not everyone is going to like your pizza it’s a give. We have a customer the is a huge pain in the ass she orders weekly and there is ALWAYS something wrong with her order. The first time she ordered she brought her pizza back the next day because according to her there wasn’t enough cheese on the pizza. In the moment I banned her from ordering pizza from us again I was pissed. I remember a while back someone on here posting about a customer complaint and a poster responding with "give me a room full of entitled people and I will show you how to make money of of them. This always has me thinking so I unbanned her and I gladly take her money every week why send them away if they are willing to give you their money.

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if they’re just ordering so they can complain and get a credit for their next order and continue the cycle every order, no problem telling those people to go elsewhere.

The ones I really dislike are the ones that complain the next time they order and I simply tell them I can’t do anything for you now, if you have a problem with your order, please call us back immediately and we’ll do everything we can to rectify the situation. Most of the time they respond with, oh it was fine, I just wanted to make you aware… uh huh sure…

As far as the original post… don’t forget they can change their ratings on a whim, so if they gave you a one star review and they think they’re a food critic it’s possible they order again and change their rating. I put a note on customers like that to pay special attention to their order when we are taking it over the phone.

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In the past 10yrs I have told 5 customers of ours that were a constant pain in the ass (in a very polite & professional manner) that I suggest they go elsewhere going forward since I can not make them happy. In all 5 instances they came back within a couple months and I have never heard another peep from them and have kept them as regulars since.

Then there are another 5 a-holes that have been extremely rude or aggressive to employees that I have told not to step foot here again too.

These exact things happen to every pizza place, and its sooo frustrating bc you really cant tell your side of what actually happened bc you will just look like a bitter owner eventhough your probably right. Trust me the only people who can feel your pain are the ones who work in this industry,everyone else has no clue and would side with the customer.
Ill prob get lectured for what Im about to say but I tell customers to take their buisness elsewhere often like 4-5 times a year, and as FamousPerry said alot of times they call back a few weeks later and become great customers, the whole kill them with kindness bs to aholes furthers this over entitled customer epidemic that runs rampant in our industry. Most of the time you have to be a bear to a bear

Two weeks ago we had a delivery customer order, when the driver arrived they handed her a wad of bills and said keep the change, she gave them the pizza. It was an $18.00 order, she counted the money at the door and it was $15.00. She knocked on the door and told them they were short three dollars, the guy said “let me find some more money” and slammed the door. A minute later he opened the door and tossed a handful of change out the door into the yard and said “There’s your f%@#ng money” and slammed the door again. She said he may have been under the influence. They tried to order again last night. I told the woman that called that we did no wish to deliver there after our experience last time when my employee was mistreated and they shorted us on money. The woman did not even question what I said so she knew what I was speaking of. I told her the names of four pizza shops that I know of that would deliver to her address. Ten minutes later we got a delivery order to her next door neighbors house, paid with a card, exact same order as the problem people ordered two weeks ago. Even banning them did not stop them from ordering.

Next thing you get will be a CC chargeback.

There is a line. I don’t give a shit who you are, if you cross it, you will hear what I have to say. Is it a smart “business” move? No, but my dignity is worth more than the cash in my bank account.

Does this old school mentality of “take your ass elsewhere” fit our modern society? I honestly don’t know but what I do know is that if you throw change and me and short me for my product, we’re going to have a major problem.

We once had a customer throw the food back at our driver because we missed our quoted time by 5 minutes… yes “quoted” not guaranteed. We called the police and they went and collected the money for us. They also told the customer their whole street was banned from ordering from us. The street is a private lane that they are all related on. Instead they started picking up. If they want your food, they’ll find a way regardless if you ban them

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I know, we got an imprint of the card. Fortunately it was one that still had raised letters.

I tell my staff I am the only one who can fire a customer but they don’t have to put up with crap from A%&holes if they start yelling my staff they are instructed to ask the customer to please talk them in a calm voice if they don’t we can’t fix anything. if the customer starts cursing they are asked to stop once if they continue my staff hangs up on them if they call back they instructed to contact me the next day and I will handle their problem needless to say I never get a call back because they calm down.

“for Christ sakes its only Pizza”

I am also a Reserve Police Officer in our town, one night while patrolling my daughter was working at the shop and my wife had stopped in when this “tweeker” decided to come in and start cussing at my daughter saying that one of his Pizzas was wrong and that she “WAS” going to remake both pizzas or else. my wife called my and informed me of what was going on, so I proceeded to the shop in the police car, I walked in and told him to leave and he wasn’t welcome in the store,(he didn’t know I was the Owner) he started saying that all he wanted was his pizzas i told him no and threw his money back at him and told him to get out i informed him that I was the owner, he started saying he was going to the Chief and complain i told him go ahead because i would lose my badge before I let some A%$hole talk to my daughter like that he finally left and never heard anything from the Chief even after I told him what had went down.

I generally give myself one F-Off a year. I remind myself of that anytime i get a difficult one and make the decision whether to waste it on them. I politely tell them that I am sorry we can’t seem to meet there expectations. If they cannot act like an adult they would be better served to order elsewhere. It’s usually enough to make me feel better.
I tell my managers if they are getting cursed at or yelled at, they can politely ask the customer to be respectful or they will hang up. Which usually results in them hanging up shortly after.
I have gotten better at backing up my staff in whatever they tell the customer. I want them to know they can handle it. It’s better for them and better for me.
That being said we are in a business that is generally quick service but held to the standard of a fancy restaurant and as such, you have to have thick skin.

I’m sure this can be frustrating to no end, and my heart goes out to you for what you must be feeling.

That said, our experience has been that the best way to respond to most every negative online review is to:

  1. Apologize, don’t defend. Even if you are sure you are 100% in the right, which I’m sure you are, this isn’t about what that customer thinks, and this isn’t about you being right. This is about what the other 500+ prospective new customers think when they read your response. The 500+ prospective new customers don’t want to see you defend yourself as they will assume you may end up doing the same to them, defending.

  2. Offer to help. Post a phone number that any customer can call and have them ask to speak to a manager when they call. While there is a fine line to walk here, offer them a reason to come back in and allow you a second chance at a first impression. If you don’t want their business, you have that right. In such cases an apology will have to do, even when you’re right. This is not about being right. This is about growing your business, and as you’ve experienced, an unhappy customer has the power to negatively affect your business today in a way that was never available “in the old days” (pre-Internet).

Prospective new customers will see how hard you are trying to make it right for every customer and will come to your store knowing that if something goes wrong, you will do your best to make it right for them.

… and take up kick-boxing or fishing. :slight_smile: You’ll need a place to let off that steam, as well.

Hope that helps.