How Papa John’s treats its customers

The case of the missing pizza

It’s Wednesday 1:46pm and I’ve just made an order for just over £50 pounds worth of pizza from Papa John’s website. Expected delivery date: 5:45pm, 15 minutes before a dozen customers are meant to arrive for a focus group session I am organising.

5:45pm comes and there is no pizza in sight. 6pm arrives and most of my customers are on site and ready for a drink and a snack before starting the session…but still no pizza in sight.

My customers are here for one hour only, so I change plan and decide to start the focus group session without any food to offer to both my attendees and my own stomach.

Luckily, a trusted colleague kindly offers to wait for the delivery to turn up. Like Sherlock Holmes on a mission, he decides to resolve the case of the missing pizza: he calls to check on the status of the delivery at 6:05pm and is assured that “the driver will be there in just 5 or 6 minutes”. Ten minutes later, at 6:15pm precisely, he calls a second time and again Papa John’s tells him the driver will be there in just 5 or 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, the research session is going on smashingly: everybody is talking about the topic of the research whilst thinking “but we were promised pizza!”.

6:30pm and the mystery is resolved: the delivery turns up (45 minutes late) and like hungry monsters, we all rush onto the food, as if none of us had eaten anything in two days.

Unimpressed, my colleague took the initiative to complain on Twitter. A customer service assistant (whom we later found out was a PA) swiftly got in touch to ask for the full details which we provided the next day. A refund was requested, but instead we were told that the issue needs investigating…humm…

Ten days later, we received a £10 voucher…to spend at Papa John’s. Given our experience with the company, I’m not entirely clear as to how Papa John’s thought we would be ordering from him again.

So, I wrote a letter to the company’s Managing Director. Perhaps that, as the Managing Director, he’ll know how to run a company and may have a clue as to how to treat customers. But obviously not his primary skill – five weeks later and no response.

Anyone fancies resolving the case of the missing customer service?

A few words of wisdom

Here are a few words of wisdom for Papa John’s to consider:

  1. Mistakes happen. The order might have been forgotten or the delivery driver might have got the wrong delivery address. However, that’s not an excuse for telling customers fibs, saying the order will arrive in 5 or 6 minutes when it’s not. Try an honest & open approach next time.
  2. Don’t send someone a voucher to spend more in your shop. That’s just taking the mickey. Certainly not the way to turn a customer around. Instead, try offering what the customer is requesting. If it’s refund the customer wants, give the customer a refund. They’ll respect you for that and might even become repeat customers because they’ll trust doing business with you.
  3. Letting your PA handle customer service queries is a risky strategy. How about hiring a trained and experienced customer service specialist to handle those? You never know…you might get a surge of positive feedback and an improved customer retention rate.

One thought on “How Papa John’s treats its customers

  1. James

    Ha, amazing they think that credit for more pizza (which will undoubtedly arrive late and/or cold) is sufficient…


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