Friday, August 17, 2007

Papa Johns mini-rant...

Today was orientation for our new grad students and a group of our students arranged the ordered ten pizzas from Papa John's for lunch. They didn't arrive at the scheduled time so one of the students in charge of the function placed a call and found out the delivery guy was running late through no fault of his own. Ten minutes after that, which was a total of 25 minutes after the original delivery time, I called the establishment to find out what was up.

It was then that I got an earful from the guy who answered the phone, whining to me about how it was busy, just him and the delivery guy and he had forty pizzas to make. I said "why is that my fault? that's not my concern. What IS my concern is that the order was scheduled a day ahead and we've got a program that has to run on time and nobody bothered to call us to let us know the delivery guy was running late. "

The conversation went something like this:

"Who is your manager?"

"I don't know"

"You must have a manager, what's his name?"

"Some guy"

I was shocked. I asked "you mean to tell me your manager's name is some guy?"


"Ok there's a start, Billy WHO?"

"I don't know."

"Ok well do you have a phone number for Billy?"


"Ok so let me get this straight, you have a manager named Billy, you don't know his last name or how to get a hold of him"

"No. Listen lady, I've got forty pizzas to make and it's just me and the driver and I don't have time for this crap......."


The ass hung up on me. I was so livid.By that time, about four of my students involved in planning the event were standing there with their mouths dropped open not believing what they just heard, that the guy hung up on me!

Calmly I said "that's ok guys, by the time I'm done with them, the pizzas you ordered will cost you nothing."

I was pissed. What the hell kind of customer service is that? It's NOT the customer's fault that someone didn't plan their staffing appropriately. It's NOT the customer's fault if someone calls in sick or if they're shorthanded.

I called another PJ's and asked a very nice General Manager for the District Manager's number. The DM returned my call, I explained the situation and he was clearly as upset as I about the matter. He contacted the General Manager (who had not been there when I called earlier that day), and the GM called me back. He, like the DM, apologized for the guy's behavior after I told him my side of the sordid tale. Of course he did tell me that the guy told him what had happened that day but of course it was a watered down version. I didn't ask the GM if he asked his employee WHY he hung up on me. It's one thing to hang up on an abusive, foul-mouthed customer, but that was not me. I was purely professional which is why I was even more livid he hung up on me because I did not deserve it. I can understand someone having a bad day, but the behavior was inexcusable and nobody who has to deal with the public on a daily basis (I was told this kid was a low level manager) should have an attitude like that.

I was told that corrective action would be taken, it was explained to me the philosophy the managers have about running the company and clearly their vision is not one shared by some employees. I like the DM's vision for the company, I like the way he steps in and helps out in his stores when they're shorthanded, I like the way he handled this problem. It was a clearcut textbook example of how to handle a customer problem. They listened, they agreed, they assured me, and they apologized. They also offered us free pizza for a future event. And I plan to take them up on it.

The way in which Papa Johns handled this problem impressed me greatly. I suppose because everywhere I turn these days customer service sucks, it was nice to see a manager who actually cares, one who actually puts forth effort to right a wrong. I'm not a business person but having worked with people for so many years and of course having my fair share of common sense, I know how customer complaints should be handled. I've handled student problems for nearly fourteen years, I'm an expert at it, I know how to solve a problem, and how to comfort people and make them feel better when they feel they've been slighted.

What PJ's District Manager did is exactly what I would have done. I always say "shit happens, everyone knows that, but it's how you clean it up that matters" and that's true. Problems will happen, people make mistakes, but how you handle it can make you or break you.

And finally I met a manager who understands that philosophy! How refreshing!!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8/20/2007

    Congratulations. Last week I had a run in with West Lab pharmacy. They screwed up Paige's medication and as a result the insurance wouldn't refill it for another week. Instead of owning up to their mistake they suggested I buy a weeks worth of medicine to hold her over. I had to call the insurance company myself to get the situation straightened out.

    Moral: A good manager can make or break a company.--ST