25 Aug A tale of food ordering experience – Pizzas that never reached
I am laughing , recounting the hilarious and most absurd home delivery experience ,even as I pen down my post.
For me there are a numerous expediences to talk about since home delivery is not just an easy option but more so its a case more of a tempting obsession , an obsession of easy availability of good , unique food and varied types of food in the locality..Primly located in Andheri West we are flooded with food options.A plethora of food joints have opened across..Chinese , Italian , Mexican south Indian not to mention even healthy good options and the indomitable list continues..
So it is only fair that I order quite often..just need an occasion…And with Tiny owl installed on my smartphone,I frequently use it for ordering my meals and so far it hasn’t disappointed me. Infact its made life easier since I just need to browse through the options, decide the type of food I want to relish or even a specific restaurant that’s in my mind perhaps and order at my convenience
While on most occasions the service and quality is as perfect as the brand name , yet there were occasions when it was a case of travesty of quality name and service..in fact these experiences can finely be termed as a sour and bad experience of service and quality but now when i look back I realize it was so mystifying and weird that it had the potential of being called as an abnormally unique and shocking experience that which leaves with some amusement ..shocking for the fact that when you launch a good joint you open it with a conviction and in today’s world while service and quality are important parameters yet it is an unanswered query for me in terms of the failure of a brand’s promise.more so because I being a being a branding professional believe in living upto the umbrella thought of the brand and its vision through consistent efforts..
Small or big, your service and the very existence that thrive on the experience that you give your customers..On home delivery as an service, there is no ambiance hence it has to be purely at the strength of your quality of good and quick service..
For me the first time in so many years that I actually lost my trust with “Pizza hut’s“ service..so that’s what I am talking about..but not being denigrating or callous I term it a unnervingly uncomfortable experience now ..unnaturally strange, because on other occasions as a brand ,especially on an dining out experience they do live up to their quality,ambiance and service as per brand values ..I haven’t stopped eating at their outlets but yes while I smirk with humor of what we went through that day..yet at that moment it was a poor service and loss of faith. .what followed though was hilariously irritating..
So the tale unfolds like this ..A bunch of friends decided to call for pizzas that night..am not sure why did I not call for Dominos, since they are the best as far as delivery options are concerned.30 mins as the USP of the brand has so far lived up consistently all these years and continues.
Well, so it was 8.30 pm, and the customer helpline told us that the nearest pizza hut outlet would deliver our order in 40 mins which was ok by our standards. Meanwhile as an background info, I didn’t not have any else that day as back up option for dinner in case something had to go wrong.
So we waited as we chatted over our drinks and almost actually forgot about the order until someone realized that it was past 1 hour and we still were waiting. So we tried calling the customer care..and were responded with “sorry for the delay, you will get it in 10 minutes”..20 mins passed by, we called back, again the same reply..
Furthermore 20 mins passed, the guy again asked for our order saying it was not perhaps(he wasn’t sure) passed on to the outlet and it is their responsibility and not the customer care helpline and said he will get back in 10 mins.Still no delivery.. Called again..By then it was 10.45. While we know that 11 pm is the cut off time for the customer care lines of pizza hut and post that the lines will go unanswered ..And that is eventually what transpired and resulted into despair.Well ,he gave us the outlet number this time(how ridiculous!) and asked us to call them since they(the customer care) cant help us at that moment…He kept conversing trying to explain till it was 11 pm and suddenly kept the phone off the hook and stopped responding..That’s the cut off time for the customer care helpline..!!!. Our struggle continued till the lines stopped responding..Initially it was shock and despair since that brand is pizza hut which so easily broke their brand promise and broke our trust..
We now tried calling up the outlet ,which was received by an irritating soul who was very clear that they cant take orders now..When we tried to explain that it wasn’t a fresh order but our pending order, he was quick to retort that there was no order placed…No calls received from the helpline so they cannot deliver us at any cost!!! and hung up!!! Unearthly and mystifying ,a feeling of bewilderment left me amused at the uncanny behavior of the people
Hungry and starved by now we realized its too late o even go out and eat something. While we went out most of the restaurants had shut, nor would anyone take any home delivery options that late. Off we went strutting for whatever we could lay our hands on as our hunger increased…nothing..not even the roadside guys..all shut..it was 12 by then..somehow we landed up with a few varieties of pav and some subji somewhere..
That’s how a beautiful evening was ruined ,forget the ruins story, its not about a scornful story or a case of callousness or a case of of denigrating the brand..Its about a service a promise and the effects that can ruin and create havoc.
Cut to a different imaginary scenario where we have ordered the most favorite pizzas for the kids at home..they are hungry and the pizzas haven’t come as yet,,cranky, hungry, wails and shrills rule the house as they need to sleep and get up early morning for school..How do you not give food to children?? How do yous see the pain of starvation when at 12 pm there is no other option? If it was an ordeal during lunch time its till adjustable and worth a compromise. .But for a child, i shudder to even think of the scenario where children are kept hungry..So you see its not just about a delivery that never came..It has a lot of consequence too esp if there were kids involved.It could have turned horrific if there were children involved that day..But as adults of course the situation took a different turn and we planned to raise the issue since it was a case of mistrust .What followed next day was hilarious.
At office I guess colleagues were ordering pizzas and took the chance of complaining about the previous night’s experience..They fought and explained the matter and even spoke of going to the media(which actually is a rightful option), talked of speaking to the higher management which i think made the matter a little serious. And since my mobile was the registered number on their database I started getting frantic calls from various outlets and the branch offices of pizza hut..From Mumbai and Bangalore. I had no clue what was happening. Every 10 mins someone would call to ask what happened and apologized. they wished to make do for the same and give us a free meal for the damage done. Well, its not about the damage done nor about the experience, it wasn’t difficult to understand that it was 11 pm and dinner time. Its just not about a box of pizza.It’s about starving the night..Pizzas were for dinner and if kids were involved it could have been worse.We didn’t get our dinner that day because of them . Relentlessly and shamelessly they apologized refusing to understand the gravity of situation they created..They are trained and programmed to apologize. the branch head , the outlet manager then someone from the head office called.
Well after wrecking my brains trying to tell them what they did and that it was not a case of just a missing pizza box..I realized its better to let go but not before I took the benefits that belonged to me rightfully for not getting the service.So I agreed for the free package that they would sent as a way of making up for the poor service of the previous night. Cool…so i thought
30 mns later someone again calls and ask what’s my order..whats my order???excuse me, did i order?? Well, he said he was informed that there was an order. So i had to rattle the entire story of poor service , mistrust and uncouth behavior .. he said yes we will deliver,,but not the full package, only a part of it..Now this was cheeky and cheap on their part especially after someone from the head office already confirmed the same having apologized….
So now what???.Really, firstly i get 10 calls from across the country apologizing and trying to rectify by giving me a free meal for the damage , and here after that promise someone calls from the outlet and says he will be able to give only part..
Now i couldn’t let it go..Even an apology was fine but not this cheap stunts..
In 20 mins someone else again called back to explain. The story at their level was such that there was a miscommunication between the customer care helpline and the branch outlet. While the helpline had forwarded the order, the outlet forgot to put it up their system so the order was not placed. The outlet said the order was never forwarded by the customer care. In this scenario, the outlet, which obviously is a franchised outlet did not want to loose money on a free package.By then i think i had lost all my sanity trying to use my energy on a busy working day over a box of pizza!!!!My head was reeling.. feelings of satire, grief, humor, breathlessness ruled as i gasped in fume and anger in between smirking with small quails of laughter. Laughter because of their behavior, of our entire experience and the importance that this incidence managed to thrive on in between so much constructive work during the day.
Additionally, my freinds kept calling to update on what transpired between one of them and the pizza hut helpline..It was even weird to believe that one of my friend would leave her work on a busy day to just fight with the pizza hut customer service?huh?? we laughed as we conversed..my friend said, that she was so bitter and felt incomplete without bashing those guys,she wasn’t ready to give up without a fight..ha ha ah ..what was that? it was a bus day and i understand we all have our personal problems like banks, loans,credit card issues to sort out even during busy working hours. At times they seem to take more precedence inspite of a busy schedule coz they disrupt your financial standing and comfort.. But to fight for a box of pizza?? ha ha .it seemed funny really and as we laughed and thought it could perhaps just get over with the free pizza being delivered, yet the moment i thought it could have ended , the response and behavior that they displayed by saying that they wouldn’t be able to compensate the entire package was soon to take things to a different level..It wasn’t funny anymore. Anyways ,in the end i realized it was just a case of bad brand promise.. bad training and management..
So for me this is pathetic business sense. And while I write this a one case of an unique experience it is also important for customers and the management to note that as a brand you (Pizza Hut)could not even rectify or offer a free package for customer service?? is this what the brand stands for? that you harass a customer, say a simple sorry , someone calls and talks of the free meal and then backs out because the outlet says no?
I was aghast, but on a working day no one wanted to take this further , but to cut it short I did get my delivery that night however just a part of it..For me that was one of the most abnormal experience in a mystifying horrendous way that which left me amused more then bemused.. ..Today, yes; I can laugh at the next day round of affairs and how a certain pizza hut showed its travesty of brand promise and how it poorly valued its customers.. It was funny of course with too many people calling up during the day apologizing and at the same time it was irritating to even fight or crib about just a box of pizza??? Well whatever it is,i had never wrecked my brains so much for a pizza in life .
To me this will remain a case of an unique food ordering experience..the pizza and that never pleased us.And true to the contest theme, I am better off without such bizarre surprises!!!!P.S: As part of the contest rules am posting the following links: