We Suck…but we’re working on it

Guest Post by Sam Gordon, Peppercom

February 18 - domino-pizzaLast month Domino’s Pizza started their Pizza Turnaround campaign, telling consumers that Domino’s has heard the complaints regarding their pizza and is responding. As I’m sure you’ve seen, Domino’s takes its campaign farther than simply advertising a new pizza. It displays real customers’ most negative tweets and comments with actual Domino’s chefs reacting to them.

I, for one, thought this was genius and audibly gave the ad a wow the first time I saw it. One of the rare times a company actually admits its mistakes (before a giant recall or government takeover) and makes a commitment to correct the course.

Knowing I had the money back guarantee in my back pocket if it was a train wreck, I picked up the phone and ordered two mediums for the first time in six years, i.e. college.

The result: eh.

Better? From what I recall of their pizza, yeah, it’s better – especially the crust. But I’m still not a fan of their pizza.

Here is what I am a fan of though: 

After my pizza experience, I took ten minutes and gave feedback on their corporate site. I received no immediate reply and thought I suppose those comments went into a database and will be ignored, or they’ll just cut me a check or perhaps they are planning to film a surprise visit to me with free pizza and use it for their next commercial?!

Actually, the last was not far off. A week later I received a phone call from the local Domino’s franchise owner. After apologizing for the delay, she offered me a full refund, but said that she would love the chance to change my mind by sending my entire office pizza that day for lunch. She was confident if I tried a few options that I would enjoy Domino’s Pizza.

Impressed with the personal touch, I was game to try and have my mind changed. She ended up sending my office five pizzas and happily accepted everyone’s feedback, the positive (there was more than I expected) and the negative.

To me, this is the impressive part of Domino’s campaign.

Not only is the company taking a chance and displaying some vulnerability (my ex girlfriend would be so proud), but they are backing up their marketing efforts with good old-fashioned customer service and moderately improved pizza.

This campaign made me wonder why more companies don’t take such bold measures as to admit there might, just might be something they can fix with their product (I’m looking at you AT&T Wireless Coverage, United Airlines and Star Wars Episodes I, II and III).

Sure, after our office pizza party I still really didn’t love Domino’s pizza, but here’s what happened when I told the franchise owner that. She offered to have me come into the store and taste all of the different options they have. She’s still confident I will find something I like – I’m going in this week.

I suppose the reason that more companies don’t take such bold measures is because they are unwilling to follow them up with bold actions. Bravo Domino’s for trying.

8 thoughts on “We Suck…but we’re working on it

  1. Thanks, Laura. Couldn’t agree more. Positivity, with a little humility and self-deprecation mixed in – a recipe for success.

  2. Great piece, Sam!
    Whether the pizza is better or not, bravo to Dominos. After the psuedo-political attack ads starring their former CEO (you know, the ones I wrote about last year in this very forum), I applaud the company for a positive campaign. I stand by my opinion that they crossed a line with last year’s March Madness ads that assailed Wall Street and, like attack ads in general, I doubt I’m not the only one who was left with a bad taste in my mouth.
    I think the new campaign is a promising step towards a stronger reputation. Your customer service experience is icing on the cake. Or maybe pepperoni on the pie?

  3. Bill, it’s great to hear your passion for your customers and your business. I could not agree more with your mindset and admire the effort that I personally have experienced from all of Domino’s employees. I wish more businesses placed as much emphasis on customer approval and even if I don’t personally enjoy Domino’s pizza, I do believe everyone should give it a shot – the brand has earned that at least.

  4. You asked where is this coming from. As a supervisor of Domino’s Pizza stores I would like to let you know that we strive not for $20 bill in out pockets today, but for you to come back to us again and again. Domino’s might seem like a big corporation but most of the stores are owned and operated by a single franchisee that started out in the business as a delivery driver. We want your business, we want to keep you happy and ordering from us again and again. I know that in the long run it is my loyal customers that pay the bills. If I gouge you out of your money today, on a cheaply made product (so I can get a few extra bucks) The next time you order you will go to the competition. I will continue to take the high road and earn a my dollar by giving you a good product at a fair price, in the most convenient way possible. It’s how I operate, and it’s how I train my people to operate. Customers for life! thats our goal.

  5. Art, I could not agree more. It seems that if a business is squeezing out a profit, they will not accept the risk of parting with cash in hand for a boost in customer loyalty. And, Domino’s really does appear to have invested in their future with this campaign – however, we also don’t know exactly what lead to this decision. Perhaps in their minds it was truly an act of desperation, more along the lines of a GM reboot than a true response to customers. I love to believe that their actions are in line with yours, but as you stated, these acts seem to be rare.

  6. I think there’s a more important reason why more companies don’t do this–money. I’m consistently amazed at how many business owners view what is ostensibly an investment in customer loyalty as simply an expense that’s coming out of their pocket. Money is so important to our culture that folks are impressed when you’re willing to part with it for them. I do it all the time in my every day life. I inadvertently failed a client last year, and my boss was not pleased (client was a good friend of the boss). I offered to pick up the tab myself for rush shipping (about $300) to get the product to the client on time. I ended up not having to pop for shipping, but the offer itself was enough to convince the boss and the client that I was willing to take personal responsibility for the situation. The offer was worth it to me because I valued the goodwill of my boss and my client, and was able to demonstrate to them that I was willing to put skin in the game.

  7. damnit, i wish i could join you, Sam. as someone who care so much about food (especially during the mid-day), all I can say is ‘good work and thank for your efforts.’