Naga Chokkanathan

Why Not? — Don’t Assume, Ask

Posted on: December 2, 2011

Yet another customer relationship lesson, this time from a Pizza shop.

I went there on a saturday evening, and placed my order. They asked for my phone number before accepting payment.

When I told them my mobile number, they searched for it in their database, read out my name, address, and I confirmed it. They said it will take twenty minutes to complete my order. I decided to wait there and kill time by reading some tweets / blogs in my phone.

After 15 minutes or so, I got a call. ‘Hello sir, I am calling from XYZ Pizza, where is your house?’

Naturally, I was surprised, and asked the person on the line, ‘Why are you asking for my house?’

‘To deliver the pizza, sir.’

‘But I don’t want any home delivery, No one is at home, I am waiting in your shop for the pizza.’

‘Oops’, he immediately disconnected the call, I went to the same counter where I placed the order and asked them about the confusion. They simply told ‘Because you confirmed your home address, we assumed you need the pizza to be delivered at home and sent it out.’

Here we go, They had a ’20 minutes’ SLA (Service Level Agreement) with me, completed the order in just 10 or 12 minutes, and then sent it out, right past me who is sitting there for the delivery. A perfect execution, spoilt by a bad deployment / delivery decision resulting in an unhappy customer!

Of course, it is a clear communication problem, when I placed the order I could have told them “No Home delivery please”. But how will I even know they are thinking of a home delivery? I was inside the shop and when I don’t explicitly ask for a home delivery, they should just serve the pizza on the table, isn’t it? Just because you have somebody’s address in your database, it doesn’t mean you need to use it for every order.

This happens when we confuse master data with transactional information. Irrespective of how much master data we have gathered about somebody / some business, transactions need to be treated with respect, they are the ones which provide moment by moment data, where making any “assumptions” can cost a lot. The simple solution is, to ask few more questions, or at least state your assumptions and confirm that the client is okay, It is worth the extra effort!



N. Chokkan …

02 12 2011


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