Sunday, 27 April 2014

Life Trivia: Honest Customers Deserve Good Service

Growing up in Southeast Asia and living abroad in North America, I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to blend myself so that I can observe cultural and social differences and learn from both sides. I’m going to talk about Canadian impressive customer service today as one of those differences, and Domino’s Pizza is an example. In case you ask, Domino’s pizza is just one of hundreds of pizza stores you can find in Canada (in over the world too). After 3.5 years living in Canada, I’m still feeling special and honor whenever buying goods from real Canadian vendors like I did from day one. I have to stress “real Canadian” to distinguish with thousands of stores of minorities such as Chinese, Filipino, Indian or so on. I love the way Canadian vendors respect and believe in their customers. They let customers choose to be honest. 

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For Friday dinner, we are usually in the good mood to eat something different from other days of the week. WD loves pizza, but he eats the one from Domino’s pizza only. He claims that Domino’s pizza crust is neither greasy nor burnt, and the toppings are fresh. I think he is reasonable for his point and I won’t object him since I myself know nothing about pizza. On my side, I just set a simple rule to not eat pizza after 8:30 p.m. My favorite food is of course the one from my country. However, I do enjoy and try new food from other cultures. Toronto is a multicultural city where people can easily find and taste several food styles. 

Guess what? It was Friday again. However, it was not a normal Friday. It was the Friday before my birthday, “BIG one”! We decided to order pizza since that was the treat WD gave to my big day!
As usual, we ordered online and the pizzas were delivered after about 30 minutes. We had no reason to wait, but started “our little party” as soon as the pizzas came. We were chewing the first bites and chatting when I suddenly found a hair embedded in the tomato sauce at the end of my slice. I told WD. He was asking again to confirm if I was serious. Thus, I showed it to him. We both double-checked and made sure it was not my or his hair. In this case, we were so sure since the hair was in the sauce. Here was the moment I learnt from our different reactions.

We had never had any issues with Domino’s pizza before. On my mind, I would just throw away the rest of the pizza slice and move on to the new one. I brought that thought from my original culture. In my country, it was not rare to find hairs in food; especially the food was handled by human beings in restaurants. And if you even find something in food where it is not supposed to, it is unlikely to claim something from the vendor. You either throw your food away or eat whichever part you choose. The reason is it’s very difficult to prove that the object gets into the food by the vendor’s mishandling because food is sold on open streets or in restaurants with open space. If customers start talking about those unexpected objects in their food with the vendor, probably they will end up with the vendor’s ignorance or fights.  On the contrary, WD thought completely differently.  He insisted on calling Domino’s pizza to first complain about our pizza, and second help improve food quality from the vendor who he always trusted. I tried to convince him to ignore it instead because I didn’t want to interrupt our enjoyment. Indeed, I was not used to confront those cases in my life. Since you’re reading this blog entry, you know I couldn’t stop him. He took the phone and dialed Domino’s pizza number. I was observing him to see how Domino took the situation into account. 

Quickly, I could see everything in less than 3 minutes of their conversation. I was not disappointed. No suspicious questions for evidence. No arguments. All Domino asked was the order number, and then it offered to deliver us another pizza on the spot. However, WD told them he didn’t want another pizza right away since it was kind of late already. To answer him, Domino will give him a free pizza for his next order by taking notes for the case into his online account. That was impressive to me. 
After the phone call, I told WD I wouldn’t do that on my own because if we claimed something like that, it was most likely the staff who served that day would get some deduction or complaint. It was Friday and we all knew all pizza stores were crazily busy. However, to WD, he had only one answer: he will always call to improve the pizza quality that he always trusts. 

The story above is just one of trivia in life. However, I have learnt a lot by thinking about that case. For Domino, it does know that customers may cheat. But why it didn’t question at all? What if we cheated? What if hundreds of people cheated? I think the answer is that Domino (likewise most “authentic” Canadian vendors) lets customers choose to be honest. Losing a pizza to a cheating customer will be nothing to compare with losing its name in the case that the customer starts badmouthing. No matter who is right and who is wrong, the battle will kick off more damages. To honest customers like us, what did we think about Domino’s service after the compensation? We were surely satisfied. If fortunately enough, we will write about our stories to spread the good words for its service like I’m doing right now. To Domino, losing one pizza for winning the loyal customer and keeping its reputation intact is a wise strategy. I’m now wondering whether Domino handles exactly the same if this complaint occurs in my home country where vendors don’t believe in consumers and consumers don’t believe in vendors either. I don’t know the answer, yet I need to find it out later. For WD, a Canadian born person, he knows his right to speak up for a better world he’s living in. As far as he knows he is right, he will fight for it to the end. He’s introvert, but he is not shy. This is another lesson to me. I always thought introvert and shy were one. Finally, I also learn that confrontation is not always disapproved. 

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