April 12, 2006

Pizza Delivery Guy!

Subtitled, The Law of Unintended Consequences

Remember the first part of the week when I recounted the story about having to give the Papa John's delivery girl directions to the house? NO!? Hmph!

Well, I DID write about it, and I got to thinking about it afterwards. "I wonder," I said to myself, using the little quiet voice in my head, "if there's a way to suggest to them that they print out some maps to the customer's house along with each order?" Of course, all the other voices had a BIG uproarious laff at my quiet voice's expense, but the quiet voice got together behind their backs with my fingers, and they went off and found that there is indeed a customer feedback section to Papa John's website.

Of course, there is the obligatory dash of cold water, i.e., reality, before you get there:

Unsolicited Ideas

Thank you for your interest to share an idea for a product or service that you believe would be beneficial to Papa John's. Please know, however, that it is Papa John's company policy not to consider unsolicited ideas from anyone other than our corporate employees, franchise owners/employees, and our supply partners.

It’s not that great ideas cannot come from our valued customers. Each year, however, Papa John's receives thousands of unsolicited ideas for products and services. Due to the mass volume of these unsolicited ideas and the business challenge of determining what is truly a “new” idea versus a concept that we already have in development, being tested, or previously considered, we must adhere to our strict policy not to accept or review any unsolicited ideas that come from outside our system.

As a result, we must decline your invitation to review your idea, and hope you can understand and appreciate our business reasons for making this company decision. We do, however, greatly appreciate your interest in Papa John's.

Not being one to take "no" for an answer, nor, for that matter, being all that great at understanding plain English, I figured it couldn't hurt to go ahead and make my suggestion anyway.

So, I wrote and told the highly condensed version of the story--I ordered online, liked it, but found it odd that the driver had to call for directions, and suggested they might like to explore some way of printing out maps to go with the order so it's easier on the driver. Punched the Send button, and promptly forgot about it.

Nothing quite like short term memory loss!

IMAGINE MY SURPRISE, when Chet the E-Mail Boy checked my inbox this afternoon, and found that I had been sent a response to my suggestion!

From: [Name redacted ]@papajohns.com
To: terryoglesby@gmail.com
Date: Apr 12, 2006 1:11 PM

Subject: Re: Feedback acknowledgment

Dear Terry,
I apologize for the inconvenience as you shouldn't have been called for directions. I am forwarding your comments on to the appropriate personnel for their review. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience.
[name and title redacted, although he's pretty high on the food chain if you go by titles ]

DANG! Although I REALLY was impressed someone from the company wrote back, I wasn't angry about what happened, and didn't want to get anyone gigged for calling me. Especially since she was cute.

IN HASTE, I sped a reply back to him trying to keep the home town team from getting mad at ME and spitting on any future pizzas I might order from them:

No problem at all--it wasn't really an inconvenience for me and I
found it rather humorous, and the driver was very apologetic for the perceived trouble to me.

On the other hand, it does seem like there's an opportunity to better integrate online mapping with your ordering system. Maybe even something you could exploit in ads--hapless Domino's driver blundering around looking for an address, while the Papa John's crews happily scoot straight to the house using handy customized maps that are generated when you order online.

ANYway, I wasn't upset, and hope that the local folks don't get too much of a thrashing.

Yours, etc.

ANNnnnd promptly forgot about it.

Nothing quite like short term memory loss!

BUT, not two minutes later, that electronic pizza guy was BACK, and this time with this:

From: Same Guy
To: Terry Oglesby
Date: Apr 12, 2006 1:43 PM
Subject: Re: Feedback acknowledgment

I like the idea with the Dominos driver and think I'll pass that on. It would make for a good ad.

Name Redacted
Title Redacted
Phone: redacted
Fax: redacted

WOW! Got an actual phone number!? Now I'll call him when my pizza's late!

Now then--this is obviously kinda neat, especially if this takes off and becomes a big hit and makes all the other pizza joints look bad. Just as obvious, I needed to be sure I looked after my own interests in this matter. It is, after all, all about me. So, just to show what a shrewd negotiator I am, I sent this along to my new buddy:

Just remember--if the powers that be like the idea, I want free pizza FOREVER!
(Only joking--sorta.)

And promptly forgot about it.

Anyway, it would be cool if they did do something with my idea. I've even got the slogan for them: "Papa John's--Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, and BETTER DIRECTIONS!"

Now then, if I can just figure out a way to get Cornatees into their delivery menu...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 12, 2006 01:19 PM

"if I can just figure out a way to get Cornatees into their delivery menu..."

Your best bet would be getting manatee chunks as one of the pizza topping options, then you can sneak in the Cornatees.

You also could have started a pizza war, where Mapquest teams with Papa Johns and Yahoo Maps ties in with Dominos. Outfitting every store with a network connection, computer and printer dedicated to map printing may be more than they can bite off (at least short term).

Posted by: Spud at April 12, 2006 02:08 PM

Google Earth will be the killer app in this one.

If I know your address I can look down your chimney (in a virtual way), so how hard would it be to get a pizza to you.

Now that you're all revved up on high speed DSL you should check it out.

Posted by: AmesJay at April 12, 2006 02:18 PM

MMMmmm--manatee chunks! Italian manatee chunks!

As for the computer hardware, I assumed that they must already have something where the online orders pop up to let them know what to cook and where to take it. Seems like they have all the elements in place, it's just a matter of integration.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 12, 2006 02:18 PM

And James, I have checked the Google sat views before--the only trouble seems to be they lag a few months or more behind actual road construction. For areas with stable streets, that's okay, but we have a lot of new construction going on around us and it makes it a bit harder to keep up. Still, any of the mapping services seem like they would be good partners.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 12, 2006 02:23 PM

Boy Terry that is a much better idea than I had. I was going to suggest they only hire stalkers and peeping Toms as drivers since they already know where everyone lives.

Posted by: jim at April 12, 2006 03:03 PM

Wait--I thought you told me you were a college professor...

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 12, 2006 03:24 PM