My Latest Luxury Indulgence

 

Ruthanne Terrero, CTC Vice President/Editorial Director rterrero@questex.com www.twitter.com/ruthanneterrero

 

Like so many of us, I grew up in a house where you didn’t overindulge. If something had to be done, you did it yourself. You didn’t elicit assistance from outside forces. You may have already guessed, but I had a good, strong Irish mom who instilled a lot of practicality in me, for which I’m still grateful.

Which is why the idea of ordering a pizza and having it delivered to my house was never on my radar. After all, I’ve got a perfectly good set of working legs, I can go get it myself.

But one day, Domino’s Pizza ran one of those ads on TV promoting two medium, two-topping pizzas for $5.99 apiece. For some reason, this struck a chord in my household and all of a sudden there was a rush to get in on this amazing deal. After much discussion—and some angst over which two toppings we’d get—I called in the order and sat down on my couch to wait. I even left the front door ajar so not to miss the pizza truck’s arrival.
I had $20 in my hand (yes, I am a big tipper).

And then the magic moment happened. The pizza truck (more of a station wagon, actually) arrived, a smiling young man walked up to my door and we executed the transaction in three seconds.

Back inside, we were gleeful, giddy, really. Two hot pizzas on the table without having exerted ourselves one bit. It felt indulgent, but I got over it.

Obsessed with this new luxury, I wanted more. I checked to see if I could order a pizza online. Why speak to a human being if you don’t have to?
Turns out, Domino’s website allows you to save your preferences and reorder your favorite selections with practically one click of the mouse.

I wanted more. What if, say, at 3 p.m. I could go online and order a pizza to be delivered for 7 p.m. that night? I shot an e-mail to Domino’s customer service department with this sophisticated request and waited a day or so.

Rahman, manager of Domino’s Pizza, West Hempstead, e-mailed me personally and told me yes, I could go online and schedule my pizza to be delivered whenever I wanted to. He told me to personally call him if I had any problems. His sign-off? “We will take care you. Thanks. Rahman.”

Even better was the note from corporate to Rahman I saw embedded in the e-mail. It said:

“The following concern was received from one of your customers. Please contact your customer as soon as possible to WOW their concern and keep a loyal customer.

1. Apologize
2. Give them what they want
3. Give them something extra.”

In three easy steps, Domino’s had boiled down the essentials of reacting to a customer concern. Granted, mine wasn’t a complaint, but say the sausage on my pizza had been sliced, not diced, as I had requested it? I’m thinking that issue would have been taken care of mighty quickly by Rahman.

Is this a best practice you can implement at your agency? Do you “wow” a client’s concern by acknowledging and owning it so there is no question on the part of the customer that their needs count? Are your travel advisors taught to apologize when something goes awry? Do they then correct the problem by giving the client what they want? And how about that “something extra?” Does your infrastructure enable you to give your client a discount, a gift or some other meaningful make-good item when something goes wrong?

Is your team empowered to execute these three steps immediately when the customer calls or is there a delay in responding to issues because there’s so much other incoming business?

I hope my experience with Domino’s has given you some food for thought. I have to admit that ordering pizza online is probably just a phase I’m going through (it is such an indulgence!), but it’s good to know that I can easily have something delivered to my house whenever I want it, with the push of a button, and that there’s a good customer care team ready to back me up if there are any problems.


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