Mark and I like pizza. We order it a couple of times a month. But it has to be decent local pizza, Mark won't touch Pizza Hut with a ten-foot pole. After trying several of the local Austin chains (well, the ones that deliver in our neighborhood, anyway), we settled on Austin's Pizza as our deliverer of choice. Local, fresh ingredients, and frequent coupons.
Then we went through a period where we got several not-quite right orders in a row. Twice I was delivered Diet Pepsi rather than regular. Once our "hold the Canadian bacon, add sausage" pizza turned up with no sausage and extra Canadian bacon. Then we got an almost inedible undercooked pizza, and I sent a polite but firm email to their customer service address telling Austin's Pizza that while we would love to continue our relationship with them, we needed some assurance the quality would be better first.
Within 24 hours, I received a lovely email in return, apologizing, assuring that a manager would look into the problems at the location from which we're ordering, and giving us a pizza on the house. Problem solved. We've ordered many times since then and it's been great each time.
Until last night, at which point I wrote the following email:
I am sorry to be writing you again about this. A few months ago, I wrote about the quality issues we'd been having with pizzas ordered from you. You kindly gave us an order credit and said the problem would be fixed. And it has been--since then, our pizzas (we order at least a couple a month) have been great! Tonight was no exception--we got exactly what we ordered, quickly, and the pizza was excellent.
The problem was that we also ordered a Zilker salad, and at least 1/3 of the greens in the salad were slimy/bad. I understand that it is hard to keep greens fresh in Austin climate, but honestly, when I pay $10 for a salad, I expect to be able to eat it all. I noticed that the date field on the sticker on the lid of the salad says "2." Does this mean the salad was put together on the 2nd? Since today is the 6th, I expect if that is the case it explains why so many of the greens were beginning to decompose. I've gotten the Zilker salad before and found it to be excellent, and tonight ordered from you specifically because I wanted a nice salad, so this was a major disappointment.
I really wish Austin Pizza would focus more on quality control. We love to be able to support a local business like you, but we have to be able to feel secure that when we come home from work tired and order food, that food will be eatable when it arrives.
This morning, less than 18 hours later, I received the following response:
I am so sorry about the quality of your salad. We have struggled with this issue and employed the sticker dating to prevent this gross and embarrassing problem from happening to our customers. The stores are supposed to date the salads so they know when to toss them out. The salads are not supposed to stay in the cooler for more than 36 hours. At any rate, our operations manager has been made aware of the situation and will make sure the Farwest store has the proper procedures in place. Meanwhile, I will have the cost of that salad refunded back to your card.
Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. We will correct it immediately.
We see it so infrequently anymore I am not sure all my readers will recognize this--it's called customer service, and it's a dying art. Austin's Pizza will keep my business, even though I normally wouldn't give this many chances. Why? Because they reply to complaints politely and quickly, give a refund if appropriate, and tell you specifically what they are doing to remedy the problem. That's worth something to me.