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Where Is My Pizza?

By Pamela Heywood
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2004

Customer Service starts with the customer ... in applying
just a little thought. Let me try a scenario ...

You see an ad in your local newspaper for a new home-
delivery pizza service, so you decide to give it a try. You
call them, you order the one with all the trimmings and they
give you the usual response that your pizza will arrive in
10 minutes. Sixty minutes pass slowly and still no pizza.

You're getting hungry, so do you?

A. Call the pizza parlour

B. Call the newspaper that ran the ad

If you answered B, then you have chosen what a LOT of
people are, increasingly, doing online. Would you expect
the newspaper to be able to tell you where your pizza is?

Of course not!

Even if the pizza parlour's phone was engaged, or out of
order, you still wouldn't call the newspaper, I'm sure.

Then why do people expect the publisher of a newsletter
to be able to answer questions about an order placed at the
web site of an independent, third-party advertiser?

Perhaps it is because publishers are accessible? Whatever
the reason, it's an inattention to the details that really
matter and a pure lack of thinking.

Most publishers I know are very willing to help, but I think
you'll agree that they can really only be expected to answer
questions about their own products and services, ordering
processes and other technical what-have-you.

A minor point, you say? The publisher can just pass your
message on. Yeah and they probably have to do EXACTLY what
I'm about to describe to be able to do so. Maybe they could
tune your car and sweep your yard at the same time?

Self Service Solutions ...

Do you FULLY read what you are responding to? Do you really
look at the site (and it's location), from which you are
buying? Do you even look for contact information?

(If there isn't any, you should SERIOUSLY question whether
you should risk making that purchase in the first place.)

Remember, ads are just that, ads. In all cases it is up to
YOU, the BUYER, to beware and do your own due diligence.
Even if you trust the person who made the recommendation.

Often a simple remedy, if you are at an internal page of
a site where there isn't a direct link to contact the folks
at the site you actually purchased from, is to go to the
front page of that site and look for the information.

Lets say you are at:


Well then, stick your cursor in the address bar of your
browser, use the backspace/erase key to wipe out the
product.html bit so all you have left in there is:


Then click GO. Betcha you'll find something which says
*contact* or *email us* or *customer service* even that
leads you to the information you want and a means to
contact the RIGHT people with your question or query.

It should be obvious that you'll get a faster and better
answer if you'll just take 30 seconds to help yourself.

If you are a merchant, you would do well to review your site
and ensure that there is contact information, or at the very
least a link to a page where it is displayed, from EVERY
page of your site. Make life dead simple for your customer.

If you operate an affiliate scheme, any number of people
could be advertising for you. You will not necessarily know
where and when. Likewise, those affiliates cannot know how
to answer questions about your ordering process, so don't
require them to by hiding your contact information, such
that customers write to the affiliate advertiser instead.

If you are the affiliate, you need to LOOK closely at the
site you are advertising. Yet another reason why you should
be a customer before you promote something. What do you
look like when your referrals suffer problems?

If you are doing business online, then likely you'll fall
into all categories of seller, advertiser and buyer. If you
get poor quality answers -- and thus PERCEIVED poor quality
service -- because you ask poor quality questions or pose
your questions to the wrong people, this does nothing for
anyone's credibility. Least of all your own!

How daft would that newspaper editor think you are, if you
ring him at 10.30 p.m. to ask where your pizza is?

About the Author
Pamela Heywood doesn't even have a Pizza delivery service
to the remote valley where she lives and works, however,
she's more than happy to answer her OWN Customer Service
related queries at: (


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