Learning by opening new doors
I’ve ordered pizza 534 times in the past four weeks. That’s not hyperbole; I’ve literally gone through the motions of placing an order for pizza delivery 534 times over the course of one month. That’s not to say I’ve eaten any of it; the orders have all been sent to hospitals across the country as part of Slice Out Hunger’s Pizza Vs. Pandemic campaign. Despite being quite possibly the world’s only pizza box collector, I never order pizza to be delivered to my home. Ever. My normal life has me buying pizza at pizzerias every day, but this situation of placing orders online and over the phone has presented a real educational opportunity for me. Here’s what I’ve learned.
I like online ordering way more than ordering by phone. It’s so much faster and more accurate. You better believe I ran into some errors over the course of placing so many orders, but those problems were solved quickly and with less frustration when there was a clear paper trail to follow. When the order was placed online, I didn’t hear “we wrote it down correctly, you must have ordered the wrong item” or “I’m positive I heard you say pepperoni and not peppers and onions.” There was just, “Oh now I see, we didn’t notice that request when we made the pizza. We’ll just make it again for you.” When the mistake was mine, the evidence was clear. No misremembering and no miscommunication.
One thing I did miss about ordering by phone is the opportunity to ask questions and request modifications that aren’t available through an online portal. You can tweak as many things as you want, customers will always find something you left out. An operator can give an employee live updates about menu options, but some don’t have time to constantly update the menu on an online platform (or even worse, multiple platforms). It’s easy to forget about the online stuff because it’s invisible. It’s not standing in front of you every day, in perfect earshot for you to instantly pick up on the mistakes of a phone operator.
In the process of placing all these orders, I find myself dreading the ones that need to be placed by phone because they take so much longer than orders placed online. Today I hit a busy signal four times before getting through. Last week the genius who answered the phone placed me on “hold,” put the phone on the counter, then walked away and forgot about me. I tried calling out to the staff only to hear their confused response as they tried to figure out where the tiny voice was coming from. If two pizzerias in my town were identical besides their ordering options, I’d definitely go with the one that offered online purchasing.
Realize that my strong preference has been a hard pill for an analog guy like me to swallow. I like talking to people. I like making phone calls. I resisted text messaging for YEARS before finally acquiescing to the demands of modernity. But delivery pizza is a comfort food and it’s hard to be comfortable when wasting away on hold or arguing with a manager after the wrong pizza arrives at the doorstep.