Proactive Customer Service At Project Pie

I was recently turned onto a new restaurant in San Diego called Project Pie.  Like you, my initial reaction when hearing about it was “Ooooooh a restaurant devoted to pie!  Yum.”  After my friend informed me that it was a pizza place, I responded with “Oh that kind of pie.”

Upon entering the restaurant I found a place with decor similar to that of Chipotle piewith uncooked pizza dough, like a blank canvas, waiting to be covered with my selection of toppings.  All of this for a reasonable price of $7.50 and a wait of no more than five minutes.  I just realized it but this is the restaurant I’ve always wanted.

The first time I visited Project Pie, I was with a friend who was eating and I wasn’t, but something so magnificent happened that drove me to return soon and try it for myself.  My friend ordered his pizza with the exact toppings he wanted and after they pulled it out of the oven, the employee said that the pizza didn’t look right and he wanted to make another one that met the Project Pie standards.  My friend replied that it looked fine and they didn’t need to go through the trouble.  The employee responded with, “You are welcome to eat that pizza. I’m still going to make you another pizza at no extra charge.  I’ll box it up and you can take it home.”

How is that for proactive customer service?  How often do companies make mistakes and rather than fessing up, they assume/hope/pray that the customer never notices.  Being proactive and admitting mistakes takes courage as an employee and company but here’s the return Project Pie got for their act of courage:

  1. Loyalty Times One: My friend was amazed by the awesome service and is more loyal as a result.
  2. Loyalty Times Two: I returned to Project Pie two days later to show my wife how cool this new restaurant was and to try their food for myself.
  3. Word Of Mouth Referrals: I have told five to ten friends about this cool new restaurant and their awesome customer service.
  4. Mass Word Of Mouth Referrals: Now I’m telling everyone in my social network including whoever reads this blog about their awesome customer service.

The return for just one proactive act may always yield this kind of result.  Building a customer centered culture that is consistently proactive will build a fantastic reputation and gain loyal customers.  Project Pie is another example of a company doing it the right way and I encourage you to visit soon!

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

7 comments

  • Sounds like an amazing experience. How do I get one of those in Barcelona? I’m really hungry now. What a huge difference good customer service makes. There’s a restaurant here with amazing food, but the service is terrible so we almost never go. I don’t feel like being abused then paying for it. Good post.

    • Dude they need one there. It really did kind of blow my mind. Isn’t that funny? Amazing food, terrible service. There’s a place in Oregon like that and they live up to that billing every time. Thanks for reading my post bro.

  • Jeremy, I loved this story. That is exactly the level of customer service everyone should experience everywhere they go. An additional point I feel like this story compels is that for this employee to go ahead and make a whole ‘nother pie gratis, he must have been empowered by the company to strive for excellence. You guys have touched on it before, but it’s one of the most important points in growing, strengthening and honing customer service skills—you have to feel empowered by your employer to go the extra mile.

    With so many companies still in penny-pinching mode, this story really makes Project Pie shine.

    • Jeremy Watkin

      Jordan, that’s such a great point. It’s so easy to blame/credit the front line staff and not give enough blame/credit to management/ownership etc for the way they train and empower their employees. You almost wrote a sub-blog post and I love it!

  • Next time I’m in San Diego, we’re totally going here, FYI.

    I’m a huge fan of admission of mistakes—why not own it, correct it? It will only build trust with your customers!

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