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My love-hate relationship with Shakey’s Pizza

I love pizza and my whole family loves pizza, too.  We have pizza delivery at least twice a month, with 2-4 boxes of large pizza per order. As much as possible, we try different pizza flavors, so deals that would allow us to mix and match two or more pizzas at a huge discount are welcome.

Pepperoni Crrrrunch by Shakeys

Shakey’s Pepperoni Crrrrunch, one of my daughters’ all-time favorite pizza flavors

We particularly like Shakey’s Pizza, especially their Pepperoni Crrrunch and Classic Cheese in thin crust. Their pizza crust has just the right thickness (hand-tossed), the flavors are distinct, and well, my childhood memories just come alive whenever I take a bite of their flavorful pizza. Once, we even had lasagna, chicken ‘n mojos, and pizza from Shakey’s for our New Year’s eve dinner or media noche! Somehow, no matter how many times we order the same pizza flavors from Shakey’s, we never get tired of them. We also looked forward to the new flavors they come up with and miss them when they’re no longer available on the menu.

Pizza 1954

Shakey’s Pizza 1954, my favorite, but it was on limited offer only

I’m all praises for their pizzas, if you still don’t realize it by now. Their service is another story though. I detest their customer service almost as passionately as I love their pizza (and mojos). We’ve been loyal to them for about two years now, and the fact that we could use my husband’s credit card to order pizza through their Pizza Padala (now called Send-a-Shakey’s) service may have something to do with it. It’s an interesting service that they offer, where friends or relatives abroad would be able to send pizzas to their loved ones here in the Philippines at a specified date and time (no later than two hours from the time the order is placed). More, it’s supposed to be hassle free.

The last time we had pizza from them was on the eve of my eldest daughter’s birthday, October 15. We made sure we placed the order way ahead of time, since it’s needed during my daughters’ recess period in the morning. Yet, somehow, the guys at Shakey’s online delivery managed to turn this supposedly simple and hassle-free birthday celebration into a nightmare for me.

Shakey's Oct 15 online transaction.001

I called their hotline to check if they have received both the order and payment a few minutes after we placed the order online. A friendly and professional-sounding female agent took the call and I was assured that they had received both the details of our order and the payment, and I would get a call from their nearest branch near us. That branch, by the way,  happens to be less than 10 minutes away from our house by car.

I didn’t receive a call from them that night, however, and I went to bed at 2 AM. By 7 AM the following day, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. I made another call, and again, I was assured that the payment was received, but apparently, there was no confirmation from the branch who would be processing the order. I got transferred a couple of times, made to wait for several minutes as they double-check things, and had to call again when the connection was lost. Repeatedly, I was advised to wait for a confirmation call from their branch nearest us.

Thirty minutes had passed, the school bus had already picked up my daughters, I started making lasagna for lunch, but there was still no confirmation call. Alas, it was already 8 AM and the pizzas must be delivered by 9 AM. Since we regularly order pizzas from Shakey’s, I’m aware that they do not deliver like most fast food and pizza restaurants do. They deliver in 1–1.5 hours instead of only 30 minutes, regardless of the distance between the branch catering and the delivery address. So, I started getting really nervous.

I made another phone call, and this time, the call turned nasty when it was finally passed to a male supervisor. I told him about the phone calls I previously made and the responses I received. Although he acknowledged the order and the payment, he denied receiving a single phone call from me. He also tried to turn the tables around, saying that because we did not complete the requirements, i.e., sending a scanned copy of my husband’s ID and credit card, which were used in the transaction, they would not process the order.

I couldn’t believe that they simply won’t process our order even if they have already received the payment for it more than 12 hours before the delivery time we had indicated in their online form,  not to mention that we also made it clear that it was to be delivered to a school–for our daughter’s birthday celebration. More, they simply won’t process our order without considering any of  the following facts:

  1. That we are not only their regular customers, but also their Supercard holders for two consecutive years now;
  2. We’ve always ordered pizzas from them the same way, i.e., online and using my husband’s platinum card issued abroad;
  3. We’ve already sent them a copy of the documents they’re requiring several times before and our personal details had not changed;
  4. My husband, who is an expat in Singapore, once or twice sent them an email, authorizing me to transact business with them using his credit card anytime, explaining that a one-time password (OTP) would be sent to him via SMS and he would have to personally call and give that to me before the payment could be processed, hence the security features his bank offers are reliable;
  5. They never had a problem collecting payment from my husband’s credit card; and
  6. We’ve been ordering pizzas from them for the past few months without sending another copy of the documents they’re requiring again for this particular transaction.

Honestly, I don’t remember ever having cried while speaking to a customer service representative/supervisor, begging for a service or product that I have already paid for to be delivered. At one point, I became really angry when I realized what he was trying to do and cursed that cold, heartless, unprofessional employee, who claimed to be a supervisor, but obviously knew nothing about (excellent) customer service at all–my exact thoughts at that time.

I must admit that I freely allowed my emotions to get the better of me this time, especially when his standard sarcastic response was: “No, we cannot do that… According to our system, we did not receive a call from you… That’s our SOP and you didn’t comply, so we cannot process your order, even if we have already received your payment.” He kept insisting that an email was sent to my husband, asking for identification documents.

So what if my husband had not responded to that email they had supposedly sent? Why didn’t they call to let us know about it either? He went to bed early that night and he normally doesn’t check his email until he gets to the office. Worse, I had assured him that everything was fine because that’s what their CSR(s) had told me.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 19.37.33

But the clock was ticking, not to mention they already got the payment and they have our contact details. Why couldn’t they call us instead and tell us that something’s wrong? What, a company operating nationwide and abroad, offering service for people overseas, has no access to an outbound call? What kind of business establishment are they? I have ordered from other fast foods online, such as Jollibee, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Yellow Cab before. And they would call, especially when something’s wrong with the order, when they needed more information, or delivery would take a little longer than expected (especially Yellow Cab). But with Shakey’s…

No apology, just excuses from someone in their office who’s supposed to be the first to model excellent customer service. And, it didn’t matter that the guy or gay, rather, was in the position to make things happen, that he could do something, but refused to help, refused to lift a finger to remedy the situation. He couldn’t even care less if I would suddenly have a heart attack for the stress I was in because of them, or rather, him. He did give me his name though–Adrian–as well as his ID number.

I commend their CSRs, on the other hand, for having the ability to empathize. They realized the urgency, the importance of that particular transaction, and apologized. And, because they couldn’t do much, they tried to connect me to someone whom they thought should have the ability to handle the issue properly. Right move. Sadly, though, the man who was assuming the higher position, the one everybody thought would be able to address the issue properly, was no help at all.

I had to ask for another supervisor to get on the line. I specifically asked for someone who was logical, knew the value of good customer service, and one who truly had the ability to help. This time, I was transferred to a female supervisor named Allen. She started a string of excuses, but I cut her off, telling her calmly that an apology was in order and I’d tell her why if she would listen.

Surprisingly, she apologized, didn’t offer another excuse, and just listened. She even went as far as to contradict what the previous so-called supervisor had told me. She said she was able to find the records of the phone calls I made, including the one from the previous night, and that at that very moment, she was having someone contact the branch that’s supposed to deliver the pizzas–now that’s music to my ears! And yes, finally, here’s one who most likely deserves her position in the company, I thought.

So how come the other “supervisor” wasn’t able to do any of those things?

Anyway, after thanking Allen, I told her to have the pizzas delivered as scheduled; if not, they would have to double the order (that would be another six large pizzas) for free and distribute them to the whole school’s staff. This time, I found myself the one being begged to, since there’s apparently no way they could have them delivered at 9 AM. It was nearly 8:30 at the time we were speaking.

In return for the efficiency and courtesy she had shown so far, I tried to be gracious and gave them until 9:30 AM. Of course, having worked in a call center and being a customer service trainer, the call didn’t end without me offering suggestions on how they could improve their service. I also made it clear that I intended to file a complaint against that  Adrian that I previously spoke with.

By 9:10 AM, I received a call from the branch catering the order and was advised that the pizzas would be delivered in 10 minutes. Wow! So they CAN deliver pizzas in less than an hour if they want to? Impressive.

I was about to leave the house to go to my daughters’ school when the phone rang again. It was Adrian. He apologized and I told him I appreciated the call. However, when he went on promising to reprimand the agents for not leaving appropriate notes with regard to the calls I made and for not managing my expectations well by saying that the order had been processed when it wasn’t… I just knew then that this person would be difficult to teach a lesson and most likely, did not learn anything from what just happened. I felt so sorry for him, and I hoped no one else would experience the same horrors that I had from them, or from him I should say. I couldn’t help wondering if he ever had good customer service training at all, or if there was ever a time in his life that he showed kindness and sincerity to anyone.

It’s not the first time I had a bad experience with Shakey’s Pizza really, though most of the time, they were able to redeem themselves. Like, once, we didn’t receive the pizza until the following day (no, I didn’t ask to have the pizzas delivered the following day), so the supervisor offered to send us additional free pizzas. There was also a time when one of our pizzas had hair on it, so the branch sent us chicken and mojos along with the replacement pizza. Somehow, I just thought of asking the delivery guy to open the boxes first and show me what’s inside before taking them, and voila, there’s a strand of hair on top of the pizza! 

By the way, I just realized that for some reason, it’s not their practice to open the box and show you the pizza you have ordered before giving it to you, so you have to ask them to do that before touching the box. And, come to think of it, with all those bad experiences we had with them and how they tried to apologize, then make another mistake again does sound like being in an abusive relationship, don’t you think? I think I ought to start breaking the cycle now.

No, we have not ordered a pizza from Shakey’s since this incident or redeemed the free pizza I was supposed to receive on my last birthday (about two weeks ago) for being a Shakey’s Pizza Supercard holder. (I guess I am finally learning my lesson.)

Do we miss Shakey’s pizza? Absolutely! Do we want to order pizza again from them? Maybe. Would I be willing to go through that terrible customer service experience again? Definitely not!

P. S. We ordered pizza from Yellow Cab online nearly two weeks ago. Their branch nearest us is 30-40 minutes away, including light to moderate traffic, but we got the pizza in less than 30 minutes! Isn’t that amazing? Except my kids were still craving for Shakey’s.

P.P.S. I just ordered from Shakey’s this evening (December 1) against my eldest daughter’s wishes. (She’s a bigger Shakey’s fan than myself, it seems.) One of the flavors I ordered was rather new to me that when the rider presented them, I couldn’t really tell if it’s the right one. We had started taking a slice from both boxes when the rider came back to tell us that he made a mistake. He accidentally swapped one of the pizzas with another customer’s. He apologized and asked if I would like to have it replaced…

Minutes later, the manager from their branch called me. She also apologized and told me that again, if I would like to have the pizza replaced it would be perfectly okay because it’s their mistake. More, there’s no need for me to return the wrong one.

After the abusive relationship I had been with them, I guess I simply couldn’t process and easily accept the kindness that was being offered to me. Interestingly, she added that they’re doing it because they’re committed to providing excellent service to their customers.

WOW. I wonder if that change had anything to do with this post at all?

By the way, I had told that rider when he returned to apologize not to bother to have the pizza replaced. (I was sure that he would get a salary deduction because of that mistake and I don’t think he’s getting paid well.) He left then, but a few minutes after their branch manager called, a different rider came with a box of pizza that we originally ordered. He too apologized.

Well, I guess you can say that all is well that ends well. For now, at least. 😉

I also wonder if Adrian has finally found his calling in life and no longer works at Shakey’s, harassing customers, and who knows, his fellow employees too?

Care to share your thoughts on this? :)

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