Donatos Delivers Satisfaction

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Donatos Pizzeria wants to make sure that every light-sauce, extra-mushroom pie is top-notch--and if there's a problem that might lead customers to taking their pizza-eating business down the street, Donatos wants to hear about it before that happens. So keeping customers satisfied and loyal is a Donatos main challenge. "The most important thing is, what is our customer's perception of our service?" says Dave Muenz, executive vice president of concept and restaurant systems at Donatos. Although the company uses a host of internal metrics and the occasional secret shopper, real-time customer feedback is its primary tool for tracking satisfaction. Donatos works with Qualistics to try to survey every customer, be it for pickup, dine in, or delivery. Diners are invited to call a toll-free number and take a short, automated survey, with the hook of a free pizza for every 25th respondent. "Complaint hot lines are for someone who is extremely motivated to complain," and as such is not very representative of the loyalty of the customer base at large, according to John Potenza, founder and CEO of Qualistics. "There's that eighty percent in the middle that are not extremely motivated by a complaint situation. You incentivize people to use it so you can get a variety of users, not just complaints, and a high enough volume that the information is statistically valid," he says. Donatos reviews the data for long-term planning in a variety of ways, breaking it down by store, region, and response to special promotions. But it is the response in the short term that most strongly influences customer loyalty. "If you call in tonight and say you did not have a good experience, the first thing in the morning that store manager will receive an email or fax that contains alerts," Muenz says. "The manager has an opportunity to call a customer back, and without question this is a very time-sensitive issue. Having someone sit here with comment cards entering responses into the database just adds more delay to the response." All 181 Donatos locations participate in the survey process, each generating an average of roughly 130 survey responses a month. Donatos uses the customer scoring to compensate managers and supervisors, and also as a predictive tool for improving store performance. "We've been doing this long enough that we can with a degree of certainty assign a sales [improvement] to elevating the survey score," Muenz says. Qualistics says it charges corporate customers between $50 and $100 per location, per month, which translates to less than $1 per IVR survey captured, with the analytics and reporting functions included. So, for a small per-survey charge and a half-dozen free pizzas per store, per month, Donatos knows how its customers feel, and is empowered to react to anything that might threaten a repeat purchase even before the leftovers are gone. The Payoff Donatos Pizza uses Qualistics' survey technology to measure customer satisfaction. As a result: 1. Using the hook of a free pizza for every 25th respondent, each of Donatos' 181 locations generates about 130 survey responses per month. 2. Having immediate access to customer survey data gives store managers the opportunity to call customers and resolve service or quality issues while they are still fresh in the customers' minds and can result in a positive impact. 3. Donatos is able to use the survey results for long-term promotional offers and strategic planning, as well as short-term problem resolution.
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