Domino’s Pizza recently acknowledged what too many of their customers having been telling them with their wallets: Their pizza sucks. Well, to be precise the comments were about the crust tasting like cardboard and the sauce like Ketchup. (Though I think that may have been an insult to Ketchup.) They have set about working to improve their pizza and have produced a 4 minute YouTube video on the subject.
Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and his new book, Getting Naked, wrote an article about “The Power of Saying ‘We Blew It’” in the February 22 issue of Business Week where he used Dominos and this commercial as an example of the power of corporate vulnerability. I think Patrick is right and honest vulnerability works. Just look at how accepting we are of people who apologize with apparent sincerity.
However, my take on this commercial and the whole situation is a bit different. (If it weren’t, who’d need to read our blog.) Pizza that customers think tastes like crap is not a new problem for Dominos. In fact, founder Tom Monaghan’s original vision for Domino’s was “better tasting pizza.” During an initial growth spurt he found that customers felt the pizza “tasted like cardboard” and worse. He had to step back and fix it.
All well and good. And when you are as big as Dominos you might be able to ignore customers for a long time and not be put out of business (though we all see that General Motors pushed that too far). The key for you is to remember to be customer-centric, customer-focused or outside-in (any of those terms are ok with me). Think like your customer, don’t hope the customer thinks like you.