You might think that Papa John’s Pizza’s goal of having “the best ingredients for every occasion” is just about pizza. But one customer may just tell you that Papa John’s can do more than just deliver a hot pizza – it can deliver peace of mind too.
Eric Olsen of Omaha, Nebraska became desperate when he couldn’t get in touch with his grandmother living in Palm Coast, Florida during the chaos of Hurricane Matthew.
The distance separating the two is almost 1,400 miles and about 20 hours. Olsen tried to reach his grandmother for two days. According to a post on his personal Facebook page, he even involved local police and the sheriff’s department with no success. In his desperation, Olsen reached out to “the only other people [he] could think of… Papa John’s Pizza.”
It’s doubtful that at the time of his call Olsen had any idea that Papa John’s had over 3,400 locations in North America. It’s even more unlikely that he knew Papa John’s had been rated number one in customer satisfaction according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index 2016. He probably only knew that Papa John’s had never let him down before and that anything was worth a try.
Within 30 minutes of reaching out to Papa John’s with a pizza order and special instructions to put his grandmother on the phone at the time of delivery, Olsen was on the phone with his grandmother Claire Olsen and had received the peace of mind he needed.
While it’s unlikely Papa John’s will ever provide customers with anything but pizza and food, the chain has already been transforming its brand. “Being all-in also means being there in times of need,” its website claims. Papa John’s has donated “more than $1 million toward disaster recovery and relief” since 2012.
It wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see Papa John’s capitalizing on its relief efforts and this experience in particular, but the pizza chain appears as humble as ever by only mentioning the extraordinary delivery with one subtle Tweet.
A slice of strategy for Papa John’s PR
Perhaps choosing to remain humble about this incident is a strategy in itself. The general public is usually quite keen to recognizing paid customer success stories. But is Papa John’s missing out on a genuine opportunity by not pursuing this particular story?
Papa John’s could use this story to propel its brand image in these three ways:
- Let the story do the talking
Olsen is the true mastermind of this particular use of Papa John’s Pizza’s delivery service. If Papa John’s relied on Olsen’s ingenuity to grab people’s attention, Papa John’s’ part of the story would speak for itself.
- Celebrate customers’ successes
While many viewers hold negative perceptions about commercials featuring the classic “paid actor, real results” disclaimer, customer success stories are still influential. Don’t be afraid to flaunt genuinely exceptional examples of customer success. Be proud of your customers!
- Make it natural
You don’t have to make a commercial to show off your customers’ successes. The single Tweet Papa John’s sent out introduced the story in a non-obtrusive way. A few more Tweets, a Facebook or Instagram post and a short YouTube clip would bring enough attention to the story without seeming too pushy.
Taking an amazing story and making the most of it isn’t a bad thing – it’s earned public relations!