How to Order Pizza in India: a Rant [en]

[fr] 45 minutes au téléphone (et 5 appels différents) pour commander une pizza. Mais j'ai réussi!

This is a little rant while I wait for said pizza to arrive. Yes, I actually did manage to order pizza. Here’s how I did it.

Called Domino’s Pizza main customer service line, told them where I was (IUCAA, near Khadki-Aundh Road), and was transferred to Aundh branch, where I was promptly told delivery was not possible and that DP Road branch would deliver to me.

I took down DP Road’s branch number, called them, and was told that Aundh branch was the correct branch to call for my address (this required me to be transferred to somebody who spoke English I could more or less understand — I hate doing stuff by phone in India). I told them the Aundh branch had sent me to them, but was told to call them and that they would deliver to me.

I took down the Aundh branch number and called them again. The service rep’s English was minimal (he quickly told me delivery was not possible, but I insisted, and told them I had already had pizzas delivered here — true, ate a lot when I lived here with Aleika) so I ended putting Nisha’s niece on the line to improve communication (Hindi/Marathi). After a long conversation, the conclusion was that they would not deliver because the pizza would be cold.

Enter Twitter: should I expect to be able to get delivery? Well, yes, here’s the closest branch: SB Road.

So, I gather my courage and call the general customer service number (which I’m starting to know by heart) again. (Side-note to readers: the pizza has arrived and I have eaten it since starting to write this post — I’m feeling less ranty and more proud of myself. A full stomach will do that.)

I am told that SB Road branch does not exist or is not in the system. Will DP Road do? No, DP road will not do. I explain what I’ve already been through, and that I would like to know which branch to call to get a delivery, and that I suspect it might be SB Road. No, no, it doesn’t exist. Again, as I’m having a lot of trouble understanding the CSR on the line (not just their fault — my Indian English is not 100% and I’m particularly bad with accents on the phone), I put Nisha’s niece on the line.

It doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere really interesting, and looking at the website again I see the direct number for the branch is provided. We hang up, I take a deep breath, and I call again. This time, I am not told that delivery is impossible. My order goes smoothly — understand: it takes me about 10 minutes to give my address. The street name is Akashganga. OK, Akashganga. What is the street name? Er… Akashganga. In IUCAA. So, IUCAA ### (flat number). No, Akashganga. In IUCAA. IUCAA is the housing complex. So, Akashganga, IUCAA, near what landmark? Er… IUCAA, the astrophysics department. Near the University Campus back gate. So, Akashganga, IUCAA, near physics department. No, near the back gate. (10 good minutes of that. I’m patient. I explain everything in detail. I double-check they have my number right. I explain there are security guards who can direct the delivery boy. I say again it’s right at the back of the University campus.)

I give my order. This is about 45 minutes after my first call to Domino’s Pizza. What’s wrong with this picture?

But everything seems fine. I put down the phone, take a deep breath, and go and take a quick bath to wash of a full day’s roaming in the polluted city (a lot of it on foot, including beggar kids grabbing me and wiping their hands all over my clothes — worse begging in the space of 5 minutes near the top of Jangli Maharaj Road than I had in months when I was living here).

Totally surprisingly (I have to say), the pizza arrives reasonably quickly, still warm, and without the delivery guy having to call us. If only ordering had been so simple.

(OK, next time I’m ordering online. I was put off by the fact they required an Indian number, but thinking of it now, I could have provided the landline to where I’m staying — which I did on the phone anyway. Oh well. One learns.)

Basically, once I was on the line with the right branch, I was pretty much OK. But the service provided before that was disastrous: pillar to post, and nobody able to send me to the right place or provide me more useful information than “not possible”. Twitter provided better customer service than Domino’s, in this case. Thanks again, Sahil.