Our suicide mission: how we’ve cut off the landline

“You could just as well take all your money, go straight to a casino and bet everything on numbers in the red—the chances to succeed would be the same.” That’s what we heard from one of our competitors recently. Some of them believe that the Dodo Pizza team is on a suicide mission in Oxford since we’re cutting off our phone line.

Yes, no calls, please. If you fancy a pizza from Dodo (which is opening in February), there will be only one option—go online and place an order on our website (if you want a pizza delivered to your home or office).

We can’t be one hundred percent sure that the ominous predictions are entirely wrong. After all, we know that our competitors receive around fifty percent of their orders via phone (during rush hours, that number can go all the way up to eighty). We’re aware of that, but we don’t feel like Dodo Pizza has a choice here.

You’ve probably learned our motto by heart by now—we’ve set a goal to improve the quality of our pizza and to keep our prices moderate at the same time. And to accomplish that, we need to get rid of everything that can be ruled out. So we decided to dump our good old friend the call center.

Despite our long-lasting and warm relationship, getting rid of the phone was the first and most obvious choice, because it costs a lot. If you get hundreds of orders a day, you’ll have to hire people who will be answering the phone from dawn to dusk. And you’ll need to find them a place in the pizzeria. So you’ll be spending money on salaries and square meters. And there would still be the possibility that they won’t be taking orders fast enough during rush hours.

Photo: Lee Royal

By cutting off the phone line, we can save thousands of dollars a month and exclude any possibility of missing an order because of a busy line. It’s technology from the 20th century, and here in the 21st, we’ve got a cool new thing called the Internet. When you jump a century forward, there should be some progress, right? It doesn’t matter what device you use—a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Making an order online is meant to be easier and faster than dialing a number, listening to a hold tune, and then listing off your order while trying hard not to forget anything.

We have to admit that this is not always the case in reality. For example, it takes around fifteen clicks to order two pizzas and a soda online. We know, because we went on one of our competitor’s websites  (a very respected and successful pizza chain) and counted every movement we were making with the mouse.

It goes like this. You land on a promo page. Click on the menu and view the pizza section. Since there are more than twenty recipes available, it’s a long one. So you have to scroll down. At last, click on a pizza you like, then click again to add the recipe of your choice to the cart.

And here, suddenly, you see a promo page. Bang! No, I don’t want these garlic knots. I want one more pizza! So you scroll down. Click on the pizza section again. Scroll down. Click on a pizza. Click on the size menu if you want your pizza to be medium-sized. Choose on a size. Click again to add it to the cart—and come face to face with another promo, of course.

After you repeat the sequence to get your soda, you’ll proceed to the home stretch. Click on your cart. Click to check out. Fill out the form with your address. Click to review. Finally, click to actually make an order. At last! Thank god, we reached the finish line.

Along the way we visited ten pages and saw a few pop-up windows—just to get two pizzas. I guess it’s no wonder why everyone calls.

Which begs the question: is it possible to simplify things a little bit?

The Dodo Pizza team took this question very seriously. After we had decided to cut off the landline, it was clear that our website would be the only way to get orders from our clients. So we wanted it to be child’s play for Dodo Pizza customers. It definitely had to beat the phone in the eyes of every person who believed that it’s always better just to call.

We coined it like that. If you’re one of our loyal customers, you should be able to place an order just in two taps on your smartphone—in the time it takes to walk from your car to your apartment (even if you live on the first floor).

When we got cracking on this project a few months ago, we weren’t even sure if it was doable. After all, these people from big pizza chains are very smart. If they’ve built their sites this way, there’re probably some grounds for it. Maybe you just can’t do it another way. Maybe there are some obstacles you can’t overcome—for technical or business reasons.

Maybe, maybe, maybe…. At some point, we decided to stop pondering and start trying. And now, after half a year, we’re ready to show off the result of all these efforts.

In the next post, we’ll lay our cards on the table. We’ll describe our process step by step, share all the drafts of our website, and present its final version as well. And you’ll be able to draw your own conclusions and decide if we’ve succeeded or failed in our suicide mission to make online ordering as easy as pie. Subscribe here or like our Facebook page if you don’t want to miss it.