The Dominos Effect: Own your shortcomings and they’re yours.

If you know anything about me, it’s that I love pizza. Pizza was such a priority when we lived in Japan, we bought an oven specifically so we could make pizza. The pizza there was expensive, and not awesome.

I love pizza. Yet, until recently I wouldn’t have eaten a Dominos pizza. Ever. I would make my own before I would get one of those. They were horrible. I was a pizza snob. Until recently. I tried it again and it seems they’ve made improvements. The crust is better, the sauce is better.

What they changed: They listened to customers. I learned about this listening to Tom Shapiro’s talk on “Using Neuroscience to Optimize Customer Acquisition,” and I had to read more about it.

In 2009, they ran a commercial showing the negative feedback they got in their ad. Their stand-out feature– delivery in 30 mins– wasn’t remarkable anymore.

In “Dominos Pizza Turnaround” the CEO says, “There comes a time when you know you’ve got to make a change.” The feedback they show from customers is cringeworthy stuff. In grainy video, you can see customers complaining about the bad quality.

And then you see the staff respond.

They used the negative comments to get excited about making improvements. “We want people to love our pizza.” After they made improvements, they got to come back and say: Yeah! People said our crust tastes like cardboard! Now we’re fixing it! It’s a great story.

And now I want pizza. (Actually after drafting this we ordered Dominos. I got a Dominos pizza with a little bottle of chili oil, and rocket to put on top from their Italiano range.)

Own your shortcomings and they’re yours

My friend and I discovered this saying by mishearing or misinterpreting another common adage. 80’s feel good author Richard Bach said “Argue for your limitations, and they’re yours.”

What I heard was “Own your shortcomings” as in know your shortcomings, and be master of them. And “They’re yours” meant to me, no one can use them against you.

I think that can be applied here. Products or services can always make improvements.

Listen to customers, be upfront about the shortcomings, and show where you’re making improvements. After you make improvements you can show the new positive feedback.

It takes some bravery though to own your shortcomings. But if you don’t, your competition will.