Failed Customer Service Humor: Case Study from Foodpanda

After a 1 hour delay of my food, Foodpanda said “Yogurt-a be kidding me!” and made sure I know that today is “Banana Split Day”.

Everyone in the business world knows that customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition. Some say it could cost up to 7 times more to get a new customer than to retain one. This is why every business needs a good customer relationship management process. Customer service definitely is one of the most crucial factors in that process. Many brands try to use more humor in their service to create friendly and enjoyable customer experiences, but that strategy doesn’t always work. I’d like to share with you a case where humor just adds fuel to the fire and could turn in to a disaster.

Foodpanda — jokes of the day

Maybe the wrong place but definitely the wrong time for humor

But today is one of those times when my food was delayed without any explanation, my driver was driving around town for some reason, and then he said the order was “delivered,” leaving me to wonder where and how? My only option was to turn to the Foodpanda service team.

Like any standard customer service experience, he started by sending a template message introducing himself and asked how he can help. I explained the situation. As you can see in the screenshot below, the driver keeps driving further and further away AFTER he passed my condo. So he picked up the food, kept driving, passed my area, and kept driving in another direction. This is after an hour of waiting.

How Foodpanda deals with the delay

“Yogurt-a be kidding me!” that your food is delayed.

My conversation with Foodpanda Support

He didn’t wait too long to throw in his first joke. The message only came after he casually mentioned that he is a “human being,” just like any other human customer support would say (?).

After a few minutes, he also reminded me that today is “Banana Split Day” and that I should “have a banana split off” with my loved ones. Even though I had no idea what was going on with my food, at least I now know how special today is.

You probably can imagine how thrilled I was after waiting for an hour for my food, during my busy day, to learn about Banana Split Day. Hangry is no joke.

After he said a few more things, the conversation disconnected, so I needed to start again with another support rep. The next 2 conversations with 2 different agents disconnected before they can throw in any joke or fix my problem.

Obvious issues from only a single order

Contactless delivery option

  • If you use this feature once (and it’s a default option), the text will stay in your driver’s note forever unless you edit your address information and remove it. You cannot just toggle the option off and remove that text.
  • The contactless text goes in front of other notes you have for the driver. Your most important information, such as a condo name, could be at the end of the long text without being seen.
  • I don’t know the general policy, but my driver didn’t call me. He didn’t answer my chat message and ended up leaving the food at my lobby after an hour.
  • There’s no option to call a driver.
4 steps just to turn of the contactless delivery option

How to make it better?

This is an easy problem to fix. Just make sure every driver calls to confirm a location, as they suggested in the message. Or in case of an issue like this, having a driver’s phone number or an in-app call like Grab would have been helpful. I’d have figured it out without contacting the support.

Lack of empathy in customer support

Most of the time, customers only seek support when necessary. If they don’t have a problem, why would they waste time going through a long waiting queue to talk to strangers?

Just to realize that someone thought a hungry person who has an issue with their food needs to hear pun, jokes, or fun facts is beyond me. I don’t know why. My friends don’t know why. Do you maybe know why?

How to make it better?

If Foodpanda had taken a second to put themselves in customers’ shoes and planned their support with some empathy, I’m 100% sure I’d never find out that today is banana split day. However, I might have found out where my food was a bit faster.

Even AI chat has more empathy talking to people than Foodpanda “human being support” these days.

Customer service is a stressful job. Most of the time, you are helping potentially frustrated and angry people with issues, hoping you can fix them. But difficulties happen, and solving people’s problems with empathy is key to retaining your customers and creating brand loyalty. A good customer service process will also help improve your service team’s happiness and reduce your employee’s churn rate.

Every company, especially Foodpanda, can do a much better job to make both their customer service team and customers have a pleasant day. Having a better system that doesn’t disconnect every 3 minutes, providing an option for a customer to contact a driver directly, or maybe just start by getting rid of the jokes and actually fix the customer issue would be perfect.

Have you had any issues with customer service before? Maybe lousy timed jokes? Feel free to share — I’d love to see them!

Oh btw, happy Banana Split Day! 🍌🍌

Foodie. Product Owner. Writer. Digital Nomad. https://chalakornberg.com/

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