How My Local Pizza Place Is Taking Customer Engagement To The Next Level

It’s 2018. Is a text back and pizza too much to ask?


Credit unions are responding to online reviews, posting content on social media, and engaging on different provider sites. But are they texting back?

Last week, I was eating at a DC-area pizza chain, &Pizza, when I saw it: A sign on the napkin dispenser that says “We Text Back” with a local phone number.

It doesn’t say “With questions or concerns call or text …” It simply says, “We text back.”



Just because the napkin dispenser says it doesn't make it true.

Having worked in marketing as well as communications, I was curious. So, I texted the number. I expected an automated message from the corporate headquarters saying something along the lines of “Thank you for reaching out, blah blah blah.” Instead, I saw how &Pizza is engaging customers through a designated hotline to which customers can text for any reason. I was surprised to get a text back quickly from an actual person with a sense of humor. The well-crafted responses were, dare I say, saucy. (See screenshot of conversation below).

&Pizza really does text back.

My honest intentions with texting &Pizza were two-fold:

  • Confirm &Pizza would truly text back.
  • Figure out if there was a catch.

Our conversation was short and friendly — with no strings attached. But this simple action and conversation with an &Pizza employee got me thinking: What does this mean for the marketing and digital worlds? Why don’t more companies do this?

There are many companies who are still reluctant to engage with clients or customers online — whether that be through social media or online reviews, let alone via text (my preferred form of communication) — but why? The idea of texting customer service is brilliant given that many young adults use their phones for banking, social media, and general communications anyway.

According to BrightLocal, 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, and 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. A more granular stat shows that 32% of consumers read local reviews on mobile apps in 2017 — a growth of 14 percentage points from 2016.

This is where &Pizza’s texting strategy hits its target — consumers who are on their phones and looking for recommendations for places to go. When they have questions, comments, or concerns, where are they likely to turn? The device already in their hand. The businesses that are hesitant to take control of their mobile and online presence are missing a major opportunity to engage and falling behind companies like &Pizza.

This excursion offered my ideal customer experience in 2018. I was able to get a great pizza and have a friendly conversation via text with a brand representative. With that being said, if I ever have any issues with my &Pizza experience — which I won’t because I’m a millennial and we don’t complain to customer service — I’ll know exactly where to go.

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Sept. 19, 2018


  • Love to see the creativity of today's businesses; I wish more would elevate to this personal touch level. Thanks for sharing!
  • I agree -- thank you for reading!
    Deeba Izadpanah
  • So, as a millennial who do you complain to, if it isn't customer service? YELP or someone higher up the food chain at corporate? Interested Boomer
  • Thank you for your question! If I feel strongly enough about a situation to complain (which actually happened recently with a dog walking app I use) I take to social media. Especially Facebook as they have completely revamped their reviewing system and make it much easier for people to give feedback.
    Deeba Izadpanah