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Help with a upset customer - Page 2

post #16 of 50
Dear Unhappy Bride,

I am so sorry that you were unhappy with the cake you purchased for your wedding. I would be happy to discuss a possible remedy to this situation.

I realize my mistake in taking your word that the reception site was only 30 minutes away. I should have checked for myself so that I could more accurately have guaged the driving time and calculated the correct delivery fee. However, as it was your representation regarding the drive time that helped contribute to the state the cake was in, I'm afraid we both must share in the blame. I was also unaware that the reception site had no air conditioning. If you had provided me this information, I could have made necessary adjustments (freezing the cake, etc.).

Regardless, I do feel badly that your cake was not the cake of your dreams on your special day. Because of this, I would like to offer you 40% off your next purchase from me, up to a total discount of $100. In addition, I will gladly reproduce a 6" anniversary tier for you on your anniversary (with 1 week notice). I take pride in my work, and I do appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

"Cerobs"

************

Personally, I'd rather give her an even larger discount (since you share in the blame) than have her badmouth me all over town. If this had happened to me, I'd probably do at least 50-60% off. But my prices are probably higher than a lot of people and that would still more than cover my expenses.
Plank.
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Plank.
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post #17 of 50
cerobs, every decorator charges differently for delivery....but this is what I do: Wedding or tiered cakes must be delivered by me (no pick-ups!) since I don't want to fix the cake the customer shoved into his trunk and damaged because he drove crazy. Wedding/tiered cake delivery is figured per mile (based on round-trip) and I charge 45 cents a mile. Hope this helps you!
Chocolate is my drug of choice....
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Chocolate is my drug of choice....
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post #18 of 50
I am sorry this has happened to you, but I, too, am a little confused.

Did you explain to her that this was only your 2nd wedding cake? Was she aware that you may not yet have the skills to provide her with something rather difficult for a beginner?

Whe she told you were the venue was, were you familiar with roughly how far away it is from your home? If you relied on her for directions ("it's only 30 minutes away"), you are stuck with the tiny delivery fee in my opinion.

As for the colors not being close to the photo she provided at order, did you explain to her that you could not guarantee those exact colors? Did she provide you with a fabric swatch or piece of ribbon so you could try to match the color closely?

There are an awful lot of variables here to deal with. I'm not convinced she is owed a full refund (she did get a cake, after all). Did she tell you that there was no air conditioning or refrigeration available at the location? If not, she cannot expect you to be aware of the situation ahead of time. However, you should anticipate ANY problem beforehand to avoid such a situation.

How far in advance did she place the order? Unless it was a week or so before the wedding date, I would have driven the route just to be on the safe side of knowing how long it would take me to get there.

Despite all of this, write her a very polite letter, explain that you are sorry to hear she is not happy with what she received on the day of her wedding. Offer to sit down with her and calmly discuss the differences between what your order sheet says, what was actually delivered, and what the Bride thought she was getting. If, after hearing her side calmly articulated, you feel you owe her a partial refund, you may feel it wise to offer her a 20% cash refund on her order. I wouldn't go any higher unless it was such a disaster that it could not have been served at all. (By the way, you were paid $305 according to what you say, so that would equal a $61 refund). I would not offer any more than that.

After you have made peace with this woman, sit down and calmly go over what you did (again), and realistically figure out what you can do better next time, because if you are at all talented, there will be another wedding cake to do in the future. Use this as an opportunity to refine what you do and how you deal with the public. This may have become a problem at this point in time, but you can make it help you become a better decorator and a better customer service person.

Sorry this is so long, but I know you will be able to turn this one around to help you in the future. After all, if you didn't care what she thinks, you wouldn't be asking us for help, would you?

Keep smiling,

Odessa
The Client doesn't generally understand the creative process we go through to make them a gorgeous confection ... it really IS more than "just" butter, eggs, and flour!
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The Client doesn't generally understand the creative process we go through to make them a gorgeous confection ... it really IS more than "just" butter, eggs, and flour!
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post #19 of 50
Thread Starter 
This is the email from cp

I'm writing you regarding the wedding cake and groom's cake you
delivered
for my wedding on September 22, 2007. I was very upset with the
condition
and the design of the cakes. I have never known a multi layer cake to
be
delivered already put together layered; they have always been put
together
once the cake had reached it's destination. I don't even know how to
address
the fact that they were both so melted...the weather conditions were
no
surprise event. Adding insult to injury is the fact the wedding cake
clearly did not look anything like the picture! The wedding cake was
so
disappointing there was no cake cutting/picture taking done and I feel
the
only satisfactory way of attempting to compensate the situation is to
refund my monies.
post #20 of 50
Do you have a picture of what the cake looked like when you set it up at the site?
-- Always have a Plan B. --

"Freedom is Popular" - Ron Paul

-------------------------------------------------------
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-- Always have a Plan B. --

"Freedom is Popular" - Ron Paul

-------------------------------------------------------
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post #21 of 50
Can you post a picture to show us what the cake looked like after you delivered and set it up?
While she said she had no cake-cutting picture taken, do you know which photographer she used so you can ask to see a picture of the cake if s/he has one?
Anna (105 lbs lost since June 1, 2009)
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Anna (105 lbs lost since June 1, 2009)
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post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cerobs

I have never known a multi layer cake to be delivered already put together layered; they have always been put together once the cake had reached it's destination.



icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif ?? Uh.....so? Just because SHE doesn't know anything about wedding cake delivery, doesn't make it a fact.

I recently had a bride who switched her top tier flowers to a heavy topper, then complained because the topper was crooked. I pointed out that HAD I KNOWN she was switching out the tops to a heavy one, I could have done the required engineering needed to support such a weight. She came back apologetically, saying she was not aware it would make a difference, since she doens't know anything about cakes.

My reaction? "EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!"


Quote:
Originally Posted by cerobs

I don't even know how to address the fact that they were both so melted...the weather conditions were no
surprise event.



So the fact that she had an un-air conditioned venue on a hot day and how that affected a product made with BUTTER should be no surprise to HER! What exactly did she expect you to do about a hot room in the middle of summer with no AC? icon_confused.gif

I like Brandi's letter-response.
post #23 of 50
Thread Starter 
Ladies Im new to this I just now bought a camera for picture of cake.
post #24 of 50
Sorry about your problems with this bride. I am surprised that you did not Yahoo the directions from point A to point B. Even though most directions from the internet are not completely correct, it would have given you a better idea of how far your deliver was. Just a suggestion for next time. Also air conditioning in the vehicle would have helped for melting issue. I'm in Texas and normally were two shirts when deliving because the vehicle is sooo cold, blowing the air in the vehicle so high. Maybe offer a refund with a FREE cake for her next event of her choosing, (i.e. Christmas, birthday, etc.) up to a half sheet cake size, with a time limit must be used by Feb 2008. When people feel like you are going out of your way to make them happy that is what customer service means. Sometimes I think we forget that people matter. Yes, maybe her expectations were too high and she did not explain the distance correctly and the cake was eaten (no complaints on taste), but she is the customer and cannot get that day back. Do you think the cake was looking great? I haven't heard your opinion on what the cake looked like.
People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do. "...for the tree is known and recognized and judged by its fruit." Matt 12:33
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People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do. "...for the tree is known and recognized and judged by its fruit." Matt 12:33
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post #25 of 50
This customer is trying to put the whole blame on your for things you didn't know about.

So, it is important that when you contact her back that you write yourself a note or notes discussing all these factors that were NOT addressed by her and that caused problems. As nice and calm as possible under the circumstances. I know it can be difficult.

Please let us know whatever you decide.

If you want to give her a partial refund and you feel better about it, then do it. But I don't think that she deserves a FULL refund because you had no control of the weather environment the cake was going to be in.

Good luck and please let us know how it goes. icon_smile.gif
Its always about cake!!
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Its always about cake!!
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post #26 of 50
BrandisBaked,

I love your "letter" draft. Very nicely worded, non-judgmental, diplomatic.

Are you sure you're not an Attorney by day???

Odessa
The Client doesn't generally understand the creative process we go through to make them a gorgeous confection ... it really IS more than "just" butter, eggs, and flour!
Reply
The Client doesn't generally understand the creative process we go through to make them a gorgeous confection ... it really IS more than "just" butter, eggs, and flour!
Reply
post #27 of 50
I have to say this... unless the cake was completely inedible, or destoyed (toppled over or crushed due to delivery or set-up), I would NEVER give a refund.

Word travels. And people hear that you refunded so-and-so for their cake, and they will order one from you and complain until they get their money back (when they may have nothing to complain about).

Stand your ground. They got the cake. They ate the cake. Weather conditions are an act of God, and it was her misrepresentation of the drive time that helped contribute to the problem. I would offer a large discount (or even a free cake)... which gives you another opportunity not only to please her, but to help advertise yourself. If you turn up with a gorgeous cake to her next event, you may get more customers...
Plank.
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Plank.
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post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandisBaked

I have to say this... unless the cake was completely inedible, or destoyed (toppled over or crushed due to delivery or set-up), I would NEVER give a refund.

Word travels. And people hear that you refunded so-and-so for their cake, and they will order one from you and complain until they get their money back (when they may have nothing to complain about).

Stand your ground. They got the cake. They ate the cake. Weather conditions are an act of God, and it was her misrepresentation of the drive time that helped contribute to the problem. I would offer a large discount (or even a free cake)... which gives you another opportunity not only to please her, but to help advertise yourself. If you turn up with a gorgeous cake to her next event, you may get more customers...



I couldn't agree with this more
post #29 of 50
I like Brandi's letter. I think you should send a similar one to your unhappy bride.

I think lessons can be learned from this though.
1) Always check directions for yourself. Before quoting a delivery charge Yahoo the distance, map it. etc.
2) No matter how silly the questions may seem always ask specific questions that could affect your cake
Example=is the delivery site air-conditioned?
3) If the color the customer wants isn't a basic color you've done before make test batchs several weeks in advance to make sure you can come up w/ the exact color she wants. If you can't call her ASAP and be honest w/ her. Tell her you can do a similar color or she can choose a different color. Anytime you deliver a cake that isnt the color and design the customer ordered its your fault.

Additional tips to learn from reading other people's replies.
1)  if the customer changes something last minute tell her there may be a chance of it not working or complimenting the cake as the original plans did. If it's something like a topper tell her you must have the topper before you bake decorate the cake so that you can see for yourself if it will be too heavy, big etc. Don't ever agree to change a topper after design & setup because you may not have made a sturdy enough cake for that topper. Know what I mean?
2) Wedding cakes are ESPECIALLY important so if you dont think you can do whats being asked of you dont do it!

p.s. always take a picture of your cake after you get it set-up at it's location!
I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.
Philippians 4:13 KJV
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I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.
Philippians 4:13 KJV
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post #30 of 50
I agree with BrandisBaked and I thought her letter very appropriate. Also, in addition to taking that pic prior to leaving the venue, I have an "act of God" clause in the contract.

Karen

cake website:
http://khmcakes.com
 

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Karen

cake website:
http://khmcakes.com
 

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