Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Refunding Deposit, HELP!!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Refunding Deposit, HELP!! - Page 4  

post #46 of 413
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davwattie

Quote:
Originally Posted by WykdGud

*GROAN*

It was a JOKE! I was mocking the sense of entitlement...



Well I thought it was funny icon_lol.gif



I thought it was funny too! Totally got it; some people have no sense of humor. They think this is all serious business: "nothin but the facts Ma'am". I guess we should be carefull, we might get the post pulled. ouch!
Major life events require sugar.
Major life events require sugar.
post #47 of 413
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davwattie

Quote:
Originally Posted by WykdGud

*GROAN*

It was a JOKE! I was mocking the sense of entitlement...



Well I thought it was funny icon_lol.gif



I thought it was funny too! Totally got it; some people have no sense of humor. They think this is all serious business: "nothin but the facts Ma'am". I guess we should be carefull, we might get the post pulled. ouch!
Major life events require sugar.
Major life events require sugar.
post #48 of 413
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

Believe it or not SCP...this will be a non-issue in a few weeks. Most people don't spend their days thinking about the next cake they're going to buy. We think of it because we're in the cake biz. Most people really don't care until they need one. If they are friends with the PIA people, then they are probably of the same ilk so who needs or wants their business?


It used to be true that information about local businesses stayed within certain circles, but with the advent of ubiquitous social media bad reviews can spread very quickly and can be visible to everyone looking for information about the business.

I don't think anyone is advocating a fear-based approach to doing business, but it is true that one pissed off customer can do a lot of damage to a firm's reputation, and not just within that customer's circle. And for an important purchase like a wedding cake, most brides will do a significant amount of research on their vendors before they buy -- if there is a lot of competition in your area a single bad review might be enough to knock you out of contention.
post #49 of 413
In this particular case the OP is damned if she does, damned if she doesn't. She doesn't refund the money they are going to complain (even though they knew the policy and by signing the contract, agreed to it). She refunds the deposit and they are still going to bad mouth her for that one disaster. Plus she setting herself up for other members of this group to complain and then get their money.

I feel her email is was completely professional and appropriate.

I also think it would be a good idea to send a letter to the head of the group telling him/her that they need to find another baker for their organization.
Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
post #50 of 413
Carmijok, I am sorry, but your statement is inconsistent with all marketing and PR proven and measured data. Many people read this site and it would be wrong not to refute your statement. I would suggest to anyone who is serious about their business to research this subject (as I have done extensively).

This is not fear... it's damage control. In the past, businesses spent thousands advertising in traditional media... print, radio, and TV. Now it is about maintaining your reputation in a one-on-one atmosphere, making the most of every encounter, whether it be in person, on the net, phone, etc. This means of promotion is less money, but requires finesse in PR.

KalisCakes, since we are on the same page... here is what I would do. Cancel the order with the most gracious note, understanding their concern, and leaving open the possibility of earning their trust in the future. I would then send a smll cake or cupcakes to the offices of each bride... the original and the canceled. This would allow them to share your story and to see first hand that you are committed to customer satisfaction. Also, 24 people at each place will have the opportunity to see and taste your work... total damage control.

THEN BE BOOKED EVERY TIME THEY CALL until you feel comfortable with them.

I have customers who are the backbone of my business... the people who spend money, have friends with money, and tell everyone how great my cakes (etc.) are. These people and their friends get very special treatment. Today, small businesses who want to grow, understand the power of word-of-mouth. It can cause your business to grow or bring you to your knees. To equate an expensive, non-necessity, luxury purchase, custom cake with a fast food experience does no good to promote and share solid business advice... which is what this particular forum is about.
post #51 of 413
Carmijok and scp are right - to a certain point. Yes, this will be a non-issue at some point in time, but not necessary in a few weeks. But it will not be brought up every time cake decorators are mentioned for years to come.

Advertisng and PR is not based in social networking - FB, Twitter, etc... It is on those social networking sites that reputations are built and destroyed. It is on those sites that the one-on-one encounters are relived.

Damage control - yes. Kissing a donkey's behind - no. There is a fine line between the two and ONLY a business owner knows what that line is for themselves. NO ONE else can tell them.

As far as the cupcakes - you are assuming they would accept them and NOT badmouth them. From the looks of it, these customers are not those people. Kaliscakes, has made it clear that she does not care about losing this group of customers.
Cake decorating ROCKS!!
Cake decorating ROCKS!!
post #52 of 413
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccr03

But it will not be brought up every time cake decorators are mentioned for years to come.


If a review is posted on an independent review site or even on a blog that includes the business name, it absolutely will come up when potential customers search for the business in question, even years later.
post #53 of 413
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccr03

But it will not be brought up every time cake decorators are mentioned for years to come.


If a review is posted on an independent review site or even on a blog that includes the business name, it absolutely will come up when potential customers search for the business in question, even years later.

My sister has been married for over 30 years and they STILL talk about how crappy her cake tasted. Yeah, they even remember the name of the person who made the cake, who has LONG since retired.
post #54 of 413
I don't care what anyone else does - but I REFUSE to be blackmailed into altering my business practices under threat of a negative review. If I give in to one person, it will set a precedent. Personally, I think giving out unwarranted refunds and discounts will impact my bottom line much more than any possible negative online reviews can.

I believe in bending over backwards for my customers, but a line has to be drawn somewhere and those lines are clearly spelled out on my website and in the contract the client signs. If someone lies online about their experience with my business, it's libel and I can sue for it.
post #55 of 413
Quote:
Originally Posted by WykdGud

I don't care what anyone else does - but I REFUSE to be blackmailed into altering my business practices under threat of a negative review. If I give in to one person, it will set a precedent. Personally, I think giving out unwarranted refunds and discounts will impact my bottom line much more than any possible negative online reviews can.

I believe in bending over backwards for my customers, but a line has to be drawn somewhere and those lines are clearly spelled out on my website and in the contract the client signs. If someone lies online about their experience with my business, it's libel and I can sue for it.



I agree with this...Social networking works both ways/ It's not like you don't have a reputation online already, if you do use facebook and twitter. If someone posted a bad review of me I have a squadron of satisfied customers who I could call on to go in and post good reviews, or counter that person's claims. Even on sites like the Knot, which tends to attract bargain-hunters who are quick to post complaints, other brides will counter the bad remarks with their own experiences.

Now, if you have ninety bad reviews and they all complain about the same thing, that's something that maybe you should look at. But if it's one person who squawks, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Depends if the complaint is warranted or not. Most people who see only good reviews are suspicious of that, too. One bad one won't kill you, people know that you can't please everyone, and all good reviews are unrealistic.

Some people look at bad reviews as a way to demonstrate your customer service online. I personally will have bad reviews that are blackmail-y type taken down, but if it's something warranted then I'd address it publicly online.
post #56 of 413
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Carmijok, I am sorry, but your statement is inconsistent with all marketing and PR proven and measured data. Many people read this site and it would be wrong not to refute your statement. I would suggest to anyone who is serious about their business to research this subject (as I have done extensively).

This is not fear... it's damage control.



Before I retired a few years ago, I spent 30 years as a PR, advertising and marketing director in various media, and then eventually owned my own advertising agency. I have also kept up with how social media works and its impact and uses in marketing. I appreciate your 'extensive research', but I do have a tiny bit of real life experience in the subject as both an adviser and a business owner.
Bottom line is this...you will never please everyone. Period.
You also will have customers that are 'snake-bit'...that is, for some reason everything you do for them, something always goes wrong whether it's your fault or not. You can do what you can do to make sure every customer is satisfied but at some point someone won't be.
Spending time, energy, money and sleepless nights on those individuals...no matter how mouthy they are...will not help you in their eyes no matter what you do.

Damage control consists of taking responsibility for your actions, making the necessary amends to the customer if there was negligence on your part, and moving forward.
It is NOT changing your business practices or policies to appease individuals who have no complaint other than they want their deposit back because of an accident with a completely different client! That is running your business from fear. Regardless of what the OP does, those people will still say bad things, still get on Facebook and tell everyone how they got their deposit back --which will open up a whole other can of worms! She wants to rid herself of these people! They are toxic...let them go. She does not need to kiss their respective rears in the process.

The good news is that most people have short attention spans and by moving forward and providing an excellent product and customer service to all your existing and NEW clients, then the negative 'press' as it were, will dissipate. As I mentioned earlier, most people aren't thinking about cake 24 hours a day like we are. You have to step back and look objectively at a situation and see it from the ordinary person who just wants a birthday cake for her 4 year old. She probably isn't friends with with the PIA people and doesn't get Facebook comments from them.
Any posted bad reviews can be mitigated by the posting of other positive reviews as well as an explanation from the OP if absolutely necessary.

I worked at a bakery a couple of years ago for fun (where I got the caking bug) and they had a customer who called said our cakeballs weren't cooked. Really? Since we made them from crushed cake I tried to tell her that was impossible. She then came and demanded her money back. We gave it. We even offered to give her another batch or a big discount on a cake and she refused. Despite our attempts at making things right, she went online and wrote not one but several scathing reviews at different websites on our bad business, our awful cakeballs and service. So much for bending over backwards. Did it hurt the business? No. Their cakeballs continued to be their top seller.
It's cake, not a nuclear reactor exploding. The OP's done all she can do and she is better off without them--with their deposit, and her professionalism intact. Life and cake goes on.

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

post #57 of 413
A business being linked to their own reviews is different from this one bad experience being brought up everytime bakeries are mentioned are slightly different, how scp stated. Also, regardless of how many years pass, if the overwhleming reviews are positive, one negative reveiw will hardly affect the business.

I've had slips in the past, made it right and still get tons of business this the group of friends/family. They come back because I have a good, quality product.
Cake decorating ROCKS!!
Cake decorating ROCKS!!
post #58 of 413
Those of you who do not think th impact of the social media is powerful need to get some facts. Not from me, but it would be prudent for you to study this issue. Many CEO's have said the same thing an have had their business suffer severe damage because they were not proactive concerning customer complaints. Look at the famous cases of Dell and Comcast. One person's complaint has created a fallout that can never be repaired.

Those of you who ignore this and think you are invincible are most vulnerable. The power of social media is in its infancy and is already a driving force in the market. It doesn't disappear because you don't want it be a factor.

Jason is right... reputations are made and ruined easily by word-og-mouth. People do check reputations and those bad reviews are cached forever.

And I'm sorry to disagree, but this new form of media is your advertising... the part you have no control over. Today, unless you are a national brand, it is the most powerful form of advertising you have I really don't care who agrees. Proven facts aren't up to debate. You can choose to study and understand it, or you can choose to do what many businesses still do and reject it. And the more businesses in this industry who choose to stick their heads in the sand, the more business opportunity there will be for others to embrace this powerful marketing tool.

How can it be that I am a new business and I hear daily how people were not happy about their last cakes. Too dry, taste was just ok, tasted like a grocery store cake, nobody ate it but it was our only option... I may be talking to someone who has never tried my products, but they volunteer their comments. I understand that there are many people who put out a great product and people love your work. But be realistic... many of you are who these people are talking about. I am being general.

Damage control is not fear... it is one of the best opportunities you have to turn around a potentially bad situation and use it for your own good.

Argue if you want, but facts are facts.
post #59 of 413
I have two different Facebook accounts. One for networking, and a personal one as well. I can honestly say that on my personal (non-cake) account, I have NEVER seen ANYONE post about any cake they may have bought or eaten. So while it MAY happen, I think the risk is minimal and I am not going to let Twitter dictate how I operate my business. But that's just me.

Also, the implication that those of us who aren't intimidated by social media are ignorant is very demeaning.
post #60 of 413
I see people post on FB about cakes they've ordered all the time, usually if there was a very good experience or a very bad experience. The real concern is independent review sites like Yelp.com -- they are great for generating positive buzz, but if you mess up you'd better do everything you can to address the issue. When I look at online reviews (for businesses, products, etc.) I usually check out the negative reviews first (even if the reviews are mostly positive), in most cases it is clear from the review whether the customer or the vendor is at fault.

Luckily these sites usually allow the business to respond to reviews so you can at least post your side of the story, but if you are not respectful in your replies that can lead to further damage to your reputation -- on more than one occasion I have decided not to patronize a business because of the way they responded to negative reviews on Yelp.

Obviously you can't guarantee that every customer will be happy 100% of the time, I'm just saying it's dangerous to write off a PITA customer thinking that the damage to your reputation will be limited to the customer's circle of friends. It won't.

And there's no need to be intimidated or alter your business practices either, if a deposit is nonrefundable you should hold the line and not refund it, but do so in a tactful manner under the assumption that the customer will order from you again in the future (even if you think they won't).
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cake Decorating Business
This thread is locked  
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Refunding Deposit, HELP!!