Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Streamlining the cake ordering process?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Streamlining the cake ordering process? - Page 2

post #16 of 36
I try to minimize ping pong in email because it makes pre-screening take a lot more time then it needs to. If someone starts getting very complicated in the request, if I sense they have no idea what they are asking for, if they have no concept of pricing or pricing will be complicated, or if I start typing a response that is more then a few sentences I just email them back asking for a phone number to have a phone consult. You can wrap up in a 5 minute conversation what could take you an hour in trying to choose your words in email that the client may or may not even read and if they do read it they may or may not understand what you are saying. Or even worse they inflect tone in your email that they may not like and you never hear from them again.

I live in a pretty educated, affluent, tech savvy area, I have pricing and all kinds of info on my website, and daily it astounds me how many people don't read it. Heck, I can't believe how many people don't even look at my photo gallery when they call.

Anyway, my advice is to try and do phone consults, then follow up with an email containing what you talked about. And if you start getting overwhelmed with stopping your workday doing phone consults, set aside some time between X-X every day and let people know that's when you will call them.

Glad to hear your business is taking off!
post #17 of 36
Thread Starter 
I hate phone consults but I can see how they would be valuable, even though I'd probably prefer to send the final quote via email for documentation, and also to be able to have time to reasonably price out the quote.

And yep....people don't read...that is for SURE. It drives me NUTS.
post #18 of 36
Oh, and I never quote over the phone either. I won't even quote at consultations. I try and do numbers via email so I can be as specific as possible and have all the "subject to change" disclaimers.
post #19 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

Oh, and I never quote over the phone either. I won't even quote at consultations. I try and do numbers via email so I can be as specific as possible and have all the "subject to change" disclaimers.



Oh okay. You do give ballpark figures, though, right? So they know when they leave that they can "probably" afford the cake?
post #20 of 36
all of the above, what you are talking about, is why i stopped taking orders! it is way too stressfull now days and everyone is trying to "low ball" baker's quotes because they see so much of it on tv and that's what media tells them to do (weddings mostly) I just wanted to say that i feel your pain icon_sad.gif it makes me sad that I had to stop creating for this very reason. just for fun, family and friends now when i can icon_smile.gif
It's not "just" cake...it's my life!
WI State Representative for Icing Smiles...start 'Baking a Difference" today!
Reply
It's not "just" cake...it's my life!
WI State Representative for Icing Smiles...start 'Baking a Difference" today!
Reply
post #21 of 36
For simpler orders email alone is usually sufficient, but if a cake is more complicated we also typically use a combination of email and phone consults. Depending on what the customer is asking for we may give ballpark prices on the phone but we usually say we will get back to them (also by email so it's in writing) with a final quote. In-person consults are a huge time drain so we try to avoid them whenever possible.

I've found that adding information directly to the online contact form (right next to the fields they need to fill out) and not listing your email address will force customers to use the contact form and has helped them include the necessary order info in their first communication.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

Oh, and I never quote over the phone either. I won't even quote at consultations. I try and do numbers via email so I can be as specific as possible and have all the "subject to change" disclaimers.



Like FS...I never quote at consults...
I do that via email - then there is no disputing what i have said - its in black and white.
After a tasting - i i let them know when thier quote will be sent -
Its just gone 1.04am and i am doing my third quote for the evening....
Yes, its late - but i have a tasting at 1.30 this afternoon - at least by sitting here getting the quotes done now i am ahead for the coming week....
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

Oh, and I never quote over the phone either. I won't even quote at consultations. I try and do numbers via email so I can be as specific as possible and have all the "subject to change" disclaimers.



Oh okay. You do give ballpark figures, though, right? So they know when they leave that they can "probably" afford the cake?



As best as I can while still being vague with lots of "subject to change" stuff. But no concrete numbers unless they are ordering one of my pre-designed cakes or cupcakes (which I offer - I'm not 100% custom).

Every once in a while if I have the time I'll put someone on hold and run the request thru Quickbooks if it's something simple I've done a ton of times (like X servings chocolate cake, purple fondant ribbon with Swiss dots) or if they want a cake from my portfolio that I can easily quote. I create an actual estimate for each and every request and save it so I can refer back to it later. Only then will I give a price over the phone.

But that doesn't happen very often.
post #24 of 36
Kit - if they have a cake tasting with you - do you get everything finalized then - ie: flavours - filling - colours - decorations - # of tiers - cost
Or do you do one email explaining that after they have left... that they can sign off on?

Or is this thread about people you haven't even met yet - let alone sat with them?

Blue
post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluehue

Kit - if they have a cake tasting with you - do you get everything finalized then - ie: flavours - filling - colours - decorations - # of tiers - cost
Or do you do one email explaining that after they have left... that they can sign off on?

Or is this thread about people you haven't even met yet - let alone sat with them?

Blue



This thread is basically about how to save time from the very first email until the writing up of the contract..... some people are easy..."I want this cake in this many servings and I'll pay your price". Most are not, however....the other extreme being, "I want a cake from you and I have no clue what I want."
post #26 of 36
What about using a template email as soon as a potential customer makes an enquiry? You could have a list of standard questions they need to answer and maybe that would help filter out people who aren't serious and also get information more quickly instead of 3,4,5,6 back and forth emails? I've found people email me and leave out even the date, which is obviously problematic lol


Thank you very much for your email enquiry. We are available to fufill your order on [date]. We'd really appreciate if you could answer this short list of questions before we go any further in the design and tasing process. This is to ensure sure we are fully aware of all your requirements, so that we can give you the best possible service and information. Don't be afraid of writing too much, the more we have to chew on the better!


What is the occasion you'll be celebrating our cakes with? (optional)
Date and confirmed venue address?
Number of guests/servings required?
Budget?
Flavour requests?
Design/theme/colour specifications?

If you do have any specific images you'd like us to look at, feel free to attach them to this email and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
"Taste your words before you feed them to people."
www.sugaredsaffron.co.uk
www.facebook.com/SugaredSaffron
Reply
"Taste your words before you feed them to people."
www.sugaredsaffron.co.uk
www.facebook.com/SugaredSaffron
Reply
post #27 of 36
Thread Starter 
Thanks! We do have quite a few of those on the contact form, and sometimes they fill it all out and sometimes they don't....but still, seems like email time is forever.

Guess its just part of the business!
post #28 of 36
I get what you're saying about wanting things written down, but surely if you ever have to refer back, it's difficult to find the information if you're back a forth a lot anyway?

Why not, after the initial information, have them send you some pictures of ideas, or you send to them, then get on the phone, and you can both see the same image and discuss things.
post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir

I get what you're saying about wanting things written down, but surely if you ever have to refer back, it's difficult to find the information if you're back a forth a lot anyway?

Why not, after the initial information, have them send you some pictures of ideas, or you send to them, then get on the phone, and you can both see the same image and discuss things.



Good thoughts...it would definitely be nice to be able to nail everything down after a 15 minute phone call......
post #30 of 36
I apparently am the only one (I can't be but it looks like it on this thread) who gives a quote right away. First question, whether by email or phone, is what the wedding date is. Next, how many people at the reception and where will it be. After that I ask them if they have an idea about the type of cake design they're looking for, and nine times out of ten they will. That gives me an idea of whether they want something plain or fancy, and I can give them a price estimate. Then I ask if they'd like to set up a tasting appointment, and we set that up if they do. At the tasting I write up a contract, we design the cake, and I give them the price right then and send them home with the contract. If they want to hire me they send it back with the retainer, or they just give it to me at the appointment if they want to book then.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cake Decorating Business
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Streamlining the cake ordering process?