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Anyone have a list of questions to ask a customer?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
My daughter is just getting started and I thought it would be helpful for her to have a list of questions to ask when she gets calls from customers. Does anyone have a list to share?

Thanks!
Darlene
post #2 of 18
Who are her customers and what will they be ordering?
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
She does cakes, cupcakes and bouquets. No weddings, yet, so mostly birthdays and office parties. I'm a bookkeeper so I'm just trying to help her get organized. I can create a list but if someone has one that's been posted already, I love to save time! Do all of y'all just ask questions off the cuff?
post #4 of 18
It depends on what she herself needs to know in order to first take, then (importantly) complete the customer's order.

This gives her the opportunity to decline an order if she doesn't have the necessary skill set to actually make the cake. For example, an intricate crib topper on a christening cake, when she has never made one, nor even knows where to start in making one.

My business has a strong customer service focus. The questions are all about ensuring I can provide the perfect cake for each client icon_smile.gif

Hope this helps (no I don't have a list).

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Reply

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Reply
post #5 of 18
I usually start with the number of servings needed, budget, cake/frosting/filling flavors, requested design, pickup or delivery (location if delivered), date and time needed, and customer name/address/phone/email.

Since you are bookkeeper I assume you will be setting up something like QuickBooks for her, it's usually not too difficult to customize the workflow so the software hits all these important questions when creating a new quote and corresponding customer master record.
post #6 of 18
Your daughter and you need to draw up a form that fits on a sheet of paper, that you can scribble into at the phone. Date of event, number of people, is a picture available.

Then as you are not the cake person, you ask them when is a good time for the baker to call them back. Write that down.

Your daughter needs to print up her own list of questions because she has to make the decision to accept or decline each order. Sorry, this is where she has to learn how to run HER business. When you accept money for work, you can't be spoon-fed by mom any longer.
post #7 of 18
From the way this thread was worded it sounds like the OP will not be answering the phone for her daughter, she is just helping her put together a list of questions based on the expertise of other baking professionals.

But if she does help her daughter by taking order information, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing if she takes ownership of pricing, scheduling, and order acceptance by default unless there is a question specific to the design she can't answer. This is similar to how my wife and I ran our business: the majority of customer contact did not require her involvement, so she was free to focus on the baking and decorating.
post #8 of 18
OP your daughter is going to have to come up with her own list that provides the information she needs in order to serve her customers. It's like asking for a list of questions to ask on a date. Each person is going to have to come up with his or her own to get information he/she feels is important.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Your daughter and you need to draw up a form that fits on a sheet of paper, that you can scribble into at the phone. Date of event, number of people, is a picture available.

Then as you are not the cake person, you ask them when is a good time for the baker to call them back. Write that down.

Your daughter needs to print up her own list of questions because she has to make the decision to accept or decline each order. Sorry, this is where she has to learn how to run HER business. When you accept money for work, you can't be spoon-fed by mom any longer.



Was this really necessary? There's nothing wrong with asking for a starting point. For all the OP knows, there's an order form floating around that people can adjust. Like there's sample contracts on this site.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of your replies.
Mcaulir - that's exactly what I was going for. In my bookkeeping forums, there are lots of exciting spreadsheets and forms that we all share to help each other out.
Just so everyone can sleep tonight, I am not spoon feeding my daughter, nor will I ever be taking orders. She actually has her own cell phone and email address! I'm simply trying to help her learn a little organization since the creative types sometimes need a little help from those of us that are a little more regimented.
We did come up with a list of questions that she can carry with her and I will be glad to share it with anyone. I do like the idea of asking for a photo and I will need to add that.
I do appreciate everyone's input.
post #11 of 18
Dj, I think it's always good to be prepared, and there's nothing wrong with guiding our kids. I think one last point to keep in mind is that often it's a an evolving system that she herself will fine tune the more she uses it. It will become second nature to her eventually. If she is the creative type, one thing that may occur (which has happened to me!) is the more detail you request about the design, the more constraints she may feel are imposed on her when designing the cake. So (like BakingIrene and Jason listed) important stuff like event, time, guest numbers, flavours, portion size, delivery/pick up and basic colour scheme is a good place to start, but if she wants to have some latitude with design, it can sometimes backfire if you ask the client to create all the design parameters. After all, it's the fun part of the job icon_smile.gif

Good luck with the new business!

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Reply

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Reply
post #12 of 18
The time to teach organizational skills is when you are teaching the son/daughter to bake as a teenager. That's when you teach them to line up ingredients, and put them away after they measure what's required.

I have tried to teach such skills to adults that didn't learn them as teenagers. BIGGEST hassle--they couldn't see any reason for the steps. Nor were these people able to keep their small businesses going after Mom and Dad got them started.

If the business owner hersefl had posted this request, there would have been many useful questions and links.
post #13 of 18
The first question I ask is the date of the event. That way you know if you can even accept the order or if you are already booked.

2nd question: how many servings do you need?
3rd question: what is your budget?
These are two of the most important questions and should be asked up front to save time and effort. For example, if someone says they want a cake for 50 people and they have a budget of $75, I don't waste 20 minutes discussing a design that they can't afford.

If the budget is something I can work with, then I ask:
What flavor cake?
What filling?
What theme or decoration did you have in mind?
Do you want writing on the cake?
What time do you need your order?
Do you need the order delivered? What's the address?

Hopefully this helps get you started.
Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
Reply
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

The time to teach organizational skills is when you are teaching the son/daughter to bake as a teenager. That's when you teach them to line up ingredients, and put them away after they measure what's required.

I have tried to teach such skills to adults that didn't learn them as teenagers. BIGGEST hassle--they couldn't see any reason for the steps. Nor were these people able to keep their small businesses going after Mom and Dad got them started.

If the business owner hersefl had posted this request, there would have been many useful questions and links.



Wow.
post #15 of 18
I understand. I'm known at work as the Paperwork Nazi. It's much easier to have a list of information you'll need ahead of time - then you don't have to call back fifteen times when you think of another question you need answered.

The easiest way I found when I got started was to have my contract close at hand. Whether the order is large enough to have a contract or not (I don't generally use a contract for small or repeat orders), if you fill it out as you go then you've asked all the questions. As time goes on, your daughter won't need it and she'll rattle off the questions like she knows what she's doing. icon_wink.gif

I also understand helping kids without doing things for them. I'm currently giving mortgage advice to my oldest, but she'll have to make it work.
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