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Need help with response for xcustomer

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 

I'm just horrible at making good points when I get nervous. I just wrote about this customer today on another thread. We had 18 emails over a month, and I gave her quotes on 6 different cake designs.....today I decided I didn't want to do the cake for her, period. I gave her a quote of $3.00 pp for a fondant cake with hand painted flowers on the sides, plus gum paste flowers on top. I realized how stupid this is and I WAS. I'd rather deal with cupcake for .50 less per serving.

 

So I wrote her today when she finally placed her order yesterday, that I was already over booked (the day before Mothers Day). WHICH is true, I got a huge order for Mothers Day and I can't waste the day before making that lady's cake.

 

So she wrote back to me, "I thought you had committed to making this cake for us, we were just finalizing the details. What happened?"

 

PLEASE HELP ME, how would you respond? We didn't have a contract and now I AM too busy, plus I don't want to do her cake. Would you respond to her email?

 

 

 
 
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Margaret Newsom
3:00 PM (5 hours ago)
 
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post #2 of 63

I think that you could easily reply that you don't book estimates until you receive a deposit and  another client had placed a large order, making you unable to take on additional orders for that day.  Apologize for the inconvenience and wish her well. 

post #3 of 63
"I'm sorry, but orders are only confirmed after a contract has been signed and a deposit has been paid to secure the date. Other customers have already confirmed orders for (date) so unfortunately I will no longer be able to fit your order into the schedule. I wish you the best of luck with your event."

If things are still not finalized by 4 weeks before the delivery date I will make sure the customer is aware that their order has not yet been confirmed and if other customers confirm first they may not be able to place their order. The warnings get continuously more dire as the date approaches.
post #4 of 63
Maybe there is another baker you can suggest can help her, if you call a baker buddy first to see if they can accommodate her. Next time, charge her double and a half...maybe she will dump you!! icon_smile.gif...if not, maybe the extra cash will make her being a pain a little less painful!
post #5 of 63
Thread Starter 

Thank-you!!. I think I'm going to go along the lines Jason suggested. That seems straight and professional. I don't want these kinds of clients. I used to work at her country club and perhaps they think they own me still.

post #6 of 63

I didn't read the other thread, but did you ever tell her that you weren't committed until she'd paid a deposit? I can see why she'd be annoyed if she was operating under the assumption that you had committed and she was never told differently.

post #7 of 63
Thread Starter 

No I didn't tell her that. She asked me a month ago on first contact if I was available on that date. I was available then, I'm now sold out (the day before Mothers Day!). I work on a first come first serve basis. When I sell out, I sell out.

 

I don't ask for deposits on small cakes. I only ask for deposits on wedding cakes or substantial projects. I do not state my terms to a prospective small cake clients. I don't have many of them!! I want to be able to reject unreasonable clients at any point. They can fire me at any time also, that's what I get by not asking for deposit. I give people quotes on cakes all the time, asking for a quote doesn't guarantee they'll buy from me, there is no contract. If I have a no show on a cake, my hubby is always happy to take it to work.

 

I didn't hear back from her for over a week after I gave her 6 different quotes on cakes. I figured she was busy shopping pricing with every decorator. I had no certainty that she'd finally order from me! I just continued on with my life. I didn't email her warnings, that's not my style.

post #8 of 63

I'd go with Jason's response.

post #9 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches View Post

No I didn't tell her that. She asked me a month ago on first contact if I was available on that date. I was available then, I'm now sold out (the day before Mothers Day!). I work on a first come first serve basis. When I sell out, I sell out.

 

I don't ask for deposits on small cakes. I only ask for deposits on wedding cakes or substantial projects. I do not state my terms to a prospective small cake clients. I don't have many of them!! I want to be able to reject unreasonable clients at any point. They can fire me at any time also, that's what I get by not asking for deposit. I give people quotes on cakes all the time, asking for a quote doesn't guarantee they'll buy from me, there is no contract. If I have a no show on a cake, my hubby is always happy to take it to work.

 

I didn't hear back from her for over a week after I gave her 6 different quotes on cakes. I figured she was busy shopping pricing with every decorator. I had no certainty that she'd finally order from me! I just continued on with my life. I didn't email her warnings, that's not my style.

 

Maybe best not to go with Jason's response if in fact, those aren't your policies. If you've never told her that a date is only secured after payment of a deposit, and it's not a policy that's posted anywhere, and in fact, isn't actually your policy, I wouldn't tell her that.

 

I get that she's been super annoying - I just feel a bit sorry for her that she thinks she had this booked, and she's just sorting out details, and then a couple of weeks before, you're suddenly not available.

 

The thing about the bolded is that she thought she was first come, and had been first served.

post #10 of 63

From your previous posts, you have indicated you are trying to market yourself.  Turning away business after a month of consultations might not be the way to go, despite the fact you are now booked for that date.  I realize that this woman is a pain, but you gave her no indication about your booking policy, so she thought you were available.  It's a good idea to get deposits a few weeks in advance as others have indicated, particularly with customers like the one you are dealing with.  Even if you don't want her as a customer, you started the process when you were emailing back and forth with her.  Now someone else will get her business...

post #11 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir View Post

Maybe best not to go with Jason's response if in fact, those aren't your policies. If you've never told her that a date is only secured after payment of a deposit, and it's not a policy that's posted anywhere, and in fact, isn't actually your policy, I wouldn't tell her that.

Agreed. If she was under the impression all along that her order was already confirmed, and you didn't say anything to the contrary, it may be in your best interests to try to squeeze the order in while apologizing for the misunderstanding. Perhaps you could work with her on simplifying the order so it won't take as much time.

If you reject the order you may get some significant negative PR, especially since it is so close to the event and it may be difficult for the customer to find a replacement.
post #12 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir View Post

 

Maybe best not to go with Jason's response if in fact, those aren't your policies. If you've never told her that a date is only secured after payment of a deposit, and it's not a policy that's posted anywhere, and in fact, isn't actually your policy, I wouldn't tell her that.

 

I get that she's been super annoying - I just feel a bit sorry for her that she thinks she had this booked, and she's just sorting out details, and then a couple of weeks before, you're suddenly not available.

 

The thing about the bolded is that she thought she was first come, and had been first served.

Agree. thumbs_up.gif  I'm assuming the other customers for that weekend came to you after she did.  If so, she was first and should be first served, as you stated. 

I homeschool because I've seen the village and I don't want it raising my children.

 

http://whynotethiopia2.blogspot.com/

 

 

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I homeschool because I've seen the village and I don't want it raising my children.

 

http://whynotethiopia2.blogspot.com/

 

 

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post #13 of 63
Thread Starter 

Yes, now I see how I've screwed up! I did use Jason's wording. I don't really know what to do to make things better. No matter what she'll be pissed off at me....and no matter what I don't want to make her cake on that date.

 

Just a fyi (if anyone cares)..........I'm throwing in the towel for the most part with my business. I'm looking for full time employment. I don't enjoy being a sales person, I'm really more of a baker/artist personality and not out going enough. I'll still attempt to sell wedding cakes and my toffee as my side job/hobby.....hoping I can build that.

 

Having business doesn't make for profitability. In order to make money I need to crank up the volume and I can't do that in the rental kitchen near me. It sucks every penny of income. My other choice is to invest in opening my own store...........but time after time I see that the people in my own area won't pay a respectable amount of money for custom baked goods. The big box stores have everyone convinced that all baked goods should be that cheap. I know there's got to be a market for people who are willing to by a custom product, I just haven't tapped into that yet. I'd need to open a shop at least 45 minutes away from my home to reach a wealthier client. That would do more harm to my life then good.

 

This current client (who I don't want) is one of the "richer" people in the area. It's a group of 4 women throwing a shower at the country club, sharing the costs. I was approached by the client who said they were looking for "something special". What that really meant was they want something special, but they aren't willing to pay for it. She kept shopping out options with me for a cheaper design. Then she stalled in contacting me any which way. I took that to mean she wasn't hot on placing her order with me. So I kept on with life.

post #14 of 63
How many times have I read on CC not to wait for imaginary orders when real ones are slapping us in the face with a deposit? If OP had come here saying she passed on the large order because she was waiting on this lady who might order we would be telling her to do exactly what she did: attend to the paying customer.
post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea View Post

How many times have I read on CC not to wait for imaginary orders when real ones are slapping us in the face with a deposit? If OP had come here saying she passed on the large order because she was waiting on this lady who might order we would be telling her to do exactly what she did: attend to the paying customer.

If there is no process for confirmation, no required deposit for a small order, and a first come/first served policy the customer is reasonable in assuming that their order would be filled. It would be a different story if the customer was made aware that their order was not confirmed.
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