Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Need help with response for xcustomer
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Need help with response for xcustomer - Page 3

post #31 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.


Please don't take this the wrong way, and I understand some of your points about going on with your life, but by not following up on an order seems like bad business...people will start talking about you being unreliable or flaky.  Since you didn't tell the woman specifically about needing a response to secure the date, you did give her the impression that you were doing it.  She should have followed up, too.  I am a very small business and when I send out a quote, I keep it in an email folder marked "QUOTES OUT" so that I can follow up with someone if another person has inquired about the date or I just haven't heard from them in awhile.  Yes, it's annoying but it IS part of exceptional customer service.  It's worth making it "your style".  I would have a minimum order if you don't want to waste your time with them.  Since you have a big order that you HAVE to do, I would suck it up and do it or, at least, apologize for the miscommunication saying that since you didn't hear from you assumed she didn't want the cake.  Maybe offer her a discount on a future order.  Do whatever you have to, within reason, to save your rep...she CAN be a great referral if it's handled properly.  I make it a habit to never let a quote go more than a week without following up.  I just tell them that someone else has inquired about their date and wanted to give them first dibs on it before I took on another order...and that I will need a deposit to secure the date.  Hope this helps!  Customer service is a huge part of business, which you know.  That small order that you don't care about just might be for someone who can open some doors for you in the future!  And being able to reject unreasonable clients is a perk of this business...but at any point???  Once you've committed...you've committed.  Unless something is beyond your control you gotta do that cake!  Would you drop a client who has paid a deposit?  I sure hope not.....just some thoughts.  Please don't think I am unsympathetic...I get it all, but you are building a reputation with each order, regardless of how large or small.

Aah, cake. . .the 5th food group!!
Reply
Aah, cake. . .the 5th food group!!
Reply
post #32 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeesKnees578 View Post
Please don't take this the wrong way, and I understand some of your points about going on with your life, but by not following up on an order seems like bad business...people will start talking about you being unreliable or flaky.  Since you didn't tell the woman specifically about needing a response to secure the date, you did give her the impression that you were doing it. 

I agree. I screwed up!

post #33 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

 I guess I am not the "hand holding" type, who wants to hear every possible interest a customer has, and how it can all be incorporated on one cake. :)

 

That's me, I'm not a "hand holding" type either. Since I started this thread I've been talking with other clients about their cakes and I realize what the difference was between this client and everyone else.

 

The first thing she did that I didn't like was she treated me like an employee at the club. I don't care who they are, they never tipped me or spoke to me face to face, they didn't give kitchen people raises (but they gave golf staff raises).....and they laided me off when the economy went south. So I feel no loyalty or kindness to them at all! So it's o.k. with me if I burn a bridge with these people and they think I'm flakey. I have the baking skills they still want, they still keep buying from me. I guess I pulled a power play showing my anger...........my bad.

 

The other people that contact me for cakes are working class people. So often they are in such a hurry I can barely get the necessary info. out of them. They don't hassle over prices. They'll just be honest and say, "that's more then I want to spend, can you simplify things?". I give them a less detailed design, they are happy as can be. Most of them come to me knowing what they want or trust me completely do whatever I want..... and just simply place an order.

 

I LIKE working class people! I've also worked with the super rich and they are just as cool as working class. It's the rich 'want to be's' that really rub me wrong.

post #34 of 63

Stitches, my husband and I have worked at clubs, too.  He was a clubhouse manager, and it must be universal - the grounds/golf course gets all the money, and the clubhouse gets the shaft. :)  Your assessment is completely right on - those with real money are as nice as can be, those for whom it is a stretch to be a member are always a pain in the *ss.

 

Your customer who rubs you the wrong way is also looking for entertainment - she obviously has nothing better to do with her time than drone on about this one little cake - that is why she has overblown it.

 

Did you decide to do her order, or were you able to dump her?

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

Reply

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

Reply
post #35 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

Your customer who rubs you the wrong way is also looking for entertainment - she obviously has nothing better to do with her time than drone on about this one little cake - that is why she has overblown it.

 

 

OMG, that's EXACTLY it!

 

Ordering this cake is her entertainment! Your totally spot on!

 

It's also her little responsibility in the group having the shower and she's taking it way too seriously..............so the girls will be super happy with her pick.

 

So since you get it, how Do you deal with this kind of client?.......I can't take them..........

 

 

P.S. I did drop her. I went back and apologized that I wasn't clearer about my policies, etc....

post #36 of 63

Well, I won't be much help, because I have designed my business around avoiding such people.  icon_biggrin.gif

 

I had a drapery workroom for 13 years, and EVERYTHING was custom.  Every single person wanted a different fabric, a different style, different size windows, different trim, different hardware, and it can be exhausting.  For the most part, I made them do their homework - look in magazines, on the net, find what you like, what your style is, and I'll go from there.  But I'm just now closing my workroom because I have run out of energy for all that uniqueness.

 

My bakery opens this fall.  It will be a cross between a French patisserie and an old fashioned American bakery, where there is a case loaded with delicious, beautiful little treats.  I love to bake more than decorate, although I love everything to look beautiful, so I have selected items and techniques that are fancy to look at, but timed out so I can still make money.  No novelty cakes.  Remember when bakeries just had stuff, and you went in and bought it?  That is what I am opening.  No fondant football players, no Deco paks, no crazy sh*t.  Just delicious baked goods.  Can someone order a "dinner party" cake?  Sure, right out of the combination of flavors in my glossy book, complete with photos.  Can they add a big, beautiful gumpaste peony to the top?  Sure, for $XX more.  I'll pull one I've already got made off the shelf.

 

That is how I am avoiding those people.  And avoiding the copyright infringement cakes.  Luckily, there is a bakery here who wants to be everything to everyone, and I'll refer all those people to her.  icon_biggrin.gif  Since this concept has worked for the past couple hundred years all over the world, I'm hoping it will work again for me.

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

Reply

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

Reply
post #37 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

Your customer who rubs you the wrong way is also looking for entertainment - she obviously has nothing better to do with her time than drone on about this one little cake - that is why she has overblown it.

I'm not so sure that's a productive way to look at potential customers. If you are referring to the OP's customer in this thread, it just sounded like she needed help deciding what she wanted. If the customer was really just messing with the OP for entertainment purposes she wouldn't have cared if OP ended up rejecting the order.

It's also puzzling that a vendor would poke fun at a customer who wants the best cake possible and wants her friends to be happy with what she picked out. Especially in this industry, where "one little cake" to us can be a critical component of an event to our customers.
post #38 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post


I'm not so sure that's a productive way to look at potential customers. If you are referring to the OP's customer in this thread, it just sounded like she needed help deciding what she wanted. If the customer was really just messing with the OP for entertainment purposes she wouldn't have cared if OP ended up rejecting the order.

It's also puzzling that a vendor would poke fun at a customer who wants the best cake possible and wants her friends to be happy with what she picked out. Especially in this industry, where "one little cake" to us can be a critical component of an event to our customers.

 

Eighteen e-mails for a cake for $130??  That is more than just caring that her cake be the best possible.  If the OP needs to vent about a crazy customer, let her vent.  Telling her this isn't "productive" isn't providing her with any real advice.  You can give every customer the benefit of the doubt, all the time, but that doesn't help control the time she is spending.

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

Reply

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

Reply
post #39 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

Eighteen e-mails for a cake for $130??  That is more than just caring that her cake be the best possible.

Without first-hand knowledge of the customer's thought processes I'm not sure how accurate this conclusion is. 
Quote:
If the OP needs to vent about a crazy customer, let her vent.  Telling her this isn't "productive" isn't providing her with any real advice.  You can give every customer the benefit of the doubt, all the time, but that doesn't help control the time she is spending.

There's nothing wrong with venting, I was referring to the attitude that customers who are unsure or need help finalizing a decision are just looking for entertainment.
post #40 of 63
Thread Starter 

Jason, Liz is correct in describing this specific customer. She does fit a customer profile associated to Country Club members. That person spends most of their days shopping and consuming. So "consuming" is their daily "entertainment". They do so in a unrealistically leisurely way and over evaluate every purchase or consumption so it gives them the most attention or admiration from their friends. They have no time schedules to meet and don't understand and place value on other peoples time.

post #41 of 63
I suppose I'm fortunate that I've never encountered that particular type of customer. Luckily it sounds like they are easy to identify in advance, so you know when to be more aggressive about cutting off debate and finalizing an order.
post #42 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

. Luckily it sounds like they are easy to identify in advance, so you know when to be more aggressive about cutting off debate and finalizing an order.

Nope, no such luck. Sometimes it's just a normal rich person who wants something unique and will pay for it. It can be hard to recognize the rich from the super rich until you get deeper into a conversation with them.

post #43 of 63

In addition to the aforementioned advice, I would like add that in business you will encounter all types of people.  Set some rules and stick to them for every customer that comes in the door.  This is your business and all customers, regardless of who they are must play by your rules or seek their goods from another vendor.

 

Just because a person is a member of a country club doesn't mean they have anymore money than someone who doesn't belong to a club.  I am reminded of my roommate from college who had a closet full of expensive clothes that made me swoon.  I thought they were rich, rich, rich.  Actually the were in debt, debt, debt.  They lived in a million dollar home where only three rooms were even furnished.  Their house had a foyer and a living room elaborately furnished but we slept on mattresses on the floor in the bedrooms for years.  They drove nice cars and socialized constantly in fine evening attire but didn't have 50 cent to rub together in cash.  It was all purchased on credit.  They eventually lost it all.

 

Some people live with the pretense of wealth. 

post #44 of 63

Well I guess some of my response will be preventive.  I had a similar experience a couple of years ago.

I now create a "work order" and if that work order (and a deposit) is not created there is no contract.  

I also have a deadline for the last day the work order can be created.  When I talk to my clients I tell them this right of the bat.

 

Now that you are passed doing that, I would suggest (which you have shown already) honesty.  She has run you out of time with her indecision.  She is not your only client.  Some people just can't make decisions, so a time limit is a must.  You gave her every opportunity.  Don't feel bad (cake people are notorious softies) there are other people depending on you.

Dyanna

Dyanna's Design Bakery

Dyanna

Reply

Dyanna

Reply
post #45 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar View Post

Life isn't perfect.  Sometimes we make mistakes.  Just send her an apology saying "I'm so sorry if I didn't make my policy clear - I speak to many prospective customers each day, and my schedule fills up as orders are finalized."  Just be honest: "my schedule filled up while you were deciding what to do, and as a small business, I can only handle so many orders at once".

 

If she wants to be a b*tch, she will be one regardless, so send her a heartfelt apology and move on.  Maybe refer her to another baker who could help on short notice??

 

Liz
 


thumbs_up.gif Yes I agree  with Liz at sugar. We live and learn. . I wouldnt do any other baker a favor by recommending this client unless I ask the baker first .

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cake Decorating Business
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Need help with response for xcustomer