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Need advice on customer complaints

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I own a cake business in a small town. Recently I have had a few customer complaints that have really upset me.mainly because I feel like these people are just trying to get something for free. The complaint I get most is that the cake is so dry that no body at the party could eat any of it. This is a surprise to me because I add pudding mix to my cake recipe and soak it with simple syrup. I also taste every cake I make when I level it and haven't seen where my cakes were dry.
I am not good with confrontations so I never know what to say to people. I obviously don't want to give refunds to everyone who complains. Especially if it seems like the type that is complaining just because they didn't want to pay. My most recent complaint waited 3 days after the cake was made to serve it (we had no idea the party was that far away) and then waited another 3 days to complain on my Facebook page so everyone could see.
Please any advice would be great on how to handle this. Thanks!
post #2 of 19

Block that particular customer from your Facebook page.  Also, be careful who you choose as your customers...if they seem cheap and like they want a free cake, don't work for them.  

post #3 of 19
Delete it, block them, and have confidence in your good quality work.
post #4 of 19
As its summer are they putting them in the fridge then not bringing them up to temp?
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post #5 of 19
Get paid up front, when you take your orders have contracts with info about the customer-where and when the party is, if it's outside or not, etc. this will help you troubleshoot if there are actual problems (while making you look more professional). Also, knowing more about the event will help you advise customers against getting their cakes days in advance.

Confrontation is a part of working with people, if you want a successful business you'll have to get used to dealing with customers, there are ways to make customers satisfied without refunds. Also, repeat business and word of mouth referrals are very important for a thriving business. The longer you wait to resolve a problem with a customer the angrier they get. Of course a complaint should come to you personally, ASAP.

You said you've had a few complaints, believe me I understand you can't please everyone maybe you need to look at the customers your targeting. Have you made any changes to your recipes recently? You add pudding to your cakes so your baking with a box mix or a scratch recipe (it doesn't matter to me what kind of cakes your making just trying to help figure out if it's a problem with the cake)?

Exactly what have the customers with complaints said?
Did you respond to the customer that had you make her cake really early?
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmom View Post

Block that particular customer from your Facebook page.  Also, be careful who you choose as your customers...if they seem cheap and like they want a free cake, don't work for them.  


^^ This

post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smckinney07 View Post

Get paid up front, when you take your orders have contracts with info about the customer-where and when the party is, if it's outside or not, etc. this will help you troubleshoot if there are actual problems (while making you look more professional). Also, knowing more about the event will help you advise customers against getting their cakes days in advance.

Confrontation is a part of working with people, if you want a successful business you'll have to get used to dealing with customers, there are ways to make customers satisfied without refunds. Also, repeat business and word of mouth referrals are very important for a thriving business. The longer you wait to resolve a problem with a customer the angrier they get. Of course a complaint should come to you personally, ASAP.

You said you've had a few complaints, believe me I understand you can't please everyone maybe you need to look at the customers your targeting. Have you made any changes to your recipes recently? You add pudding to your cakes so your baking with a box mix or a scratch recipe (it doesn't matter to me what kind of cakes your making just trying to help figure out if it's a problem with the cake)?

Exactly what have the customers with complaints said?
Did you respond to the customer that had you make her cake really early?
Good stuff here. I was thinking the same things.
You said you have had complaints, plural. How many complaints are we looking at? I would be seriously looking at what I might be doing wrong if I had multiple complaints about the same problem. Get to the root of this. It might be a problem with your recipe, your oven, your timer, your timeline, your storage or the information you give or do not give to the customer about storage and serving. Find the problem and fix it as soon as possible.
If it is just one customer (or just her and her friends) that are complaining, then certainly just block them on FB, put them on your "no cake for you" list and move on!
post #8 of 19

I completely agree with asyouwish and Smickenny. One complaint could be looking for a free cake but multiple people, all with the same complaint, you need to look into what you may be doing wrong. Look into what you are doing and make sure to tell your customers what they should be doing as well. If it needs to be refrigerated, if it needs to be brought to room temp, anything you would do if you were serving it yourself. If it needs to be eaten in a certain number of days, tell them that. It is easier to just type it all up and hand it to customers when they pick up their cake. Then you don't have to worry about forgetting to tell them something and you have proof of what you said.

post #9 of 19
I missed the 'few' customer complaints part. I read it as one complaint. Oops.
Yes; address the issue quickly, and look into your methods, as already stated by others.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
We have only had a few complaints in the four years in business. But after the first one about the cake being dry I adjusted my recipe and tried adding pudding. ( we bake from scratch) but recently we had 2 back to back. Both seemed like they just wanted a free cake. It just really upsets me that someone would go post on my business Facebook page without even calling me and trying to fix it. Being in a small town it is hard to target a certain type of client. I did make her pay upfront when she ordered. The first complaint I got about dry cake I wasn't sure what else to do and stupidly did a full refund even though I knew the cake was good. I'm trying to figure out what to do instead but sometimes it seems like people just complain to get something free. Either way is still bruises your confidence. I did write her to apologize about the cake and when she continued to trash me on Facebook I deleted the post and blocked her. Thanks for the advice.
post #11 of 19
I wasn't trying to be hurtful, please don't misunderstand. I just assumed you posted for advise, I'm simply trying to help. Perhaps you should go back to your original recipe. I wouldn't change my recipes after one complaint, you can't please everyone-some people are used to box mix cakes and Walmart cakes. It took me a long time to refine my scratch recipes, they are moist and yummy, after LOTS of trial and error. I imagine as a scratch baker you probably went through the same thing.

You've been in business for 4years and recently are getting complaints so logically I'd say go back to your old recipes if they served you well.

Maybe they wanted a free cake, some people are like that. Maybe they don't like the new recipe. You would know better than me icon_wink.gif

I understand how a complaint can hurt, it can be utterly heartbreaking but as a professional you've got to move past it and try to learn from it or let it go. That being said, trashing you on any level is childish, especially if you've done everything possible to satisfy them.
post #12 of 19
I'd also like to add that I don't mean any disrespect to people who bake with a box mix! I used them when I started, I simply switched because I wanted more control over what went into my cakes and I wanted to learn more about the science behind baking (which I'm still learning). A good recipe is a good recipe-I don't care what you use icon_wink.gif
post #13 of 19
Was the second complaint from somebody who knows the person you just gave the full refund to?
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post #14 of 19

Many, many people these days are NOT used to scratch cakes and find them dry.  You do have to have confidence in your product.  Have family and friends try the scraps (if you have any - or bake up a couple cupcakes from the same batter) and make sure they know you expect the truth when they tell you how it is.

You do have to be able to 'read' your customer complaints.  If you are very sure they were fishing for a refund then that just might be the answer.  I don't do facebook so I can't speak to anything others have mentioned in that regard.   

post #15 of 19

I bake from scratch as well and always get comments about how moist my cakes are so I still say look into your recipes. Simply adding pudding isn't a cure all. I spray my cakes with simple syrup after torting them. What kind of cakes are you making that soaking them doesn't make them soggy? My cakes are usually hard enough to handle when they come out. I freeze them to make them easier to handle.

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