How Do I Deal With This Woman?

Business By trulyscrumptious Updated 18 Jun 2008 , 12:10am by trulyscrumptious

trulyscrumptious Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:24pm
post #1 of 25

Okay so I've got this customer, she is someone who my family has known for a long time and she was very helpful in offering business advice when I got started up thumbs_up.gif (she sells bread) the thing is she is also my worst customer. I could tell you lots of stories about this woman but it's my current problem with her that has just made me snap and I don't know how to politly deal with her this time. icon_cry.gif
A few weeks back she mentioned to my mom she wanted me to do a cake for an upcoming baby shower, mom said great, I'll mention it to her but you'll have to talk to her about that. Two weeks go by and I don't hear anything about the cake from her untill I get a drive by "I'll be needing that cake for the xxth. Do you have that on your schedule?" as we go into church! icon_surprised.gif Sure, I tell her I'll be in touch. She got her cake (and cookies) last Thursday but between that day at church and now we have been going back and forth with emails getting everything set up, the thing is sometimes she sends it to me- sometimes to my mom. She sent a message to my mom's box on Saturday telling me how wonderfull everything turned out but since mom didn't check her mail all weekend I didn't get the message until today. She really dosn't seem to get that she needs to deal with me directly and my poor mom is stuck in the middle where neither of us wants her to be. This morning after I had seen the email I told my mom that I was going to email he telling her that in future I would appreciate her contacting me directly when she is placing and order or has any reason to contact me. My long suffering mother told me that it was a bit vinagery and I should try some more honey! tapedshut.gif So now I don't know how to be informative and firm with out being rude and loosing business! icon_confused.gif
Please, if anyone has ideas I would love to know what I should tell her!

~Truly

24 replies
leah_s Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:31pm
post #2 of 25

Actually your MOM is the one who needs to tell the lady, when the lady emails her, that the lady should contact you directly. Otherwise no order hass been placed.

Just a simple, "Oh you've emailed the wrong person. Please send you email to . . ." should do it. I hope.

playingwithsugar Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:33pm
post #3 of 25

What I was taught in Team Management class was that when you need to approach someone in this manner, you need to use two positive statements, then bring in the negative statement.

So my suggestion is to first, thank her for her continued patronage, second, thank her for the note stating that how much she enjoyed your products, then third, tell her about contacting you directly.

You can always use the reasoning that sometimes, when orders and messages are relayed through a third party, they can get a bit mixed up, and as long as you are speaking directly with each other, that can never happen. This way you can guarantee to provide her with the excellent service she expects.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

cakesbybert Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:36pm
post #4 of 25

Dear .....
I so appreciate your business and like creating cakes for you. BUT it would be extremely helful and much more effiecenty if you would ONLY deal directly with me, either through email or by phone. That way all of the details of your orders can be taken care of quickly. Since my mother does not check her emails frequently there are times when messages sent to her instead of to me may not reach me in time and your order may not be as expected or when expected.

I would also have your mom send her an email explaining the same thing. Maybe the double email will get the point across - but I think you can use honey and still get the point across - but it may take both of you doing it. Also each time she sends one to your mom your mom should reply with please send this to ____ so she can take care of it directly. A few times getting it back she should get the hint.

mgdsue02 Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:37pm
post #5 of 25

I think I might say something along the lines of...
Can you email me directly with your requests. If we hadn't run into each other at church I might not have gotten the message about the cake and cookies you needed. I love my Mom dearly, but she doesn't always check her email like I do and I might not have received this order in time to make it happen...etc,etc,etc. Of course, this is just a suggestion. But, I think something like that might get your point across without sounding too "vinegary". Good luck!!

floophs Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:39pm
post #6 of 25

Hand her a business card or note with your phone number and email address. Just tell her that to make sure her orders get done correctly and on time that you would appreciate if she would always come directly to you...not your mom.

If she does contact your, have your mom express how important it is that she talk directly to you.

Good luck! thumbs_up.gif

becky27 Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:40pm
post #7 of 25

theresa has worded it beautifully!!! great advice!!

BrandisBaked Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:40pm
post #8 of 25

"I would hate to run the risk of any miscommunication or errors in the future, so I must require that all communication about orders in the future go directly to me."

LeanneW Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:47pm
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

What I was taught in Team Management class was that when you need to approach someone in this manner, you need to use two positive statements, then bring in the negative statement.

So my suggestion is to first, thank her for her continued patronage, second, thank her for the note stating that how much she enjoyed your products, then third, tell her about contacting you directly.

You can always use the reasoning that sometimes, when orders and messages are relayed through a third party, they can get a bit mixed up, and as long as you are speaking directly with each other, that can never happen. This way you can guarantee to provide her with the excellent service she expects.

Theresa icon_smile.gif




LOVE your advice Theresa.

Very professional.

summernoelle Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 10:56pm
post #10 of 25

Yep, Leahs is right. Your mom needs to do it.

But if you want to handle it yourself, that would be fine.

Anyone else notice how Brandi has the best way of wording things? icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 16 Jun 2008 , 11:51pm
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

Actually your MOM is the one who needs to tell the lady, when the lady emails her, that the lady should contact you directly. Otherwise no order hass been placed.

Just a simple, "Oh you've emailed the wrong person. Please send you email to . . ." should do it. I hope.




This is pretty much word for word what I was going to tell you. If your mom continues to pass along the messages, then this woman has been trained that your mom will continue to pass along the messages.

What leahs said. Period.

trulyscrumptious Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 1:09am
post #12 of 25

Thanks so much for the great advice everyone! This is what I have sent her:
Hi Mrs X,
I wanted to let you know that I've just received your note from Saturday afternoon. I am so glad that the cookies disappeared and the cake was so enjoyed! I hope that the "new" design for the baby cake was everything you hoped for. It is my joy to help you turn ordinary occasions into extraordinary events! Thank you for ordering from XX!
I would appreciate it so much if in the future you could make sure you talk with me directly whether by email or a call in communications about orders. Because my email is specifically set up for my business I usually check it once in the morning and once in the evening. Mom doesn't necessarily check her email the same way I do and I would hate for anything be it an order- or any message from you to get mixed up or miscommunicated. I want to be able to provide you with the best service possible and this would help me so much in doing that. Thank you so much!

Sound ok? I hope I goes over well! Mom is sending her a note too.
~Truly

floophs Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 2:23am
post #13 of 25

I think that sounds great! thumbs_up.gif

trulyscrumptious Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 3:00pm
post #14 of 25

Well, we heard back from her this morning- and by me I mean mom! *head desk* She responded to mom's note to her but not mine... She seemed to be okay with everything, she said she thought I had an email address (how did she not know I've been sending her things for ages?!) but that because her family all uses one address she assumes that's what everyone does! Arrrg! I hope this is the end of it though and she's gotten the point! I don't know what to do if she dosen't! icon_cry.gif

~Truly

awolf24 Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 3:08pm
post #15 of 25

Hmmmm...seems like maybe she still didn't get the message! (who thinks that all families use the same email address???????) Good luck with this - I think you will just have to wait and see what happens with her future orders....if she does end up going to your mom again, your mom should probably try leahs' advice to see if that works....you sent a great email BTW.

moxey2000 Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 3:22pm
post #16 of 25

Send her another email saying "please put my email address ([email protected]) into your email address book so we can be sure and communicate directly in the future. Thanks and have a great day!!"

Your email to her was spot on and very professional. If she doesn't understand and keeps emailing your Mom then please try to be patient with her. Maybe it's cause she's just older and doesn't understand email and technology all that much. I have a dear friend that way and no matter how much I explain things to her she really doesn't get it. I love her anyway.

patrincia Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 3:44pm
post #17 of 25

Gee, I guess I just don't see what the big deal is here... this woman has obviously been an asset to your business, is a close family friend, and it sounds like she's given you lots of business by purchasing many of your cakes. I understand the inconvenience involved here, but I really don't see the need to be angry with her.

LNW Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 4:08pm
post #18 of 25

I didnât read anger in any of the OPâs posts. I did read slight annoyance and fear and she is right on for feeling that way. If this valued customer makes an order or makes changes to an order but sends the info to the OPâs mom who for whatever reason doesnât check her email in time and the OP doesnât make the order or make the proper changes who is to blame? I doubt this family friend is going to be very happy about that. What sheâs doing isnât an inconvenience, itâs just plain stupid. I get plenty of orders from family friends and such but they call me directly and we talk about all the details together. Adding a middleman to the mix just messes things up. Obviously the OPâs mom doesnât check her email enough to get the info to the OP when she needs it and eventually this will lead to some bigger problems in the future. She is smart to take care of it now before something bad happens.

Is this an older woman by chance? She may really not have known that people all have separate emails addys and assumed you were getting the emails too. I do know some families that share an email addy. With her obvious lack of computer knowledge I can see where the confusion is coming from. You and your mother already sent her emails and it doesnât seem to be working and that is probably because she just doesn't understand how email works. Why not call her directly and request that she just contact you by phone from now on? That has got to be easier for her.

patrincia Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 4:19pm
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LNW

I didnât read anger in any of the OPâs posts. I did read slight annoyance




to quote the original post, "the thing is she is also my worst customer. I could tell you lots of stories about this woman but it's my current problem with her that has just made me snap..."

LNW Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:15pm
post #20 of 25

So what?? Did she snap at the customer?

patrincia Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:22pm
post #21 of 25

Angry, annoyed, whatever... it really doesn't matter. I think you were probably right when you questioned whether or not this woman knows how emails work. I just think if this person is a friend of the family, has been instrumental in the start-up of the OP's cake business, and she is also a repeat customer - maybe a little more understanding is in order, as inconvenient as that may be.

indydebi Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 9:39pm
post #22 of 25

[quote="awolf24](who thinks that all families use the same email address???????) [/quote]


"Ummmmmm," she said, shyly raising her hand from the back of the room. "We do."

And my sister does .... and my other sister does .... and my daughter and her husband do ......

I have my business email, but as a family, we have one email. It's a security issue for us. Our children will NOT receive emails or emailed info that we don't know about.

trulyscrumptious Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 11:52pm
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Quote:

I have my business email, but as a family, we have one email. It's a security issue for us. Our children will NOT receive emails or emailed info that we don't know about.




Oh I agree entirely indydebi! Our family has the same practice that the younger ones still follow. thumbs_up.gif The thing is that I am an adult living at and working from home. I have had this address set up for two or three years now. For my business. Every one of my lables that goes out on my products has that email, and I have emailed her several times from that email and several times about this order even from that email so I just don't get why she would 'be confused'. icon_confused.gif


Quote:
Quote:

Gee, I guess I just don't see what the big deal is here... this woman has obviously been an asset to your business, is a close family friend, and it sounds like she's given you lots of business by purchasing many of your cakes. I understand the inconvenience involved here, but I really don't see the need to be angry with her




Please don't misunderstand my comments as anger icon_redface.gif , I guess I'm just very...frusterated. While she has been free with her advice not all of that was necessarily helpful or relevant advice for a cake baker. I wouldn't say she was instrumential in me starting anything. This business has been my dream for almost as long as I can remember!
As to the business she gives me, whenever she has ordered a cake from me I end up having issues with her. This year it was her daughters b-day cake- she didn't pick it up for two days and in the end I ended up delivering to her just to get it out of my way. When I cautioned her that it would no longer be at it's peak freshness because I bake from scratch she brushed it off as "good enough for them" but she didn't understand that it it my reputation on the line. Two years ago it was her son's graduation party cakes, (two half sheet, one quarter, and one 3D) all to be filled with bav. cream. Well the day before, as I was baking, she calls me up and tels me she just realized she won't have the room to refrigerate them and could I keep them till the next day!! I ended up re- aranging another cake order so I could fill and decorate her cakes the next am because I had no room to keep them either.
The whole point to this being that she expects things to revolve around her at the drop of a hat. I do value her business and I was trying to deal with this irratating point in a professional maner, nipping it in the bud so that we can have a good communiacting, working relationship. I wanted to be as gentle as I could because I knew if I worded it wrong I could/would offend her. I try to be as patient with her as I can but I'm not just playing patycake, I'm in business!


Quote:
Quote:

Is this an older woman by chance?




Unfortunatly no. Otherwise I could excuse her almost anything, I know how my grandmother and some older ladies that order from me are! icon_wink.gificon_lol.gif However, she is just about my mom's age, her kids are younger then me and still in college. And the whole family is very computer literate.

Thanks everyone!
~Truly

patrincia Posted 18 Jun 2008 , 12:02am
post #24 of 25

Thanks for the explanation. It's easy to make assumptions based on limited information, but now I know the bigger picture.
icon_wink.gif.

trulyscrumptious Posted 18 Jun 2008 , 12:10am
post #25 of 25

No problem! thumbs_up.gif I'm happy to make things clearer!

~Truly

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