Please Help - Do I Respond To This?

Decorating By yellobutterfly Updated 14 Mar 2009 , 7:45am by lostincake

yellobutterfly Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:28pm
post #1 of 32

I did a cake for a lady this past weekend. Originally her referral came from a friend of hers who had ordered the dumptruck cake in my photos - that cake was done in May. She contacted me immediately after and gave me her date then for her March party - yeah 10 months in advance, and I'm not even that busy, usually people just tell me a week or so ahead of time, lol.

I talked to her thru e-mail a few times, and told her I'd do the cake, but to contact me closer to the deadline with the details. She had cupcakes and cookies from me in September (which are the polka dot cupcakes and coordinating cookies) at the same friend's house for a mom's group party, and since then e-mailed me pretty often to talk about what she wanted, etc. I did her cake Saturday, it's the space cake in my photos. Today I got this e-mail from her:

"Hi, Julie. Thank you for bringing the cake. I'm sad to say that I thought it did not taste like the cupcakes I devoured at _____'s house. The buttercream just didn't taste like buttercream to me. How were ___'s cupcakes made? Was it different frosting? What type are you planning for Friday? Thanks! L"

Uh...I use doctored cake mixes, this was white cake and so were the previous cupcakes...I still used buttercream frosting with the same flavors I always use - almond and vanilla...but I did recently switch to SugarShack's icing recipe...which really tastes the same as my old recipe - the Brite white recipe on here (altered without the salt, icing base, vinegar and creme bouquet and subbing in almond and vanilla)...and very good, I like sugarshack's better because it smoothes better and handles easier...I am so at a loss, I've never had a complaint, and this lady had ordered ahead 5 dozen cupcakes and 2 dozen cookies for her son's school b-day party this friday...what do I tell her? how should I respond? HELP!!

31 replies
dahir Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:45pm
post #2 of 32

Well sounds like she had a specific question about the frosting which I think you said you had recently changed to sugashacks recipe. What were you using as a recipe before?

step0nmi Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:46pm
post #3 of 32

wow! this lady sounds like a worry wart. icon_lol.gif I know that's not any help...but, really...i dunno...she doesn't sound like she asking for a refund..but she may be getting to that icon_razz.gif

Deb_ Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:48pm
post #4 of 32

I'd switch back to the BC you were originally using and the one she liked.

I've used the recipe with "brite white icing base" and I've tried Sugarshack's recipe as well. I personally don't like the latter recipe either, so I agree with this client. I don't think the 2 recipes are at all comparable in taste or consistency, I like the brite white fudge icing base, it's a great product. I love Sugarshack's methods/videos, but not her BC recipe.

If you've switched exclusively to Sugarshack's recipe then you should just tell the client that you've switched recipes and you feel that the one you are now using is a higher quality recipe..........or something to that effect.

I guess the important thing to consider is the customer's feedback, have you gotten any other negative feedback or questions about the icing?

jen1977 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:49pm
post #5 of 32

It sounds to me like she doesn't like the new icing. I would use the old recipe for her order since she liked it and doesn't like the new.

tonia3604 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:49pm
post #6 of 32

Wow! That is a very blunt e-mail. In my opinion, it sounds like she is just looking for a discount off of the next order. I'm not sure how to word your response, but there would definately not be a discount in her future!!!

Kiddiekakes Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:54pm
post #7 of 32

I agree with dkelly..I would tell her that you recenty found another recipe that you are now going to be using..However if she will use the old recipe that she likes for her cakes.In the end it's the customer who is paying for the product so if she prefers your old recipe..I would defintely do it for her!! It doesn't sound like she is looking for a refund just that the cupcakes she ordered which are almost due she would like to know that they are going to be as good as the original ones she tasted!!

lostincake Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:57pm
post #8 of 32

Perhaps you can let the client know that you were trying out some new recipes that came highly rated but if she prefers the old recipe, you could certainly use that one instead for her order no problem.

Personally, I consider her email a blessing. I think it's better she let you know now BEFORE you delivered her order and is giving you the benefit of the doubt and a chance to remedy a potential problem instead of just outright canceling or worse.

JMHO icon_wink.gif

kaat Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:58pm
post #9 of 32

It does not sound like she is seeking a refund to me. I wouldn't take this email in a bad way, it sounds like she is trying to be up front about her dislike of the new icing and wants a "heads up" on what to expect for her next order.

aligotmatt Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:58pm
post #10 of 32

You did change your buttercream recipe.

If she ordered one buttercream, you should serve that to her. It shouldn't be much to make your old kind for her cupcakes. I would just say, yes, I have changed my buttercream recipe, but fully intend on making my old recipe for your order because that is what you ordered.

I changed my chocolate cake recipe to one that I feel is more stable, but if someone ordered my old chocolate cake recipe, that is what they should get, because that's what they ordered...

Ruth0209 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 10:59pm
post #11 of 32

I don't think her e-mail was especially blunt. She ordered based on her experience with your product, and then she got something different than what she expected. If she's going to order more from you, she just wants to know what she's going to get.

I agree with a previous poster that you should just let her know that you'd changed your icing recipe, but that you can use the old one if that's what she prefers. I don't think that's so much to ask. It's no different than saying "give me raspberry filling next time because I didn't especially like the strawberry."

Deb_ Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:00pm
post #12 of 32

I meant to add that I don't think she is trying to get a discount on the next order...........she's simply stating that she noticed the BC was not the same. (as it turns out, she's right on)

I think it was very nicely written. I'd rather have a client give me honest feedback, then to never order from me again........then I'd be left wondering why.

volleyball47 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:10pm
post #13 of 32

tell her that you changed icings, but your willing to change it back to the one that she liked.

IcedTea4Me2 Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:12pm
post #14 of 32

I'm an icing fan. To my tastebuds, the cake is just secondary - just something to put the icing on! Having said that, if I had tasted your treats earlier and ordered something for later based on that, I would be under the assumption I was getting the same product. It would matter to me because I ordered based on what I sampled to begin with.

I don't think the email was mean at all. I really want people that I'm baking for to be happy and if that means that they tell me they prefer A over B, then A it is. I mostly bake for family and friends and everytime I bake something I beg for feedback - honest feedback. I think it's helpful. (I don't beg for feedback on the decorating -- just the recipes!)

I wouldn't take it to heart that she meant it in a bad way. It sounds like she really, really likes your goodies and just wants it to be how she remembered it. Hey, that's a compliment! icon_smile.gif


zoomzone Posted 9 Mar 2009 , 11:12pm
post #15 of 32

I agree with those who say she was just being honest and does not want a discount. I think she stated her case very nicely. And, YES, you DID change the recipe, which she noticed.
I agree - I would tell her I have switched to a recipe I feel to be better, but would gladly make the "old" one for her if she prefers it.

yellobutterfly Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 12:46am
post #16 of 32

Thank you all so much for your input, I panicked when I saw her e-mail...I was really tempted to curl up on the couch with 5qt's of cookie dough.... icon_redface.gif but I thought it thru and decided not to icon_biggrin.gif

It really helped to have other's perspective, (otherwise I might read too much into it, and not respond properly) here is the e-mail I just sent her, let me know what you think, and I'll let you know what she says...thanks!


Hi L,

Thank you for letting me know your concerns about the cake/icing - I appreciate honest feedback as it breeds improvement. I have been using this icing recipe since about November, with no complaints or negative feedback, but I realize now that you mention it that the cupcakes you had @___'s (I think in September?) were definitely with the former icing recipe. The icings' core ingredients are the same, but the new icing does have other ingredients that could possibly change the taste for you. If you prefer I would be happy to make your cupcakes with the former recipe.

The cake recipe has remained the same as the original. If you would like to change your cupcakes to a different flavor please let me know, flavors that would be the same price as previously quoted include chocolate, yellow, confetti, french vanilla, devil's food, vanilla...please advise which you would like for your cupcakes so I can begin shopping for ingredients icon_smile.gif

Thank you!


step0nmi Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 12:49am
post #17 of 32

oh! I think that sounds great and she will be thoroughly happy! icon_biggrin.gif

zoomzone Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 12:50am
post #18 of 32

Good comeback Julie! This will turn out well!

sugarshack Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 12:56am
post #19 of 32

You answered great.

Someone does not like my icing?????????????????????????

OMG now I must go fetal and have ice cream. LOL


People like what they like, and she noticed the difference. Now you have 2 great icings to offer your clients.

tonia3604 Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 1:03am
post #20 of 32

That was a terrific response! Next time I don't know what to say to a client I am emailing you!!! lol

yellobutterfly Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 1:14am
post #21 of 32
Originally Posted by tonia3604

That was a terrific response! Next time I don't know what to say to a client I am emailing you!!! lol

ha - thanks, I was just feeding off you you all's responses!

yellobutterfly Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 1:38am
post #22 of 32
Originally Posted by sugarshack

You answered great.

Someone does not like my icing?????????????????????????

OMG now I must go fetal and have ice cream. LOL


People like what they like, and she noticed the difference. Now you have 2 great icings to offer your clients.

well I for one LOVE your icing! I was really surprised that she even noticed the change, because it's been 6 months since she had my icing previously! but whatever, I don't want to lose a customer, so hopefully she will still like the old

yellobutterfly Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 1:43am
post #23 of 32

Feeling a little better now, here's her response:

"Let me just say that I had not tasted the ones at ______'s I would have been as tickled pink as everyone else who enjoyed your cake was. I just had my tastebuds set on that same taste. That would be awesome if you could make them just like Cassie's. Were hers vanilla, french vanilla? I'm just not sure. Thanks! L"

Now I have an e-mail in to the other customer, because I don't remember if her cupcakes were french vanilla or just white! icon_surprised.gif

sugarshack Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 3:11am
post #24 of 32

no worries; people get used to what they like!

you have mader her happy and she does not seem upset at all.

Kudos to you.

Deb_ Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 3:15am
post #25 of 32

I'm glad this turned out so well for you..........she sounds like a repeat customer! icon_smile.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 4:41am
post #26 of 32

Perfect response. You struck just the right tone with her. Helpful and not defensive.

It's so easy to have our feelings hurt, isn't it?!

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 5:10am
post #27 of 32

I was gonna say, maybe you didn't notice a difference in the icings since you're so used to it, but this woman probably "fixated" on your old recipe so she could definitely taste the difference.

you've handled this so well. great job! and good luck on that order icon_biggrin.gif

Luvsthedogs Posted 10 Mar 2009 , 12:09pm
post #28 of 32

How about offering her a couple of sample cupcakes to try? Kind of like an approval session, but present it as you wanting to give her a choice of flavor for cake and icing. That way, you will know exactly what she wants and she'll be very pleased! She'll probably brag to others about your outstanding customer service, too.

yellobutterfly Posted 14 Mar 2009 , 2:10am
post #29 of 32

Thanks so much for all of your help and responses, don't know what I'd do without you guys!! ((hugs)) (is that the right symbol for hugs?...if not this could be bad, lol)

Anyway, I dropped off the cupcake order for this same lady this morning, she was getting ready but her husband took them. She called on my way home and gushed on and on about how precious the cookies were (and how she didn't want to share, lol) and how perfect the cupcakes are (both will be posted in my photos shortly)...we talked about her daughter's upcoming b-day, and made plans for a dairy-free cake, etc.

I asked her if her son liked last week's cake and she said his words were "AWESOME"! And she let me know that just to clarify, EVERYONE at last weeks' party LOVED the cake/icing...she just had been a little disappointed because she was looking forward to what she had tried at the other lady's house.

I asked if she'd sampled today's cupcakes yet to see how the icing came out this time, and told her another thing could be that I used to always use butter flavoring in that old recipe, but since switching to SS's recipe, I've been using only almond/vanilla (mainly because I hate the smell of fake butter flavoring, lol) but that today's stuff had the butter flavoring back in it. She was like "That's it! I LOVE butter!! I bet that's why I didn't like it as much!" She said she hadn't tried the cupcakes/icing yet but was sure it'd be fine since I had gone back to the old stuff.

Sooooooooo, here's the e-mail I got this afternoon:

Julie, the cupcakes were delicious! Exactly the way I remember ____'s tasting. This is the recipe for me. Stephen's teachers said they were fabulous. Kids at school said they were the best they have ever eaten! Teachers had two that don't eat sweets. The boxed ones for the teachers were a beautiful presentation. They felt very appreciated. I am thrilled. Thank you so much! You are now our family baker! icon_smile.gif L

YAY! I love happy endings! Sorry for rambling thru this post, but just wanted to let you all know how it turned out! Thanks again CC'rs!!

Chef_Rinny Posted 14 Mar 2009 , 2:19am
post #30 of 32

I just love happy endings icon_smile.gif Glad everything turned out well!

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