First Bad Review :o( What Do I Do Now?

Business By kellertur Updated 11 Jun 2009 , 11:16pm by Deb_

kellertur Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 6:46pm
post #1 of 36

I've made many, many cakes and this is the very first BAD review I've gotten, so naturally it stings quite bit. Maybe it was bound to happen, but this is embarassing, actually... icon_redface.gif

* The customer wrote: "I know there is no way for you to to tell if it tastes the way you want it to after the final product is complete, so I know you must rely on the feedback of your customers to let you know. It was very dry, and not very flavorful."

First: (at the risk of sounding defensive)
I did taste the cake scraps and filling and icing together (like I always do), and to both myself and a friend, it was both moist and flavorful. The cake is infused with coffee so it's not going to be "fluffy", but not dense or grainy either. What's puzzling, is that this is my MOST requested cake flavor combo, so the review threw me a bit...

This was for a cake dropped off the night before it was to be consumed. I told them it was best to store in refrigerator or tightly wrap box with plastic to keep it from drying out.

I'm probably being WAY too sensitive on this... but what could have gone wrong between when I tasted the cake, iced it, boxed & refriged it the night before, then dropped it off... and when they ate it????

I feel quite stupid to tell you the truth... what happens if they start spreading the word that my cakes are awful??? icon_cry.gif

Anyway, I politely emailed back apologizing for it being disappointing but telling then that I did infact taste the cake and it was fine, and that I found it quite puzzling, but I was sorry for whatever "went wrong".

What now? icon_confused.gif Thank you...

35 replies
cylstrial Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 6:56pm
post #2 of 36

Just wait to see what happens! She might just be scamming you to get her money back. Time will tell. You might tell her that you have never had anyone complain about the moistness or flavorfulness of your cake before if she says anything else.
And if she does say something bad, hopefully all the people who have ordered from you and gotten good cakes will put good words out about you. =O)

kellertur Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 7:08pm
post #3 of 36

How exactly do you discern between truth tellers and scammers? I'm not infallible, by any means... but is there a way to figure this out?

Now the OCD side of me is wondering, should I call some past customers and do a survey...? icon_eek.gif (I knew this could happen, but it sucks!)

Can a cake dry out that fast? This is really bugging me... The cakes I sell wholesale sell out in hours, so I am really confused... She didn't sound like she was out for a refund, but I'm so inexperienced about this end of things... icon_cry.gif

CanadianChick Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 7:21pm
post #4 of 36

if she ate it while it was still cold, the solidity of the butter and the muting of the flavours that refrigeration causes would make her think it was dry and bland.

Cake is always at its best at room temp if the fillings/icings will tolerate it.

Did you tell her to keep it refrigerated until serving, or until 2 hours before serving??

jlynnw Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 7:27pm
post #5 of 36

First, I am sorry you are going thru this. It has got to sting to have someone not like your cakes. I can not imagine a cake drying out that fast or "losing" its flavor over night. I have made a cake a week in advance, froze it, pulled it out 2 days in advance and finished it. My daughter was ill and we did not eat the cake for 2 days. I was about to throw it out and she wanted to try the cake. (it had been sitting on the cvounter boxed and over wrapped in plastic) I sliced the bc iced cake and it was drier than usual but still moist. this would make the cake 4 days out of the freezer and still moist. At the store I used to work at, the cakes stay on the shelves for 5 days after they are labeled. IDK, it is hard to tell the scammers from legit complaints. I would not call prior customers, however, you might send out a quality assurance questionaire. Ask questions about the whole cake, freshness, taste, moistness, value and gain some general insight to your business as a whole. HTH

Deb_ Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 7:32pm
post #6 of 36

Hi Kristi,

This side of the business sucks doesn't it? Ughhh.........taste is such a subjective thing. 10 people can eat the same thing and 9 will love it and 1 will hate it.

I agree about the refrigeration. Do your cakes need to be refrigerated? I know you usually bake from scratch and like the PP said butter cakes don't do well in the fridge, especially if they're not allowed to come to room temperature before serving.

I think you handled her e-mail very well, it doesn't sound like she's asking for a refund, she's offering feedback, which is a good thing.

I wouldn't call any other clients about this. If you do want feedback in the future you could offer a little comment card discount. If they fill out the card and mail it back to you, they receive 5% off their next order or something.

Don't beat yourself up over this.
(((((hugs)))))
Deb icon_smile.gif

kellertur Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 7:40pm
post #7 of 36

My cakes do not require refrigeration, I just suggested it because lately everyone is ordering cakes days before they are to be consumed. I believe she actually ended up storing it in the basement... which is why (before I left) I mentioned wrapping the box in plastic wrap. I suggested refrigerating it so they wouldn't blame me if they left the cake out uncovered, and it dried out... guess that didn't matter after all...

I've never heard of having to serve room temperture cakes... I'll keep this in mind in the future,though. I was brought up on my Grandmothers scratch depression cake and it was always refrigerated and SUPER moist, sticky actually and very chocolately... icon_confused.gif I guess we learn everyday...

The email seemed kind, but my husband thought it was a bit cutting...I'm not going to think that way right now...

Customer comment cards? I like that... would anyone have a sample, please? icon_smile.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 7:46pm
post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadianChick

if she ate it while it was still cold, the solidity of the butter and the muting of the flavours that refrigeration causes would make her think it was dry and bland.

Cake is always at its best at room temp if the fillings/icings will tolerate it.

Did you tell her to keep it refrigerated until serving, or until 2 hours before serving??




I wouldn't be surprised if this was the problem. I didn't realize how much of a difference it made until I ate one of my favorite cakes straight out of the refrigerator and I thought it was awful. It seemed grainy and didn't have much flavor. Once it was room temp, the texture was nice and the flavors were right. Since then, I always tell my customers to take it out about 2 hours before they want to serve it because it'll taste much better at room temp.

But I'm sorry about your complaint. I live in fear of when this happens to me. It hasn't yet, but I know it will some day. It always hurts, but if you know you make a good product, try to chock it up to one of those things that just happen sometimes. I can't tell you how many times I've had a meal at a restaurant that I thought would be delicious, but then was just okay.

She doesn't sound like she's angling for a refund to me, or she would have already asked for one.

Chin up!!

crazycaker Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 7:49pm
post #9 of 36

Hi -- I am sorry this happened. Like you, I seem to zero in on the one negative comment, and ignore all the good ones!

I agree with the suggestion for the room temp cake. Also, it may be she cut the cake, left the "open end" out at the party all day (perhaps it was next to a smoky grill or something), and then cut off a little slice of the end to snack on. Yes, a butter cake can be a bit dry if left out like that. Especially if she just cut off a tiny bit to snack on (this is in NO way to criticize you). I had a customer who did this, and wondered why the cake tasted "fantastic" at the wedding, but then, 2 days later, she ate a piece that was sitting out on a plate in her kitchen. She found it "dry." What a surprise. icon_confused.gif

With the ho-ho-hostess-type products out there, it may be some customers have not learned ways of keeping baked goods fresh (covered cake plates...or saran wrap!)

Maybe add something to your website or packaging that says "best stored in closed container." It always helps to have something in writing.

Come to think of it, I'm going to add that to my labels too! thumbs_up.gif

Hope this helps. Again -- no criticism of you at all implied!

bananabread Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 7:59pm
post #10 of 36

If she was complaining, did she returned the cake to you so you could tasted?

kellertur Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 8:28pm
post #11 of 36

No, infact I wish she had returned a piece for me to try... that would have been really helpful. I didn't even consider that... she said "we were disappointed...", so I'm assuming other people complained??? icon_confused.gif

It wasn't a butter cake, it was a chocolate cake infused with caramel coffee. ( Turtle Mocha ).

I have NO idea, why a cake comment is such a personal dig, when other kinds of negative comments don't bother me at all. icon_confused.gif There's not much I can do now, I suppose, but kick myself in A$$... icon_redface.gificon_lol.gificon_cry.gificon_confused.gif

summernoelle Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 9:15pm
post #12 of 36

I believe that taste and moisture is very subjective.

One time had a client tell me in a similar way that my cake was very dry. Which surprised me because everyone else has always raved about how moist they are and like you, I always taste my scraps. I had never had a negative taste review before.

After the sting wore off, I realized that where she had complained (on one of those internet rating sites) that she had complained about several other people, all on the same day. Using all CAPS and leaving nasty reviews. The verdict? She was a miserable person with nothing better to do than leave bad reviews on the internet.

You know if most of your clients are happy or not, and what your cakes taste like. If the scraps were good, then I believe you and that taste was just subjective.

kellertur Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 9:34pm
post #13 of 36

The weirdest part of this: We had emailed about 15 times back and forth about what they wanted, etc. and in one of the early emails I mentioned how to properly store a cake to prevent it drying out. One of which was refrigeration, and the other being tightly wrapping box in saran wrap. I wrote: "no one likes dry cake... make sure to properly store the cake before and after consumption." This one bit me in the butt... icon_redface.gif

(I thought the filling (real caramel flavored BC) and icing (real vanilla BC) were fantastic, but again, subjective right?)

That said~ Maybe the cake was dry to her (and her guests...), I guess I'll never know. I am not a person who likes to live in uncertainty within these issues. I like mystery, but not this kind. Trust is not something that comes easy for me, but I guess I'll take her word for it and next time add more liquid, or cook a few less minutes... icon_confused.gif In all fairness, I feel bad if she really didn't like my cake. icon_sad.gif

costumeczar Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 9:43pm
post #14 of 36

It might have been the refrigeration...I had one bride buy two sheet cakes to use along with her wedding cake, and she called to tell me that some of her guests had said that their cake was dry. She said that she didn't understand why, though, because she and her husband tasted the "dry" cake and they said that it was delicious.

Turns out the reception site had stored the sheet cakes in the fridge, served it cold, then by the time the bride tried it after the reception it had warmed up to room temp. There was nothing wrong with the cake, it's just that the geniuses at the venue served it straight from the refrigerator.

topaz176 Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 9:53pm
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

Hi Kristi,

This side of the business sucks doesn't it? Ughhh.........taste is such a subjective thing. 10 people can eat the same thing and 9 will love it and 1 will hate it.

I wouldn't call any other clients about this. If you do want feedback in the future you could offer a little comment card discount. If they fill out the card and mail it back to you, they receive 5% off their next order or something.

Don't beat yourself up over this.
(((((hugs)))))
Deb icon_smile.gif








I agree,
Do not worry yourself over one customer.
You can not please everybody.
I know we try our best to please everyone.
If you made this cake before and had the same people re-order, then for sure I would not make it a issue to ask for feedback.

DebBTX Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 10:13pm
post #16 of 36

I'm sorry this happened to you.

Your cakes sound delicious.

-Debbie B.

__Jamie__ Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 10:30pm
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadianChick

if she ate it while it was still cold, the solidity of the butter....




I find this to be true. I always keep chilled and take out according to distance of delivery and try to gauge when, after I drop it off, will it actually be cut and served, accounting for fillings like real lemon curd and other scratch fillings.

bananabread Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 10:33pm
post #18 of 36

another thing you can do, is, when you receive a future order, make one small for you, and do exactly what she told you she did, so you can try the cake and check is she was right or not. Not always can you please everybody, Don´t worry I think nobody knows that we work vry hard to make a cake, but I wish you the best and don¨t worry for the bad comments, because that makes you feel that you don¨t know how to do the things. Cheer up.

__Jamie__ Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 10:52pm
post #19 of 36

Whew...if I made an extra cake everytime I did an order I'd be much fatter than I am now! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

Seriously, you know your recipes, you know what they taste like, you know what they look like and how they feel when you're done. You've put your time in as far as quality control goes. Everyonce in awhile I make a few cuppies on the side when batter is left over, but in general, in the oven, outta the oven, decorate...to the client.

One person's delicious to die for moist as all get out.....is another's gross, dry, ewwww, ICK!

Look at the opinions on both sides of the SMBC icing camp, for example. icon_smile.gif

kellertur Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 10:54pm
post #20 of 36

This was probably a dumb A$$ thing to do, but it's driving me crazy... I can't please everyone, but I hate the thought of someone paying lots of money for something they don't like... so I sent this in an email. (I hope they don't visit this site, because it won't be hard to figure out I'm talking about their order..) icon_redface.gif (I'm just trying to learn).

"I just wanted to try and figure out what went wrong with your cake.
I take pride in my cakes, so naturally your feedback is very important to me. I've never before had anyone tell me my cakes were dry, not flavorful ~ only the contrary. I rely on repeat customers and word of mouth, and am very sorry for your experience/disappointment. I wish I could try the leftover cake myself so I can avoid this happening to anyone in the future.

Can you please describe the texture of your cake? How was it stored? Was it warmed to room temperature prior to consumption? What were the flavor issues with the filling/icing? If you are willing and have time, whatever you can tell me would help tremendously. Like I said, I take pride in my work and want to deliver a great product, not just a pretty one. "
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~ I'm letting it go after this... (hmmm... letting go? What's that? icon_rolleyes.gif ) icon_smile.gif

DebBTX Posted 7 Jun 2009 , 11:17pm
post #21 of 36

It sounds like a nice email that shows you really want to do your best for your customers. It is asking for information that will help her and you think through this.

-Debbie B.

kellertur Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 7:30pm
post #22 of 36

On a better note:
Today I received an email from a different customer (different cake) telling me: "the cake was a BIG hit, everyone loved the design!"

(Is this a secret code for: Your cake sucked, but we loved the design. icon_confused.gif)

... Does it mean anything that this customer mentioned only the design, and not flavor? (or has temporary paranoia set in... icon_redface.gif )

Thanks.

__Jamie__ Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 7:34pm
post #23 of 36

Ummmm, yes. Now you are getting a bit paranoid. icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

When I get a compliment, great, when I hear nothing at all, it doesn't mean they didn't like it. I don't hear from the majority of people, but I don't expect them to ever contact me again....except to order their next cake! icon_smile.gif

topaz176 Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 12:49am
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes

On a better note:
Today I received an email from a different customer (different cake) telling me: "the cake was a BIG hit, everyone loved the design!"

(Is this a secret code for: Your cake sucked, but we loved the design. icon_confused.gif)

... Does it mean anything that this customer mentioned only the design, and not flavor? (or has temporary paranoia set in... icon_redface.gif )

Thanks.






Yes, you are being paranoid now.
A big hit means a big hit.
Just enjoy your compliment.
Most people do not take the time to sent a email back to compliment. They feel they already paid you for the job.
Just an example : When you buy a dessert or food take away do you go back to compliment the business ?
To me just a repeat customer means they loved what they got.

cupcakefrost Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 1:19am
post #25 of 36

I can tell you are really passionate about what you do, and it's good to know that you care so much about your customers' satisfaction. Don't beat yourself up too much; like someone said, not everyone will like every cake. It may just be her tastebuds are out of whack, but most other people would have enjoyed it. So, I know it hurts because you are a perfectionist. . . like me icon_smile.gif. . . but I'm sure one unsatisfied customer will not ruin your reputation. Best of luck!

kellertur Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 1:37am
post #26 of 36

Thank you for helping me put things into perspective. I appreciate it. icon_smile.gif

I went back and re-read all the emails, and feel much better now. It was a risk from the beginning. I had forgotten that they left the flavor choices up to me...

they wrote:
"And we were thinking you could use whatever filling you think would taste the most delicious with the mocha! Let me know what you think. We would like your advice as to what you think would go best together and what seems to get rave reviews from your customers!"

I did tell them what I was making ahead of time~
They responded with:
"The caramel buttercream sounds PERFECT! That's a great idea. So, the final choice is.....Mocha cake with Caramel Buttercream filling!! I can't wait to see it, and now...I can't wait to TASTE it!!!"

I found 2 emails I wrote explaining how to properly store the cake to keep it from drying out, since it was being delivered the day before the party.

Anyway, I'm using this as a learning experience...maybe in the future offer a tasting if the flavor decisions are left up to me.

mombabytiger Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 11:50am
post #27 of 36

When someone criticizes something that you've put a great deal of time and loving attention to, it's very much like hearing that you have a funny looking baby. Actors say that they don't always remember their good reviews, but they never, ever forget a bad one!

I think you just need to let it go, as hard as that is. If it is posted on yelp.com type site, have someone post a rebuttal review saying that the OP is nuts - yours are the moistest and best-tasting cakes ever!

Don't let it bring you down!

350BakerStreet Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 11:38pm
post #28 of 36

I think as perfectionists, we cling to the negative comments more because we like to learn from our mistakes and keep building on, well, perfection. I totally feel your pain. I actually had one lady tell my mom (she worked with her) that she could have made my cookies, at home, by herself! I still have a hard time getting over that one.

Anyways, I think you handled it very nicely and I'm sure she knows that you have done your best and will most likely come back because you've been so accommodating. No worries icon_smile.gif

kellertur Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 1:48am
post #29 of 36

Thank you for sharing your experiences. icon_smile.gif

I have not heard back from this customer since I emailed them asking to clarify the issue so I could try and figure out what might have gone wrong...

SugaredUp Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 2:48am
post #30 of 36

K2Cakes, I feel sorry for you, because I'm a lot like you and I know how you can be your own worst enemy at times. Are you a Cancer, by chance? LOL

So, I agree with the temp theory. I disagree that just because someone complains means they wanted a refund. It sounded like a sincere complaint, again, probably due to keepin in the fridge.

Don't worry about your reputation! You have made it very clear to her that you value your customers' feedback, which, in the end, will leave her with a good feeling about you. She may even order again. This is a rare type of customer service attitude these days...

Good luck and stop worrying! (easier said than done!) The cake probably tasted awesome anyway!

Amber

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