I'm just getting started (sent in paperwork for my inspection, which I hope will be scheduled soon) but have concerns about cakes I've already done for customers. I have not specifically had negative feedback, I'm just worried that they were not satisfied (one of them with good reason).
Here are the situations: first was 2 cakes delivered on the same day to 1 customer. They were b-day cakes for her little girl and, although I think they turned out pretty well, I was a bit concerned that the doll cake might not have cooked perfectly (and completely) all the way thru since I didn't use a baking core. I wished I had afterward, since this is such a tall, thick cake when you use a doll pan. Anyway, despite the apparent satisfaction I saw/ heard when I delivered this and the other cake, when I followed up with a phonecall (ended up leaving a voicemail) and asked her to please send me pictures of the cakes, I have not heard anything more from her.
I'm wondering if that means there was something wrong with the cakes. Silly me for not stopping to take pics after all that work!! They turned out great on the outside, but again, I'm worried about the inside...
Second situation was with a cake I made for another friend's son: a piano cake, with black buttercream and strawberry filling (the cake itself was strawberry too). It looked great when it left my house, but the filling I made was too thin and began oozing out the sides once it got to its destination (pic is attached). Cleanup was not easy, but it was somewhat salvageable (though some filling turned black as it oozed out and tinted the red BC in the base layer)...they were, of course, very cool about it and took lots of pics of it anyway.
Anyway, I had successfully made another cake for the same family a month or so before, so I just hope they were sufficiently pleased with this one to help me out with referrals. Ideally I'd like to have more moms as my target market, and I would have thought I'd hear from some more by now...
I've considered e-mailing these customers with a "satisfaction survey" but don't know if that's a good way to get honest feedback at this point. Also don't know if I could / should make it anonymous so they feel comfortable answering. And is there a good incentive to complete such a survey? Maybe I offer them one order of cake truffles for their time? (Again, that would mean it's not anonymous)...
Thanks for your help - I wonder what everyone else does to get references for future customers from folks who may be less than satisfied (or, ideally, are perfectly satisfied but just haven't been in touch with me about it). Even when you KNOW they're satisfied, what do you do to follow up with them and create new business through them? Thanks!
You worry too much. Don't beg for compliments.
Not everyone has the inclination to jump up and down and clap their hands and swoon over a cake. To most people, it's just cake. Lots of folks don't even take pics.
Compliments will come in due time, and when they do you'll be extra glad!