Ok... I Need A Backbone....

Business By jenmat Updated 29 Jul 2009 , 5:05pm by cakeschmake

jenmat Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 4:21am
post #1 of 14

I really do.
Last evening, which was a SUNDAY, I got a call from a customer inquiring about some cakes for a family reunion she was planning 1.5 hours away that she wanted DELIVERED. I spent 45 MINUTES of my Sunday evening on the phone with her speaking about design and logistics, and then hung up and proceeded to give her a quote immediately via email (with a PITA charge- at least I have that right.)
She went to her favorite bakery this morning, then emailed me tonight with the news that she was going with them, she loved them, and couldn't believe her luck that they could fit her in. It sounds as if she never intended on going with me at all.
SO, I'm not very upset about losing her business, but I'm so mad at myself for letting her take up my evening because I'm too nice!

My question, besides venting, is how do you grow a backbone in this business? I charge WAY too little and am rolling out a slight price increase this next week. I am totally fearing telling my customers! Help!

13 replies
__Jamie__ Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 4:28am
post #2 of 14

Well, no one would ever know if I ever did a price increase, because a. I don't have set pricing anywhere, and b. I price every single cake individually. I can think of maybe 2 cakes I've ever done that were exactly the same size and price.

I'm pretty quick with a quote. I'm very visual, and can't get a lot done talking to someone. I can handle spending 20 minutes composing an email with links and general info and a ballpark price. If they want to play after that we start talking contract and deposit. They usually say great! Let's do it.....or I don't hear back.

CakeForte Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 4:36am
post #3 of 14

For the reason you just described...I won't talk on the phone. I have a minimum order on my site, and if they want a quote, they need an appointment. This weeds out the "shoppers". I still don't get every single order, but my booking rate has increased and I'm not wasting as much time as I was on the phone.

Out of town clients need to fill out a detailed online quote form before I will send over a price via email.

indydebi Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 10:24am
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeForte

For the reason you just described...I won't talk on the phone. I have a minimum order on my site, and if they want a quote, they need an appointment. This weeds out the "shoppers".



Agree. i probably spend less than 5 minutes with someone on the phone. Just long enough to say "Have you seen my website (where pricing is prominately posted)" and "Give me yoru email and I'll confirm our appointment.'

jenmat Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 12:43pm
post #5 of 14

I think that is good advice, but these were for $30 sheet cakes. I was not going to take up an evening this week with a consult for sheet cakes. She wanted 59 names on 2 sheet cakes.
The celebration cakes are really the problem for me. I don't like charging extra, so I end up getting burned. Wedding cake clients are usually eager to set up a time and most brides are very comfortable with technology, so email works very well.

I think I'll change my message to include consulting my website and encouraging emails. Still have to deal with people who don't email and want to talk to a real person, though.

CakeForte Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 2:10pm
post #6 of 14

That's a business kink you'll have to work out. To me, I see an easy solution, put stuff like ( standard smaller party cakes) that on an order form, make them pay up front, then call them to confirm details. Or put a minimum order.

I don't understand why you don't like making money? lol

indydebi Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 2:11pm
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

I don't like charging extra,......




Charging "extra"? What does that mean?

sweetcakes Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 4:00pm
post #8 of 14

i have a distinctive ring phone number that i use for my business line. Sometimes i get people calling at 10pm 11pm at night on this number so i know it is a cake or class enquiry. i dont answer it and let it go to voice mail. but hell i would really love to call them back at 6am when (a bakery really opens) not mine though to answer their question. Wonder how they would like that. They obviously think im open late at night. I haven;t had the back bone to actually do that yet, but its getting stronger!!

jenmat Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 6:29pm
post #9 of 14

indydebi- I don't like charging extra when they want extra decorations, or custom work. My new pricing structure begins to take into account the time "extras" take on a cake- fondant babies, gumpaste flowers, railroad tracks, etc. I know customers love it when they give me a theme and I run with it. But now they'll have to pay if they want me "running." And I'm not looking forward to hearing "well, you never USED to charge me when I wanted something special..."
The bottom line is we all train our customers to expect certain things. I'm now going to have to retrain customers and if I can't even put boundaries around my Sunday evenings, I'm going to need a little more spine.... sigh.....

indydebi Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 8:26pm
post #10 of 14

jen, now I get what you mean. Thanks!

In my years of corporate america customer service management, my hardest job was training my new CSR's in how to train their customers. It's hard to do, no matter what level you're doing it on.

marmalade1687 Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 11:09pm
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcakes

i have a distinctive ring phone number that i use for my business line. Sometimes i get people calling at 10pm 11pm at night on this number so i know it is a cake or class enquiry. i dont answer it and let it go to voice mail. but hell i would really love to call them back at 6am when (a bakery really opens) not mine though to answer their question. Wonder how they would like that. They obviously think im open late at night. I haven;t had the back bone to actually do that yet, but its getting stronger!!




I don't have a special ring for business, but at certain hours of the day, I let my voice mail pickup. My family and friends know to start talking, and if we are there and available, we will answer. I don't answer customer inquiries at off-hours - that was a rule that I had to learn when I started working from home (and one of the most difficult to learn!!) icon_rolleyes.gif

And yes, sweetcakes, I have thought about calling at 6am when I start my day too... icon_rolleyes.gif we must be on the same wavelength!

Nchanted1 Posted 29 Jul 2009 , 12:08am
post #12 of 14

I almost never answer my business phone. I call back in a timely manner.You can have your answering machine help you with resetting your prices. Record a message that says something like...Thanks for calling Mimi's cakes. All our cakes are custom designed, fresh from the oven using the very best ingredients, and start at $50. PLease leave a message ans we will call you as soon as possible.

This works because it's easier to record it when there's no irate customer on the other end, everyone gets the exact same information, and if they aren't interested, they just hang up. Leave the message on for at least a month. HTH!

Nchanted1 Posted 29 Jul 2009 , 12:08am
post #13 of 14

I almost never answer my business phone. I call back in a timely manner.You can have your answering machine help you with resetting your prices. Record a message that says something like...Thanks for calling Mimi's cakes. All our cakes are custom designed, fresh from the oven using the very best ingredients, and start at $50. PLease leave a message ans we will call you as soon as possible.

This works because it's easier to record it when there's no irate customer on the other end, everyone gets the exact same information, and if they aren't interested, they just hang up. Leave the message on for at least a month. HTH!

cakeschmake Posted 29 Jul 2009 , 5:05pm
post #14 of 14

and I thought I was the only one who didnt answer my phone icon_smile.gif

I almost always let it go to voicemail if I dont recognize the incoming number... my outgoing message says to leave me a detailed message or send me an email.. and I get back to them quickly.

This way I can get an idea of what they are looking for and think more about the pricing before I call or email them back.
I prefer to deal with email cause I am no good at pricing cakes right off the top of my head, I usually under price if I don't have time to think about it.

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