Angry Customers/bad Reviews

Business By ButtercupMama Updated 13 Sep 2009 , 12:55pm by splymale

ButtercupMama Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 11:09pm
post #1 of 19

What do you do when people get on these nightmarish review sites, and rip you a new one? It's completely horrifying; they can say whatever they want. Nice for freedom of speech, bad for psychos.

The thing about reviews are, I get customers galore who are beyond thrilled with their cakes. They go crazy over them!

About one in 500 seem to have a problem they cannot deal with, and exhibit some really shameful behavior, in my lobby, or more commonly by phone/e-mail. I SO understand about some sort of legit problem. I just want them to try to calm down and be kind. I will do whatever I can for them if they would just be nice and treat me like a human being.

Problem is, the happy people don't usually review; but the pissed off ones... well they MAKE time. Lots of time. It seems they have all day in fact. *sigh*

Today, a guy told me he was going to give me bad reviews. His wife ordered a cake for pick up at 1:45, and he showed up at 12:30. He threw a fit that would put a toddler to shame. His event wasn't until the next day, so no hurry, but WOW.

I told him I would get it done as quickly as possible, but this did not appease him; he demanded to know if it was still going to look as it should if I was going to hurry through it. There's more, but let's just say this guy was intolerable.
When it was done (early) he asked for a discount. (Which I had just told my clerk, "this guy is gonna ask for a discount") If he had been sweet, I SOOO would have given him a discount. Just to be super-nicey-nice. But I just couldn't reward that unwarranted fit-throwing.

He then told me I'd better check the reviews later. He was this huge guy, with this New York rudeness (sorry new yorkers, but you may know well those types Im tawwkin abowt.)

Blah. I really want to put up my own review; most of them don't say things like "the cupcakes were a little dry", they say things like, "cake was completely inedible, not one of the guests ate it and we threw it out". WTF? If no one ate it, how did they all know it was so bad?? I think people get mad and then lash out in some odd way. It's okay to not like us. But the hate and vicious nature of some is downright scary.

The general public is really making me sick to my stomach. There should be a review site about my customers.... most super nice! Some zero stars.

Sorry so long, I'm in a bad sad way right now.

18 replies
all4cake Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 11:22pm
post #2 of 19

Your cake will be ready at 1:30 as ordered(If he stayed longer....sir, the longer I stand here with you, the longer it will take me to get your cake you want your cake ready at the time on the order form or not?)

I sooooooooo know how you feel! Oh, and they seem to cut up even more so when they have a friend or (I kid you not....)a guest (out of town one too) like they're trying to show off or impress them with their ways of 'handling' the situation.

You are much nicer than I in that you considered giving him a discount even though his cake wasn't late.

juliebold Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 11:24pm
post #3 of 19

Peoples attuitudes just stink. I laugh because before I did cakes full time, I was a real estate agent. I am so tired of people thinking they could call and demand me or my time at a drop of a hat. And if I was not available bad mouth the heck out of me. And when you do something nice or go out of your way nobody can say thank you. Alot of people have what I call the me first attitude and will knock some over to be first. These same people would never demand these things or their doctor or attorney. I always try and remember what my grandmother said treat people the way you want to be treated. I think if we all thought of how we would want to be treated, people would just be nicer to each other.

kansaslaura Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 11:27pm
post #4 of 19

People can be so mean anymore. There's no need for what that man displayed. Is there anyway you can pull your name from the review site?

Unless someone is threatening to harm my family, I can't imagine getting that ugly and mean about anything!

sadsmile Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 11:28pm
post #5 of 19

That is aweful! Places like that should allow bakers to post order slips and receipts to prove he picked it up early and had nuffin-at-all to bark about!!!

emiyeric Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 11:46pm
post #6 of 19

Would it be entirely out of the question to e-mail your good customers and ask them to post a review, in exchange for a $10 reabte or something along those lines? IT would benefit them, encourage their repeat customer-ship, and off-set the bad reviews a bit ... I'm so sorry the vocal minority has taken it upon themselves to outshine the satisfied, decent majority. I hopr you're feeling a little better!

BeeBoos-8599_ Posted 12 Sep 2009 , 11:57pm
post #7 of 19

I am a bit confused. Where is it that these reviews are being left? Is it on your own web site? If so, then delete the dang things. Or take the option to leave a review off the site. You can allways have an area on the site that people can leave you reffrences so to speak.

I send a thank you note with every order. That thanks you card tells the clients that they can use it as a discount toward thier next order. It also says that if they are unhappy with anything regarding thier order that I would appreciate them calling me ASAP so I can correct any issues and that if they are happy with the order that I would appreciate them taking a moment to leave a comment on my web site. I also include some business cards and ask that they pass them out to anyone who would be in need of my services.

I have NEVER had anything but posative comments left by a client so deleteing one is not something that I have done but heck it is your site so feel free.

I do want to offer that if you tend to get a large number of negative reviews that maybe you need to look at why you are recieveing the,. I do agree that the client you spoke about was totally out of line. Remember, you do have the right to refuse service to ANYONE.

costumeczar Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 12:44am
post #8 of 19

I had some little twerp post a "review" of my cakes that was pretty insulting. Turns out, she NEVER showed up for a tasting appointment, so she was either confusing me with someone else, or was just an idiot. If the website won't let you respond publicly to the review (some will), you can email the website administrator, tell them what happened, and ask them to remove the review. They usually will.

ButtercupMama Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 12:44am
post #9 of 19

Let's see,
Merchant Circle
Angies List
Parents Connect

These are not wedding sites, and they are just the ones off the top of my head. These are sites at which you can review businesses. They don't have anything to do with my business; I am listed as automatically as you would be in a phone book. I don't have a place for folks to leave their feedback on my website, otherwise of course I would delete the yellers.

And trust me, I am trying to troubleshoot here. I realize that bad reviews can mean we are doing something wrong. But most of them are ones I recognize, who originally had a single complaint, which snowballs into a horrible review! They completely fabricate all this stuff that never happened to make it look really bad because they are mad about one little thing. And why shouldn't they take out their anger on my business? No one is stopping them, and it makes them feel like they stuck it to me that the writing on their cake was the wrong shade of blue. I kid you not.
A few state that we have bad customer service. (Or you could call it "Policies") These are people who maybe tried to change their cake flavor at the last minute, or who called twice and spoke to two different employees and got two different phone quotes (two completely different cake designs, duh), the list goes on. I've done the best I can to train everyone, and these are not listless teenage employees!

If something is wrong with a cake, I do want to know, but I don't want to be beat up. I am a reasonable honest business person. I never give the hard sell. I know we can't be everything to everyone, and if I can't help them, I refer them to someone who can.

This guy today AND his wife who ordered both complained about the $50 price tag on their cake, but ordered it anyway.
He complained before ordering about us being a 30 minute drive from his home. I gave him the name of a closer bakery.
They called back and ordered from us anyway. Don't do me any favors buddy, if you're going to come in and complain some more about your drive time and ask for a discount! We sell less expensive cakes... buy one of those! Go to a closer bakery! What the heck?

ButtercupMama Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 12:47am
post #10 of 19

And speaking of reviews...

Google your company name and the word reviews.
You might also throw in the name of your city if you have a common sounding business name.

AND, I have checked reviews on other bakeries in my large city; many of them have bad reviews clearly written by po'd customers as well. I'm not the minority. icon_sad.gif

snarkybaker Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 2:05am
post #11 of 19

We have an even worse problem. On one review site, which shall remain nameless, a kitchen manager that I fired has gone on and made up fake reviews about how crazy I am and how awful my staff is etc. I know it is him because he has a little alcohol problem and has said to another of my employees well, I showed her...blah blah blah.

I emailed said site and pointed out that all of these anonymous reviews came from one particular IP address, had only ever reviewed MY business, and then never logged on again. The refused to take them down.

I have half a mind to just start copying the thank you notes from my other clients and make up my own reviews. On the sites like Yelp, that verify their user IDs, we have a great reputation.

The simple truth of the matter is that people who are peeved, for whatever reason, are more likely to go on a review site than those who are happy...because those who are happy HAVE LIVES.

It's just a part of doing business.

CelebrationsbyLori Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 2:26am
post #12 of 19

I actually had this happen on It really freaked me out! The girl said I was rude to her and told her the design she wanted was terrible, then the cake was dry, on and on. I checked the date that she listed for her wedding and I had never done her wedding. It was a weekend that I had NO wedding cake orders! I contaced the site, told them I could prove that I wasn't the baker she was talking about and they sent me an e-mail a few days later saying they had reviewed the situation and removed the review from my profile! I never did find out if she had just confused me with some other business or it was a total hoax! Some sites are fair, so it's always worth a try to dispute the bad review. In the end though, some people are just PEOPLE thumbsdown.gif

littlecake Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 2:28am
post #13 of 19

you'll be ok, every biz has these weirdos to contend with. these days if i sense theres gonna be a problem, like if they are already complaining or being combative when they are trying to order, i'll refuse service to them.

i had to call the police on one lady a few years ago.

BeeBoos-8599_ Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 2:31am
post #14 of 19

OK, I have a better understanding now.
After 25 years in retail management I can tell you that you will loose 5 clients for every 1 pissed off person that is out there spouting off.

I am not sure how you go about booking your clients but if at all possible I would allways meet them face to face so you can get a good idea of the type of person you are dealing with. If they seem like someone who is going to be a PITA then simply tell them you are not able to accomodate thier order for that date or whatever. Be sure tho explain that you are not perfect and that sometimes things go wrong but that thier order is as important to you are is it were your own.

I think if you have a chance to meet people eye to eye you start to build a relationship and people are less likely to go nuts when something goes badly then if they just placed an order over the phone.

Whenever there has ever been an issue with a customer be it in this business or the many others I have owned or worked at. The first rule is to listen and not defend. Never give excuses for why something went wrong. I let them get it off thier chest then my response is allways "What can I do tp make you happy today"? This defuses them and they realize that I will make it right even if I know that they are in the wrong. It is really hard to do but you have to for the sake of your business.

I hope this helps.

chachagyrl22 Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 2:50am
post #15 of 19

I am so sorry you are going through this. I work at a restraunt and I have experienced how mean people can be. Half the time they act that way because they think they are going to get something for free. I'm so glad you didn't give him a discount. You would have never been able to get rid of him. I don't think the negativity will affect your buisness. I don't think people will/will not choose your bakery soely based on reviews.

indydebi Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 3:44am
post #16 of 19
Originally Posted by emiyeric

Would it be entirely out of the question to e-mail your good customers and ask them to post a review, in exchange for a $10 reabte or something along those lines?

I have a sister in law who works in marketing and during one conversation about some ideas I could do, she mentioned customer reviews, but warned me if I pay them ANYTHING for the review, then I have to disclose that they were compensated to say nice things about me. So be careful on this one. I'm not pretending to know what the laws are, just sharing a conversation I had with someone who does this kind of thing for a living.

I also had a phony negative review on weddingwire and they promptly removed the review. I had a bride post something she was not happy with (not a biggie, but I felt it left the wrong impression). I contacted weddingwire to ask how I could respond with add'l info and they quicky responded with instructions on how to do that.

I find weddingwire to be VERY responsive to their vendors.

emlashlee Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 4:22am
post #17 of 19

I'm just curious - if a client receives a cake and they aren't happy with it, how can you fix the problem? I mean, you can't give them a new cake or change the color right there. What do you do when they aren't happy with how it turned out? (Hoping this never happens to me, but I'm sure it will at some point. It's good to be prepared.) icon_smile.gif

mcaulir Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 7:28am
post #18 of 19

Sorry this happened to you; it's awful. Seems to me that it's one of the downsides of the information age.

We like its conveniences, like easy advertising, discussion forums etc, but not the easy way in which annoyed or irrational customers can jump on their computers so quickly and ruin our reputations.

As a teacher, I find websites like ratemyteacher terrifying. One thing for a student who you've made stay in for not doing homework complain about you to their friends, another for them to jump on their computer and make up all manner of lies and ruin your reputation nationally! I'm always checking to see if I'm on there!

As another issue, it seems there's always people on here badmouthing a supply company for the service they've received, when it could well have been a bad day for the person on the phone, or the only mistake in shipping the company's made all year. Just a thought.

splymale Posted 13 Sep 2009 , 12:55pm
post #19 of 19

I am so with you right now. Last night a customer emailed me and said the cake was dry, it looked and tasted like it had been sitting around for days. It was an early am delivery, I finished baking & decorating the cake the evening before, finishing at 12:30 am. Whatever. I think people are so used to boxed cake mixes w/ pudding in them, they have forgotten what a homeade cake tastes like. Anyway, it does help to know that regardless of the size of your business(mine is a small home based one), everyone has to deal with these people at some point.
Forget them & remember all of the wonderful comments & happy customers you have had.

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