Help Me With My Reponse,please? (Long)

Business By CakeMommyTX Updated 30 Sep 2009 , 7:07pm by Motta

CakeMommyTX Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:13pm
post #1 of 33

I rent a kitchen by the hour, and it's not cheap, so to keep my costs down I don't do office work while I'm in the kitchen, I return calls if I'm home by a decent time and if not I email them when I get home (sometimes at 3am, when a phone call would not be good).

Can I explain this to a customer who is upset I didnt call by the deadline she gave me?

I really want to tell her that if I had called at her given time then I would of had to charge her 10$ for our phone call to cover my expenses.

Does she really want to pay me 10$ every time we talk on the phone?

She instructed me to NOT EMAIL her, so I didnt and didnt call either because I missed her "deadline" and she said she would find someone else if I didnt call by noon (didnt read the email until way past noon anyways).
Well sorry lady I was busy working on other peoples paid orders, orders that they placed with more then a 1 1/2 weeks notice,not to mention I worked 18 hours that day with barely a bathroom break.

So now she emails again today upset that I've left her scrambling for another baker, well she emailed Thursday with a noon deadline and it's Tuesday so she's had 3 days (not including Sunday) to find someone else .

The thing is I can do the order and had all intentions of emailing her back that night when I did all my other emails but she told me not to, and since I missed her deadline I didnt call the next day either because she said she would find some one else.

So what do I do, suck it up ,apologize ,kiss some butt and get the order?

Or (what I want to do) explain to her I was simply following her wishes and not contacting her via email? I was unavailable to take/make phone calls during the day and after I missed her deadline I assumed she would follow through on her threat and find another baker?


Is this all my fault?
Do I charge my customers more just so I can take phone calls during the day?
Should I stop working on a paid cake for a customer who ordered well in advance to work on a order that's last minute?

Sorry it's so long, I have the cake part down it's the people part I have trouble with...

32 replies
CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:29pm
post #2 of 33

I would contact her and say that you were following HER instructions - do not email, call by Noon on this date, or, as she said, she would find another decorator. Since you were unable to comply with her restrictions, you assumed she would go ahead and find another decorator, like she said she would.

Do you have a website or business cards? If so, that's where you can state your 'office hours' are from X:00 to X:00 - so that's when you return emails and phone calls.

You are not at fault if you comply with the customer's (or potential customer's) wishes on this part. She set the guidelines and you followed them. Her loss. DO NOT beg forgiveness, apologize or even take her as a client. She's a hassle waiting to happen.

Here's what I would say:

Your initial email to me (attached below) included the specific instructions that I was to not email you back, and that you required confirmation by way of a telephone call by noon on Tuesday, September 29th, or you would find another decorator. Due to business constraints, I was unable to contact you within your requested timeframe. Hence, I assumed you would go forward with finding another decorator.

Unfortunately, I am now unable to take your request, as I am completely full for that date/weekend.

*** and make sure you include her original email to you as proof.

Good luck.

(Can you tell I work for lawyers??) icon_lol.gif

all4cake Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:31pm
post #3 of 33

It's not your fault at all. I would do what you're wanting to do...explain. Maybe....offer an apology of sorts that ya'll's schedules didn't allow you to respond within her boundaries.

who is that that keeps repeating that quote...something like...an emergency on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part....whatever it is...now, it is appropriate. I'm sorry, but she sounds like a goon.

Texas_Rose Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:33pm
post #4 of 33

Dear Customer,

As a one-woman bakery, I often do not have a chance to check email until the end of the day. By the time that I read your original email, the "deadline" you gave me to reply had already passed, and you expressly said not to contact you after that time, so I respected your wishes and did not contact you. The majority of my orders are placed well in advance, and there is ample time to sort out the details by phone or email. When I read your original email, I debated whether or not I had time to add your last-minute cake to my already over-full calendar, but when I read through to your deadline, I realized that you had already answered the question for me, and assumed you would be going with a different baker.

Thank You.

all4cake Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:33pm
post #5 of 33

CutiePieCakes-Ontario.....I like that response!!!

moralna Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:33pm
post #6 of 33

CutiePie - great response! Firm but professional.

txnonnie Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:40pm
post #7 of 33

I emphathize with you. Not sure what to say. Sorry you had to encounter this type of behavior.

mixinvixen Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:42pm
post #8 of 33

i can understand working from a kitchen that is a paid by the hour kind of arrangement, but in my opinion, a call was necessary...don't get me wrong, not necessarily that day, but definitely the next day to apologize for the delay and give a professional and simple explanation of the delay.

think about it from her angle: it's not her concern that you rent by the hour...all she is probably thinking is that she ordered a cake a week and a half in advance (most people would be proud of themselves for planning that far ahead!), had a deadline with the designer, and the designer blew her off, not bothering to even call and explain the circumstances of why.

now this may not be the actual way it is on your end, but i have been dismissed by other professions and it has ticked me off. i made sure i lost their number and told others of my experience.

i'm not concerned that santa's flux capacitor goofed on the way to my house, that mrs claus burnt dinner and had to remake the main course, or that the elves lost track of time in the workshop...i just expect my delivery on time when i need it! icon_biggrin.gif

nonnyscakes Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:46pm
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by all4cake

It's not your fault at all. I would do what you're wanting to do...explain. Maybe....offer an apology of sorts that ya'll's schedules didn't allow you to respond within her boundaries.

who is that that keeps repeating that quote...something like...an emergency on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part....whatever it is...now, it is appropriate. I'm sorry, but she sounds like a goon.




icon_biggrin.gif

"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine."

indydebi Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:48pm
post #10 of 33

The problem with living in a technical age is the ASSUMPTIONS people are now making. They ASSUME you read their email the second they send it. They ASSUME when they hear their voicemail that you are NOT driving in the van or babysitting your grandchildren, or otherwise in a time/place that you can reply to them THAT SECOND.

Setting a noon deadline ASSUMES that you get the message prior to noon. That's inconsiderate and rude.

Hubby and I have noticed that with cell phones, people think CALLING a restaurant at 6:00 to scream "HOld my reservation! I'm on my way!" is the same as BEING there at 6:00 for your reservation. It's not. People think CALLING a business at 5:55 to say "Don't close! I"m only 15 minutes away!" will make a business pay overtime to their employees or will enable an employee to leave on time to pick up their child at daycare on time. It won't.

My response:
"Since your message basically said, "respond by noon or forget it", and since I never even GOT your message until after noon, then as instructed, I "forgot it". My assumption is that by 12:05, you were booking another decorator. Thanks for checking with us and let us know how we can help in the future."

(Ok, maybe I'd soften it a little bit but it depends on who else has pi$$ed me off that day! icon_twisted.gif )

LaBellaFlor Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:52pm
post #11 of 33

Tell that person to kiss you a@@...no, I'm joking. She limited herself! And your schedule does not revolve around hers. People need to get a grip. DO NOT apologize and NO, I don't think you should have called her the next day to apologize for not getting back to her. She told you that she would move on if she didn't hear from you, so thats what she needs to do.Texas_Rose & Cutiepie Cakes gave you great responses.

Texas_Rose Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:54pm
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by lees_luv

Quote:
Originally Posted by all4cake

It's not your fault at all. I would do what you're wanting to do...explain. Maybe....offer an apology of sorts that ya'll's schedules didn't allow you to respond within her boundaries.

who is that that keeps repeating that quote...something like...an emergency on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part....whatever it is...now, it is appropriate. I'm sorry, but she sounds like a goon.



icon_biggrin.gif

"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine."




icon_lol.gif I bought a sign that said that at Target and put it up in my front window when I got tired of neighbors asking me for things (and it took me being used by everyone in the complex before I got that fed up) and got my car keyed and a brick thrown against my front door. I've learned now to think it while I'm saying no, but to say no in a more gentle way.

LaBellaFlor Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 2:56pm
post #13 of 33

And I just have to say one more thing (of course) my problem with clients acting the way she did with the deadlines or else, and then getting mad, is they think you are in the SERVANT business, not the SERVICE business. There is a HUGE difference. I'm polite to my waiter, cause he's a person, not a servant! Oh, yeah, and I think you dodged a huge bullet!

Loucinda Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 3:01pm
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Quote:

and I think you dodged a huge bullet!




BINGO!! If she is this much of a PIA over the first contact, just imagine the fun she would be to actually make something for! thumbs_up.gif

all4cake Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:32pm
post #15 of 33

lees_luv, that's it. Thank you.

I meant the quote applies to the situation not that she should quote it to the annoyed person needing a cake.

gottabakenow Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:13pm
post #16 of 33

or
I love you but your emergency is not my crisis!

marmalade1687 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:41pm
post #17 of 33

It may be a good idea to put an auto-response on your email (and voicemail) stating that you will respond to messages in 24 hours - that way you SHOULDN'T have to deal with people expecting you to call/email them back instantly! icon_biggrin.gif

costumeczar Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 7:20pm
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalade1687

It may be a good idea to put an auto-response on your email (and voicemail) stating that you will respond to messages in 24 hours - that way you SHOULDN'T have to deal with people expecting you to call/email them back instantly! icon_biggrin.gif




That's a good idea... I'm on the side of the fence that says if someone says to call them by X time or they'll go somewhere else, and you can't call them by then, you don't need to call them back. They set the time limit on themselves.

cgm_cakes Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 9:08pm
post #19 of 33

What I would do in your shoes:

#1 - I would not take calls while putting in labour time in a rented kitchen - your time there is money and you need to utilize it to every hour of it.

#2 - I would definitely have an explanation on my voicemail that I return calls between such and such a time. I would also have it on my website.

#3 - I would have a) replied to her email when I read it since it was after her deadline already or b) I would have called her the next day I explained why I didn't meet her deadline.

As Indydebi said, people assume we're always reachable and should always be able to take/make a call.

I personally always believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. Even though her email sounded demanding, I don't like to assume people are just being arrogant or b*tchy, maybe she was having an off day and meant to sound more urgent than demanding.

I would be professional, call and give an explanation as to why I was unable to meet her deadline, offer to do the order if I could and if not offer to assist her with future orders. This way I could feel good that I acted professionally and did what I could to satisfy a customer (potential customer) without compromising my integrity.

That is my (rather long) 2 cents worth. icon_smile.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 9:11pm
post #20 of 33

Mensch hates people.

littlecake Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 9:41pm
post #21 of 33

i take every last minute order i can, but i turn about 10 away every week.....you can't do everything....don't worry about it, they'll learn to order earlier if they wanna get in.

don't grieve over every order you miss......they try to make me feel guilty about 50% of the time...you just can't be emotional about it....i just tell them sweetly i can't.

she put in the contact restrictions herself, it wasn't your fault she didn't want you to email her.

if it doesn't work to take phone calls during your precious kitchen times...don't take them, it's your business....run it the way that works best for you.....

they will have you bending over backwards while tapdancing and juggling fire if you let them....i've tried that...it gets old fast.

CakeMommyTX Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 10:24pm
post #22 of 33

Thank you everyone for your input.
Here is what I have saved in my draft folder, is it ok?
I know I don't have to explain myself but it's what came out when I started typing.
Should I hit send?


I apologize for the lack of communication.
I am a one women operation I handle everything from order taking to baking all the way down to mopping the floors.
The end of the week is incredibly hectic as the majority of my business is for the weekend.
My Sundays and Mondays are generally reserved for office work , I had every intention of following up with you and completing your order then. However since I was unable to comply with your deadline I was under the impression you went forth with your plans on finding another decorator to work with.
Once again I apologize for the miss communication, it was never my intention to lead you on.
Thank you,
Jessica




P.S.I went back and re-read our email correspondence it turns out this was the 2nd time she threatened me with finding another decorator. The 1st time was a day after she sent me her first email, that one included a deadline of "by the end of the day".

__Jamie__ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 10:27pm
post #23 of 33

Lol.....thinks she can strongarm you into cheap cake or something. Guaranteed.

CakeMommyTX Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 10:33pm
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

, it's your business....run it the way that works best for you.....




Well that's what upset me the most is the fact that she said that the way I ran my business is "incredibly unprofessional".

Ruth0209 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 10:51pm
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMommyTX

Thank you everyone for your input.
Here is what I have saved in my draft folder, is it ok?
I know I don't have to explain myself but it's what came out when I started typing.
Should I hit send?


I apologize for the lack of communication.
I am a one women operation I handle everything from order taking to baking all the way down to mopping the floors.
The end of the week is incredibly hectic as the majority of my business is for the weekend.
My Sundays and Mondays are generally reserved for office work , I had every intention of following up with you and completing your order then. However since I was unable to comply with your deadline I was under the impression you went forth with your plans on finding another decorator to work with.
Once again I apologize for the miss communication, it was never my intention to lead you on.
Thank you,
Jessica




P.S.I went back and re-read our email correspondence it turns out this was the 2nd time she threatened me with finding another decorator. The 1st time was a day after she sent me her first email, that one included a deadline of "by the end of the day".




I think this is much too long-winded and apologetic of a response. As a customer, she doesn't care about your challenges or limitations of running your business. Trust me when I say that she could care less if you have to mop your own floors. The suggested wording from CutiePieCakes-Ontario is more professional. I recommend you just go with that.

cakesbycathy Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 10:56pm
post #26 of 33

This is the 2nd time she's threatened to find another baker icon_confused.gificon_eek.gif

She does not deserve you as her baker. Do not give her the time of day anymore.

cgm_cakes Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 11:10pm
post #27 of 33

Ditto the above - use the wording Cutie Pie suggested. Since she's threatened you twice, don't even look back. I know it's hard not to take it personally when someone says you're unprofessional, however, consider this: anyone wanting to enter in to a professional business relationship (buyer/seller) would not use threats as a tactic to get what they want. Being called unprofessional by someone acting unprofessional? Gimme a break.

auntmamie Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 11:44pm
post #28 of 33

One change - it's not "miss communication" it's "miscommunication" Unless the communciation is single and not yet married.

CakeMommyTX Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 11:53pm
post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by auntmamie

One change - it's not "miss communication" it's "miscommunication" Unless the communciation is single and not yet married.





lol..I knew that did'nt look right but since spell check did'nt catch it I figured I was good to go. icon_redface.gif


Ok so I've revised it and used almost word for word what CutiePie said, so thank you thank you thank you for that, and for everyone else's help as well.
Somedays the biz half just gets the better of me.
I can't wait until I can hire a shop Manager to deal with this stuff for me.
Until then I'm sure I'll be back here lookig for help thumbs_up.gif

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 12:07am
post #30 of 33

You're very welcome. One thing you learn in a law firm is how to tell people to go to [email protected] so that they'll actually look forward to the trip!! icon_wink.gif

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