Customer Emails And Call Back Question

Business By tootie0809 Updated 2 Mar 2010 , 10:48pm by indydebi

tootie0809 Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 2:29pm
post #1 of 23

Please tell me if I'm approaching this the wrong way. Over the past few weeks, I've had quite a few e-mail inquiries asking very vague questions about availability or what a price of "a cake" is. I always email back as quickly as possilbe to let them know if I am available and I usually ask them to please call me when they are available to discuss the details of what they are looking for. For those that ask for pricing, I try to give them pricing information for whatever cake details they give me, but some just ask, "how much would a wedding cake cost" and it's obviously impossible to answer that, so for those I usually ask them to please let me know the size and general idea of the style they are looking for and I can tell them a base price.

The problem I am running into is that I would say half, if not more some weeks, of these potential clients who email me and I respond asking them to contact me by phone or give me more information on what they want, don't ever contact me again. Most of them do not leave a contact phone number, so I have no way of contacting them but by email. The few who have left a phone number, I haven't called back unless they specifically ask to call them. Am I doing something wrong or should I be approaching this issue differently?

22 replies
muddpuppy Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 2:52pm
post #2 of 23

I don't think this is an issue... It's people doing research.. If they wanted you o call them back they would leave a number.. I think you're doing things right.. Andswer thier quesrtions and if they're interested, they'll contact you again...

JustToEatCake Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 3:59pm
post #3 of 23

Yes, it's research and they are emailing every website/business card they find they are interested in to see what they/you say. If you have a website, I suggest, putting as much pricing info as you can on it maybe with examples. As a consumer I see lots of websites with "gallery" but they hardly ever say what THAT cake cost. It would be very helpful to the lay person to see the cost of the cakes you already have done (along with servings). It will also help, I would think, a lot of the fishing emails.

KHalstead Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 4:13pm
post #4 of 23

when someone says, what do you charge for wedding cakes?
I tell them this:

My tiered cakes are $2.25/serv. for buttercream and $2.75serv. for fondant, filling is an additional $.25/serv.

If you have any other questions, or would like an exact quote on a particular size/style of cake, feel free to contact me anytime through email, or call XXX-XXXX between 9am and 9pm.

Have a great day,
tina


That's pretty much what I do! If they're vague, then they get the basic prices....not much more you can do!

costumeczar Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 5:00pm
post #5 of 23

If you respond by asking for more info and they don't write back, that's done. They're not a client until you have a deposit in hand, so don't worry about it if they don't get back to you. They might be getting something off of Craigslist for $100 for 150 guests. Good luck.

Kiddiekakes Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 5:03pm
post #6 of 23

I give all the information and then keep the email for 2 weeks and then if I have heard nothing back... I delete it.I also state this on my website as well..

Ixtli Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 5:17pm
post #7 of 23

Same, I give them the base prices, if they don't give more info than "I need a baby shower cake, how much would it be?"
I email them back with questions after that, I figured if they want the cake enough they'll be back

tootie0809 Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 5:34pm
post #8 of 23

Thanks everyone. I have per-serving pricing on my website along with minimum order amounts, delivery fees, reservation policy, etc. I'm still a very new business, so it's great to know I can ask other business owners out there if this is normal or not. Sounds like it is and I don't need to worry I'm saying or doing something wrong. I appreciate all the feedback! icon_smile.gif

pattycakesnj Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 9:22pm
post #9 of 23

My partners and I were discussing this very issue the other day. We get emails like that, and think it may be different competitors checking us out as we only opened a few months ago. We don't think most of these vague emails are actually potential clients but we treat them as such with our responses.

catlharper Posted 23 Feb 2010 , 9:58pm
post #10 of 23

Remember when wording "basic" prices what you really mean is "starting" price. As in "my cakes begin at $2 per serving for buttercream and start at $4 per serving for fondant. Of course, the more embellishment you add to the cake adds cost as well." You can also give a range of "$2-$12 for buttercream and $4-$20 for fondant per serving depending on the ornamentation". But try not to state ONE price for it...otherwise when you come back with "that style is $8 per serving" they will come back with "but in your email you stated that fondant was only $4 per serving!". You want to be able to come back with a copy of the original email that states "start at $4 per serving"...etc. People will try to call you on every little mistake.

cakesondemand Posted 24 Feb 2010 , 2:14am
post #11 of 23

I have a price list made up in word doc and just attach it to the email with a note: If you need more information Id be happy to reply. Sometimes I here back sometimes I dont. I have 2 price list one for weddings and one for ocassions if they havent specifyed I send an email to see if its for wedding or and date there event is on always get a reply back then I send the pricing. I also have a flavor list ready to go and can attach that too.

Bfisher2 Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 7:13am
post #12 of 23

I just had it happen to me tonight. A "friend" of a competetor emailed me and asked about a Cake I have posted. After I realized what happend I sent another email saying, Im sorry, I didnt realize you were just price checking for the comptition! This girl is also on here so I will reserve my displeasure at her immaturity.

Sandysdream Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 8:05am
post #13 of 23

This happened to me this week also. Two ladies phoned me, very excited for birthday cakes for their kids. They wanted me to e-mail them photos of cakes and the prices. I did. Now, nothing. I think they only took the photos to someone else/or family who will do it for free or cheaper. This makes me a bit angry, because both of them had requests for cakes that I had not made before (I only started a year ago) and I spend a while on the internet looking for pictures.

cakesbycathy Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 12:48pm
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandysdream

This happened to me this week also. Two ladies phoned me, very excited for birthday cakes for their kids. They wanted me to e-mail them photos of cakes and the prices. I did. Now, nothing. I think they only took the photos to someone else/or family who will do it for free or cheaper. This makes me a bit angry, because both of them had requests for cakes that I had not made before (I only started a year ago) and I spend a while on the internet looking for pictures.




And this is a perfect example of why I never provide photo ideas or a sketch until I receive the non-refundable deposit.

Bfisher2 Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 4:48pm
post #15 of 23

And this is a perfect example of why I never provide photo ideas or a sketch until I receive the non-refundable deposit.[/quote]

Thats a good idea. I was thinking that I may stop doing email quotes as well. My consults are no obligation, so they can get a price then.... does anyone else do it this way?

indydebi Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 5:28pm
post #16 of 23

If your base pricing is on your website, reply with "Here is a link to my website with basic pricing info. Final pricing depends on the size of the cake and final design, which we can discuss when you come in for your free, no-obligation appointment. Give me a call so we can set aside a time just for you and discuss your vision for your wedding!"

letsgetcaking Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 6:13pm
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Quote:

Thats a good idea. I was thinking that I may stop doing email quotes as well. My consults are no obligation, so they can get a price then.... does anyone else do it this way?




I'm not a business owner, but as a consumer, I run fast from a place that won't give me at least a general idea of a price without having to schedule a meeting with them. I wouldn't agree to a consult without that general information first. I'd feel like the price must be horrendously high if they won't give it out over the phone or online, and then they'll suck me into something I can't afford once I'm at the meeting.

Bfisher2 Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 6:35pm
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetcaking

Quote:
Quote:

Thats a good idea. I was thinking that I may stop doing email quotes as well. My consults are no obligation, so they can get a price then.... does anyone else do it this way?



I'm not a business owner, but as a consumer, I run fast from a place that won't give me at least a general idea of a price without having to schedule a meeting with them. I wouldn't agree to a consult without that general information first. I'd feel like the price must be horrendously high if they won't give it out over the phone or online, and then they'll suck me into something I can't afford once I'm at the meeting.




People always think your prices are too high.... thats the cake world... icon_lol.gif

Bfisher2 Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 6:47pm
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

If your base pricing is on your website, reply with "Here is a link to my website with basic pricing info. Final pricing depends on the size of the cake and final design, which we can discuss when you come in for your free, no-obligation appointment. Give me a call so we can set aside a time just for you and discuss your vision for your wedding!"




I took a quick look at your sight.... BTW... I LOOOOOVE that city skyline cake.... wow... well done!!! icon_biggrin.gif

anyhow, I noticed that you dont list a firm price either. Do you have a booking minimum.... I was considering this as well....

indydebi Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 10:13pm
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bfisher2

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

If your base pricing is on your website, reply with "Here is a link to my website with basic pricing info. Final pricing depends on the size of the cake and final design, which we can discuss when you come in for your free, no-obligation appointment. Give me a call so we can set aside a time just for you and discuss your vision for your wedding!"



I took a quick look at your sight.... BTW... I LOOOOOVE that city skyline cake.... wow... well done!!! icon_biggrin.gif

anyhow, I noticed that you dont list a firm price either. Do you have a booking minimum.... I was considering this as well....




Since I closed the business, I took all pricing info off, but yes, I did have full pages that told all prices (cakes and catering) in detail. A bride was able to look at my website and figure her total cost right down to the dime, before she ever called me.

(The reason the website is still up is because I paid for it a year in advance, so I have the info about being closed on the front page (in the hopes this will prevent folks from calling me) and it still has some good info on it that I will eventually transfer to my blog pages.

tootie0809 Posted 25 Feb 2010 , 10:23pm
post #21 of 23

So Debi, whatcha been up to since your business closed? Are you missing it? Are you loving it? I'm just glad you are still around here helping all of us out as always. I was scared you'd venture away from the caking world, and I'm always happy to see your posts!

tashistation Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 5:11pm
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tootie0809


The problem I am running into is that I would say half, if not more some weeks, of these potential clients who email me and I respond asking them to contact me by phone or give me more information on what they want, don't ever contact me again.




I think people are less and less inclined to handle business by phone these days. I find that the majority of my business transactions are done completely by email.

indydebi Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 10:48pm
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tashistation

Quote:
Originally Posted by tootie0809


The problem I am running into is that I would say half, if not more some weeks, of these potential clients who email me and I respond asking them to contact me by phone or give me more information on what they want, don't ever contact me again.



I think people are less and less inclined to handle business by phone these days. I find that the majority of my business transactions are done completely by email.


I hate phones. I've told my family "don't even leave me a VM ... I'll see you as a "missed call" and call you back." I did 95% of my biz via email. The only face to face was the sampling appt and maybe a call to let me know when they were coming by with a check ... and even most of those were via email.

Everyone I know knows that you get a faster response from me via email. Get my VM? I'll call you back in 3 days. Send me an email? I'll answer you in 3 minutes.

I hate phones.

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