Never Got The Order, So No Cake For The Party

Business By dguerrant Updated 29 Mar 2010 , 4:00pm by dstbni

dguerrant Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:56am
post #1 of 44

I'm so aggravated and mad about something that happened today. I checked my voicemails, which for some reason may take a day or two to get, and low and behold someone had called to verify a cake for yesterdays's party. On the voicemail, she stated that she had left an order for the cake earlier this month and since she had not heard from me that she thought things were fine, so she was calling again to "remind" me the evening before the cake was due.

This is a client that i do cakes for every month, she always calls and gives a date, it never falls like the 3rd Thursday of the month, but whenever she chooses. The cakes are usually for 50 people, I cut a deal and only charge her $75 including delivery (that was thier budget). However, it may take a month or two to get paid because "corporate" takes forever.

I'm not sure how to handle this, because, I feel that in order to book a cake, you should at least SPEAK to me and see if I'm available, not leave a voicemail on a cell phone and assume I can do it. Then again, I feel like I let her down because I didn't call her to find out when she would need the next one. it has been crazy for me, full-time teacher, 3 kids, teaching dyslexics 4 days a week, p/t conferences, literacy nights, and that's just a few things. Not to mention the other 7 custumcarved cake creations that i usually do each week.

So, would you guys call her or not, if so, what would you say?

43 replies
The_Lil_Cakehouse Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:04am
post #2 of 44

If its a regular order, I'd definitely call her. Tell her the mix up and that in the future she needs to speak to you in person for the cake. If you want to keep the customer, you need to turn your customer service on. Don't need to offer her anything but an explanation. HTH

mamawrobin Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:08am
post #3 of 44

I would call her and explain the situation. If I were the one ordering the cake I would have made certain that I spoke TO you to confirm the order. I don't trust voicemail that much. icon_smile.gif

dguerrant Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 9:58am
post #4 of 44

thanks for the good advice, the whole situation is AWKWARD and I just don't like feeling like I goofed up icon_cry.gif

indydebi Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 11:45am
post #5 of 44

I HATE it when people take the attitude of "if I dont' hear from you I'll assume the answer is yes" type of thing! That is the most ridiculous logic I've ever heard!

I also had a wedding that didnt' have a cake for about the same reason, except it was email instead of phone. Groom (who was doing all of the planning) sent an email to my personal email (not sure to this day how he got that) instead of to my business email. I only looked at my hotmail email about once a month and that was just to clean out the junk emails.

PLUS .... once I found out he sent it to hotmail and I checked that, there was no email.

But he changed the date of the wedding and didn't get a confirmation from me saying"Yep! Got it!" Just sent the email and walked away.

No cake for the wedding.

dalis4joe Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 12:14pm
post #6 of 44

are you still going to do the dcake? do you have time?

I feel your "what to do" feeling... because this is a client that always gets her cakes from you... so you don't want to say/do anything that might make her feel "a certain kinda way", if I was you... I would call her and depending if u can do the cake or it's too late to make it,, it's how u should handle the call...

If you CAN still make it, tell her that you will make an exception for her because of the relationship and history you and her have, BUT that for future orders, to please make sure she talks to you because sometime you're VM starts acting up and you might not get the message, AND you also want to make sure you have no other booking for that day...
if you CANT do the cake order, then STILL call her... explain to her the misCommunication that happened, AND I personally would apologize to her for the issue (VM not being as reliable, you not knowing about the order, etc.), THEN I would explain that you want her to know that she is a valued client and that to avoid this in the future, to please talk to you and/or follow up in a few days if she leaves a VM....

That it what I would do... because although... she shouldn't have ASSUMED everything was okay... you need to keep in mind that.... THE CLIENT IS ALWAYS RIGHT... so even though it was Her failure to make sure you go tthe message AND were available... if you want to keep her coming back... you HAVE to make her feel like it was somewhat you fault and that you need her to make sure you got the VM so that YOU do not have this happen again.... but that's just me...

Client Loyalty is based on your Cust. Serv.... so if you have to take the blame for this... then so be it...

HTH
God Bless!

marknelliesmum Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 12:17pm
post #7 of 44

Well all I can say is 'get your crystal ball out of the dishwasher ladies' you are after all cake decorators (amongst other things) and being psychic is a basic requirement. icon_surprised.gificon_eek.gificon_rolleyes.gif

costumeczar Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 1:16pm
post #8 of 44

Based on the fact that she's paying you close to nothing for the cakes, I'd call and tell her that you never got the message and you can't do the cake. Quite frankly, at that price that's the kind of repeat business I wouldn't want!

costumeczar Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 1:20pm
post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalis4joe

That it what I would do... because although... she shouldn't have ASSUMED everything was okay... you need to keep in mind that.... THE CLIENT IS ALWAYS RIGHT... !




I have to disagree with this. Yes, you need to treat your clients with courtesy, but they need to do the same, and it sounds like this is a customer who doesn't. Based on her lack of communication in this situation, the pittance she's willing to pay, and what sounds like a delayed payment schedule for past cakes, this customer isn't right. I'd call and tell her that I can't do the cake on such short notice, and reiterate that she needs to make sure she speaks to me directly in the future so that she's sure the order was accepted.

Or if she really whines about it, do the cake and charge her a rush fee that will raise the price to what it should be!

KHalstead Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 1:25pm
post #10 of 44

I would tell her the truth, you didn't get the message until after the fact! Any NORMAL Sane person would understand if you didn't know then you couldn't have made the cake!!! I would also give her another number or email or something to reach you quicker in the future since she's a regular repeat customer (oh and don't forget to tell her your prices have gone up lol)

indydebi Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 1:31pm
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalis4joe

That it what I would do... because although... she shouldn't have ASSUMED everything was okay... you need to keep in mind that.... THE CLIENT IS ALWAYS RIGHT... !



I have to disagree with this.


I'm with costume. the customer is NOT always right and the person who coined this phrase evidently never had to work Customer Contact!

Customer: I wrote a message in the mud on your driveway before it rained so you DID get the message.
Business: Oh of course! You are right! It's all my fault!

DUH!!

herdream Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 1:44pm
post #12 of 44

Customer: I wrote a message in the mud on your driveway before it rained so you DID get the message.
Business: Oh of course! You are right! It's all my fault!

DUH!![/quote]

LOL! (literally) Debi that is TOO funny!!!! thumbs_up.gif

dalis4joe Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 2:18pm
post #13 of 44

I know what you are saying is true... and if she doesn't mind losing her as a client...
I stated my opinion.. and I do come from a Cust. Serv. background... I have worked in Cust. Serv. for over 18 yrs. and that is how I/we always treated our customers.
Again, if she doesn't care... if she is stating that she has to wait to get paid, then by all means... say what you wish...
But.. I for one... having a fairly new cake studio... approach things diffrently... and I like to keep my clients happy and satisfied with my service... so I might have to apologize on my behave for something that it's not really my fault... I'm okay with that... because I need to build my clientelle (sp?)...
but again... this is my opinion.. and whatever works for you.... whatever YOU feel is right... then that's what you should do...

HTH
(PS. NOW I can see why some ppl get upset at the comments on certain threads...)

TexasSugar Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 2:18pm
post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalis4joe

That it what I would do... because although... she shouldn't have ASSUMED everything was okay... you need to keep in mind that.... THE CLIENT IS ALWAYS RIGHT... so even though it was Her failure to make sure you go tthe message AND were available... if you want to keep her coming back... you HAVE to make her feel like it was somewhat you fault and that you need her to make sure you got the VM so that YOU do not have this happen again.... but that's just me...

Client Loyalty is based on your Cust. Serv.... so if you have to take the blame for this... then so be it...

HTH
God Bless!




We teach people how to treat us. So by calling and apologizing, oh its my fault, my fault, then she is just teaches her that she can call leave a voice mail and get an order filled. Even if you say I need you talk to me, actions speak louder than words sometimes.

There are many things wrong with this equation.

If their budget is only $75, then you give them cake for $75, not a discount of 50 servings for $75. The cake baker determines her prices and those that use her need to figure out if they can afford it or not.

If you continue to do a cake every month, even if they are several months behind on paying, then they will keep paying late. If you say Im sorry I cant bake another cake until I get paid, up front for it and the other cakes, then guess what, they will figure out a way to pay for it up front. If not they will keep giving you lines about how it takes so long to get the money from the powers above. Do you think their phone company or electric company or water company lets them use that line on them? A restaurant wouldnt even let them come eat if they knew they werent going to get paid for a month.

It is time you educate her on how to properly order a cake from you.

Tell her you need her to call or email you 2 weeks, 3 weeks, a month before the date she needs the cake. Pick which ever time frame works for you. You arent a grocery store bakery that has several different sizes of cakes in the freezer just waiting to be decorated.

Tell her to place an order with you she must speak directly to you, not to your voice mail and she must have confirmation that you have accepted the order.

And Id also nip the month later payments in the bud, myself. While you are teaching her how to order you can also throw in that you have a new policy, that all cake must be paid before or at delivery or you can not leave the cake. Who pays it or how they get the money isnt your problem. But I bet if she has to pay it out of her pocket and wait a month to get paid back shed figure out a way to make it work.

Unless you just really enjoy doing this cake at a deal Id also say that my prices are going up to $2 a serving (or what ever you normally charge everyone else) on June 1st. They will either like your cake to pay what you deserve, or they will go somewhere else. By filling a slot every month with a cheap cake order, you could be missing out on another order that will bring you in more money.

Id rather spend my time (especially when you have a lot of other obligations) making one cake and getting paid more for it, than making several other cakes and not getting enough. Isnt your time away from your family worth more than that?

dalis4joe Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 2:25pm
post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalis4joe

That it what I would do... because although... she shouldn't have ASSUMED everything was okay... you need to keep in mind that.... THE CLIENT IS ALWAYS RIGHT... so even though it was Her failure to make sure you go tthe message AND were available... if you want to keep her coming back... you HAVE to make her feel like it was somewhat you fault and that you need her to make sure you got the VM so that YOU do not have this happen again.... but that's just me...

Client Loyalty is based on your Cust. Serv.... so if you have to take the blame for this... then so be it...

HTH
God Bless!



If their budget is only $75, then you give them cake for $75, not a discount of 50 servings for $75. The cake baker determines her prices and those that use her need to figure out if they can afford it or not.

If you continue to do a cake every month, even if they are several months behind on paying, then they will keep paying late. If you say Im sorry I cant bake another cake until I get paid, up front for it and the other cakes, then guess what, they will figure out a way to pay for it up front.




I agree with the pricing issue though... I think what TexasS. said it's true... u should tell her about the price increase... and even about not doing another cke until you get your money for the prev. order... but as far as this last cake order... how I WOULD HANDLE IT.... again... I feel diffrntly than most I guess....

TexasSugar Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 2:38pm
post #16 of 44

I think it all depends. I think you should start the business out how you plan to continue, because it is really hard to change things mid stream.

If you want to take every order that comes at you, no matter if they call the day before they need the cake, then be prepared to do that from now on, because that is how you are teaching them you handle your business. And it is hard to change it later, because they will go, but you did it for me the last time, and the time before that, can't you just do it one more time.

Some thing with starting your prices off super low. You will be attracting those that want to pay that amount and when you raise your prices, they will balk.

I won't say the customer is always right, because there are situations where they aren't, and I'm not going to pretend, just to keep them happy. Life isn't always happy and we don't always get what we want exactly when we want it and for the price we want. That said, I do think that customers deserve respect, except in rare situations.

OP needs to call this lady and have a heart to heart with her. She needs to stand her ground, and let the whispearings of Debi go through her mind as she tells this lady how she will now be treated and not back down. She could say "I'm sorry that wires got crossed and this order was never confirmed, and in the future I need you to make sure you speak directly to me...."

But I wouldn't gush the apologies or lay myself down at this woman's feet to keep her as a customer. OP deserves respect as well, and she should get it from this lady.

jessfillmore03 Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:43pm
post #17 of 44

Well...I see both sides. If this is something that happens pretty regularly then I don't think her calling you and leaving a message is that bad of a thing. That, and she doesn't know how your VM system works-she was most likely expecting a call back and when she didn't get one, called to remind you.

I also understand your stand point, though.

I would make it. She's a good customer and you not getting the message isn't her fault.

Odyssey Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:43pm
post #18 of 44

Sounds a bit like a short notice order anyway. Even if the VM screwed up a few days it shouldn't have been too bad for an order with an appropriate time frame. It costs too much to make cakes without being paid. I can just imagine the company not paying up because they decided it's no longer their cost to pay and by the time you found out you may have given 2 or 3 cakes away.

I would call and tell her "Sorry I was unable to make your cake, but I never got the message. If I don't get in contact with you to confirm an order, you're going to have to get in touch with me not just the answering machine." If it were me I would also have a sit down and tell her that the payment situation has to change. Blame the economy if you want, but there is no reason for the payment to be so delayed, especially since you are giving her such a large discount on every cake. I agree with the others that you need to raise the price for this. If the company is paying, they can probably afford a bit more than you are giving them. They're paying for cakes for events every month, if they can do that they can afford to pay the proper price.

"The customer is always right" is a pet peeve of mine. Anyone whose worked customer service knows how wrong this phrase is. If you adopt this phrase you give people permission to walk all over you. I'm all for respect and compassion, but only if you have respect and decency when you speak to me. There's my little soapbox...

Good Luck with this Client!

MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 3:54pm
post #19 of 44

I'm not in the cake business; but I am a small business owner. Since this client is a "regular" for the OP, I think a conversation is all that's needed to straighten this out for orders going forward. Based on OP's message, I wouldn't take the blame for it, though. For example, what if the client forgot to order the cake and just worded that last minute call so that it would appear to be the OPs fault and get the cake last minute? If the OP takes the blame, then that's sending the wrong message out, meaning the OP is a pushover. If anything, I might consider saying "I'm sorry that I could not provide you with a cake for your event. I had no order placed for that date. The last order I have from you was ...." and leave it at that.

For the OP (and I cannot recall if it was stated), it would be a good idea to have a confirmation system in place for telephone messaged, e-mailed, or faxed orders. Your phone message can state that the caller will receive confirmation of their order. I know you're busy, but to take an extra step will help keep everyone on the same page.

In my business, when I schedule appointments, I ALWAYS request a call back or e-mail to confirm so as not to leave anything assumed. Also, if possible, look into a better voice messaging system. Maybe a different carrier? Or you may want to check into an answering service that can forward messages to your cell phone and computer. There are lots of options. In our business we have phone lines with caller ID. If a call is not picked up for whatever reason (after hours, etc.) the call goes to our answering service who forward the written message to e-mail and our cell phone.

Good luck! icon_smile.gif

Bluehue Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:05pm
post #20 of 44

How can the customer always be right - when the business doesn't even know that the customer wants something icon_confused.gif

And i surely do not take that attidtude - for it is the easiest way to get trod on, used and taken to the cleaners.
Another reason why contracts were invented.

Just be honest -
Speak to her asap and tell it as it is - *you did not get the messafe*
If you have been doing orders for her previous to this occassion and there has never been a problem then surely she will know there was a *qilche*.

As for people assuming that *you got the order and all is well and good* -
and then there is no cake on their day - how can you be held responsible or feel guilty....for all they know - you might be flat on your back in hospital.

Poor manner or not - people only treat us how we allow ourselves to be treated - and if they cannot take 10 minutes out of their *busy day* to pick up a phone or knock on your door and speak to you about an order, than don't dare feel sad/bad or embarressed about not finding *a day* out of your *busy life* to bake and decorate a cake for them.

People assume too much - and the more we cavein to their assumptions the more we are made to feel like you are feeling.....NOT.

How is that fair?

Big business's do not become big business's on assumptions - but careful planning and savvy sense....plus the odd ounce of bravado.

Bluehue.

costumeczar Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:19pm
post #21 of 44

And to be clear, in my opinion this isn't a "good" customer. Yes, she's a "repeat" customer, but not a good one. Doesn't pay in a timely manner, doesn't place orders directly=not a good customer.

Zee4040 Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:34pm
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

And to be clear, in my opinion this isn't a "good" customer. Yes, she's a "repeat" customer, but not a good one. Doesn't pay in a timely manner, doesn't place orders directly=not a good customer.




Ditto!

cakesdivine Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 4:59pm
post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessfillmore03

She's a good customer and you not getting the message isn't her fault.




I don't think she is a good customer. A repeat customer does not automatically make someone a "good" customer. A GOOD customer makes sure they make verbal not message contact with the vendor to place an order or orders via their website, and PAYS IN ADVANCE OF DELIVERY...PERIOD!

Even if it is a corporate thing it is for the office workers right? Then they should make sure it is paid for in advance, not purchase something that is out of their budget, and expect the baker to lose money to accommodate their needs/wants. This waiting for payment thing is for the birds. Tell them to go to Walmart next time for a cake in their budget. Let's see if Walmart will allow them to pay on 30 to 60 day terms. I doubt it.

cakesdivine Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 5:01pm
post #24 of 44

Hey costumeczar...you beat me to the punch...LOL!

bbmom Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 5:03pm
post #25 of 44

I have to put my 2cents in as well. I know this wasnt a pricing thread and you were obviously happy with the $75 for 50 servings including delivery! But are you still happy with that arrangement? I have a few corporate clients as well and they usually have an option to submit receipts to accounts payable or pay from petty cash. If they got the cake from Walmart they would have to pay up front and walmart doesnt deliver!!! I would think about changing this arrangement unless as I said you are still happy with it. But I would def. call and let her know you just got the message and let her know she needs to speak to you in person next time as your vm isnt reliable.You can say you're sorry that you never got her message that isnt admitting any fault, because I dont think you are at fault here, you're just commiserating with her.

enchantedcreations Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 5:32pm
post #26 of 44

Maybe she really didn't call and leave a message the first time. Maybe she forgot to place the order for this month and now she is back peddling. Maybe she just expects you to make the cake like you always do. I probably wouldn't do it on short notice; not for $75.

endymion Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 5:35pm
post #27 of 44

I think customer service is based on empathizing with the customer. Not necessarily saying, "you were right and I was wrong.." (Why does anybody have to be "right"?)

The thing that the customer will appreciate is an expression of how terribly sorry you are that this mixup happened, and how awful you feel, that she did not have the cake she was expecting at the event. "I'm sorry" does not always have to admit guilt; it can simply mean "Like you, I'm upset that this happened." (Which it sounds like the OP truly is!)

And then you work together as a team -- both on the same side -- to figure out how you can prevent such mishaps in the future and maintain your ongoing positive relationship. That's my take on how the OP should "frame" her response.

carmijok Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 5:51pm
post #28 of 44

We had a regular customer for cakeballs and I would always call and double check to make sure we were still on. Yes, the client should check in and she would, but if they are that regular and you are aware of it, you need to do some follow up as well. CYA! Just shoot an email every month saying you're double checking on their order. No biggie, but it sure stops hassles down the road. Now that there's been a mistake, you need to get with her immediately and state what happened and suggest to her that you both need to communicate better. Depending on how important her business is to you, offer a discount for the next time. You're already taking a hit on cost so that is up to you. Again, you want to be the one that tries to make it right, because she has a mouth...and her word of mouth might not benefit you down the road if you don't respond immediately.

mamawrobin Posted 25 Mar 2010 , 6:49pm
post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

And to be clear, in my opinion this isn't a "good" customer. Yes, she's a "repeat" customer, but not a good one. Doesn't pay in a timely manner, doesn't place orders directly=not a good customer.




Agree.

dguerrant Posted 26 Mar 2010 , 1:00am
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by marknelliesmum

Well all I can say is 'get your crystal ball out of the dishwasher ladies' you are after all cake decorators (amongst other things) and being psychic is a basic requirement. icon_surprised.gificon_eek.gificon_rolleyes.gif




HILARIOUS!!!!! YOU GUYS DEFINATELY KNOW HOW TO LIGHTEN THE SPIRITS!!!!

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