I Feel Kind Of Bad... But Not That Bad...

Business By jenmat Updated 3 Jul 2010 , 4:25pm by LindaF144a

jenmat Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 2:40am
post #1 of 23

A customer emailed me on Monday, asking for the smallest cake I had. I said sure, and she then said "great, you can bring it by my house after 4pm on Friday." icon_confused.gif
Um, no, we don't do any home delivery, and especially for a $20 cake. I emailed back and said, sorry, you can pick it up at 10:30am at the hospital when my husband delivers a bunch of other orders, or can come to my home studio any time, let me know what you would like to do and if you still want the cake.

Crickets.... no answer. Until right now. 9pm Thursday evening and she wants the cake for 10:30am tomorrow. I told her sorry, I never heard back from you, I can't have it ready. She got fairly irate and said "But I TOLD you I NEEDED it!"
And I said, "I understand, but I never heard back from you."
End of conversation. I hope I did the right thing. I do most of my business by email, and always get their phone number, but we never got far enough in the order process to get her number, so I couldn't call.
I don't like babysitting customers!

22 replies
Kellbella Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 2:50am
post #2 of 23

I would have done the same thing. If she can't be a responsible adult, then no cake for her!

BlakesCakes Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 2:50am
post #3 of 23

Sad, but it's the only way they learn................. icon_cool.gif

I'm sure she'll be able to grab something from the local grocery or bakery if she leaves a half an hour early for work....................


catlharper Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 4:55am
post #4 of 23

Set the date further ahead...if she calls last minute say you don't take cake orders less than a week ahead and if she wants to place an order you'll be happy to meet with her so she can sign a contract and pay you in FULL. If it's more than a weeks notice then you'll need 50% down and the rest 7 days before the event or no cake. If she says she'll think about it then you need to come back with, no signed contract no cake so please let me know ASAP if you want to meet to sign the contract. I wouldn't feel badly about this woman at all.


KHalstead Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 12:53pm
post #5 of 23

I see how you feel, I would be most afraid that this woman was a bride that wanted to get a taste and feel for your cakes before ordering her wedding cake or something?

I've had people say I need a cake to feed 40 for Wednesday, can you do it? I say sure, and ask flavors, design elements, delivery/pickup etc. and here NOTHING back until day before because they want to "make sure you're gonna have the cake" Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...................................nooooooooo, I don't know the design, don't know the flavor, where to bring it, etc. YOU don't even know HOW MUCH the cake is going to be yet!!! People are really ignorant sometimes.

Then I have brides who finalize all details and pay in full and then weeks before the wedding I get emails that say "you're still doing my cake right???" Uh...yes!! I'm a business, you paid me $600, yes..I'm still doing your cake! lol

jenmat Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 2:33pm
post #6 of 23

yeah, I've had this lady before, so I know she's not a bride. she's just flaky. But again, I'm NOT your babysitter! I don't do contracts for anything less than $100, its just not worth my time, and I've never had a problem before.
Honestly, if I really wanted to, I could have gotten it done, but you have to train your customers. I knew this was a "just because" cake, and I knew that all my weekend cakes were done AND this coming weekend is the only weekend I don't have at least 2 weddings until the end of September. I wasn't going to go downstairs and pull everything out just so she can screw me over next time too.
AND, who thinks they can call ANY business at 9pm and get a nice answer? I shouldn't have even picked up the phone!
KHalsted- I get that too (but not too often), Brides who act like because they haven't heard from me in a week I must have run off with their money and won't show with their cake. If we signed a contract, I will be there! BTW- I always love your signature quotes! Keep em coming!

KHalstead Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 8:07pm
post #7 of 23

thanks, most of them are my own or my DH's lol He still says stuff that has me sitting back going.....wow....that's powerful!!

EllieA Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 8:36pm
post #8 of 23

And I especially like your Avatar! icon_wink.gif

EllieA Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 8:36pm
post #9 of 23

And I especially like your Avatar! icon_wink.gif

cakeartbypam Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 9:05pm
post #10 of 23

LOL! So, I'm not the only one who gets requests like this? I had a young lady who called me at 11:30 one night and was surprised when I answered. She said, "Oh, I didn't think you'd answer." I said, "Well, this is my cell phone as noted on the website that you called. Since I have answered, you may as well ask me your questions." Educating your customers is right! Do you believe she called me again at 9:30 the following night? Seriously????

I avoid taking last-minute cakes, because not only do they not learn, they'll even give you LESS notice next time.

indydebi Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 10:07pm
post #11 of 23

It took me awhile, but I finally learned not to answer the phone after 6:00 p.m. I am not a 24/7 facility. It should not surprise someone when I don't answer the phone after "closing" time or that I don't return the call until the next day. Even if you're not a storefront with open/closed hours, even if you work out of your home, you need to set aside time that is NOT devoted to business.

"Train your customers" is the right way to think. I'm not even sure I'd want to work with someone who thinks they can call me close to midnight!

tracycakes Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 10:25pm
post #12 of 23

Unless I recognize the number as non-buisness, I usually don't either. But I have been known to answer latre and hate it when I do.

Aeropanda Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 11:04pm
post #13 of 23

I'm still new at this, so I'm trying to get as many orders as I can handle. I had made it public knowledge, that I had been receiving more and more orders, so I need at least 2 weeks confirmation about purchase, flavor, and design. I had an acquaintance who wanted to order a cake. She sent me an e-mail a month prior to the event, and I told her to just let me know the flavor and design, or I would design something and get her approval. I waited and waited, and never heard back from her...UNTIL...the week before the event. And she sent me a picture of the butterfly motif they were using and says, "We would like this design. We'll see you on Saturday!" Well, I had already committed to doing three other cakes that week, and for me, that was a decent week! Needless to say, I did the cake. I guess I will know better in the future, but after that, I made sure to post the "2-week rule" on my FB page and my website as nicely and prominently as I could.

KHalstead Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 3:07am
post #14 of 23

I'm one of those people that ALWAYS lets it go to voice mail, then I check the voicmail and call back "if I feel like it" lol I'm terrible about that!

indydebi Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 6:11am
post #15 of 23
Originally Posted by KHalstead

I'm one of those people that ALWAYS lets it go to voice mail, then I check the voicmail and call back "if I feel like it" lol I'm terrible about that!

I think I may have posted this recently, but since I no longer am "on call" like I was in the corporate world and I no longer run my own business, I ..... for the first time in over a decade .... do not HAVE to answer my phone if I dont' want to. My VM message actually says:

"Hi, this is Debi. I hate voicemail so avoid leaving one. I'll check VM once a week or so, *IF* I feel like it. Take your chances at the tone! beeeeeeep!"

My closest friends and family know that I LIVE with a laptop on my lap so if they need to get ahold of me NOW, they send me an email.

karateka Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 12:22pm
post #16 of 23
Originally Posted by indydebi

"Hi, this is Debi. I hate voicemail so avoid leaving one. I'll check VM once a week or so, *IF* I feel like it. Take your chances at the tone! beeeeeeep!"

Holy crap, Debi, that's hilarious! It's EXACTLTY what I want my VM to say.

indydebi Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 12:51pm
post #17 of 23
Originally Posted by karateka

Holy crap, Debi, that's hilarious! It's EXACTLTY what I want my VM to say.

So far everyone has told me they are laughing too hard to actually leave a message! Works for ME!!! icon_lol.gif

tarheelgirl Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 1:34pm
post #18 of 23

I'm one of those people that ALWAYS lets it go to voice mail, then I check the voicmail and call back "if I feel like it" lol I'm terrible about that!

I do this too!! icon_biggrin.gif My hubby gets so frustrated.. he says I'm losing business because I don't answer my phone. Nah, it just helps me weed out the important ones. icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Just to be clear, I do ALWAYS call people back if I can take the order or if I can't.

KHalstead Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 2:42pm
post #19 of 23

I'm the same way, I ALWAYS return the phone calls and I always return them within a couple of hours usually....however I won't just pick up the phone at random times because it's just not good for me.

I think a customer would rather wait 2 hrs. and be able to have a real conversation with me without my 3 kids yelling in the background or me having to stop decorating a cake or risk burning one because I'm on the phone!

I just wait until I have a moment to actually sit down with my serving charts, etc. and give them the proper attention they deserve. Most people don't mind......everyone has a LIFE so everyone can (hopefully) understand that when it's good for them it's not always good for me and vice versa.

jenmat Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 3:13pm
post #20 of 23

see, I operate my business using a bit different model than some home cakers. I have worked in big bakeries and little bakeries, and my skills are pretty fast, so I offer "bakery cakes, but better," for celebration cakes. I offer sheets and rounds and basic designs like flowers and polka dots, and then the custom designs like puppies and racecars.
My celebration business is built up of people who want a Walmart cake but are willing to pay double for something better. I do a LOT of business that way.

So, if someone calls me on Monday for a Friday cake, that is PLENTY of time. Many of my orders come in on Monday for Friday, and usually its the more the merrier. However, if you don't finalize and expect me to read your mind, even I'm not givin' you a cake.
I actually answered the phone because I thought it might be the bride I had just finished meeting with. I should know better!

I have those who will call me on Sunday MORNINGS for cakes and then are frustrated I am not there, and those who call Sat night for cakes at 9pm and are wondering why I don't answer. Too bad for them, I'm crazy, not nuts!

Melvira Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 3:38pm
post #21 of 23

Debi, once I used my OnKey karaoke microphone to put an outgoing message on my mom's voicemail (with her permission of course!) that sounded like it was Barry White talking. (Yah, it was kinda naughty) We ended up sitting there for several days not able to answer her phone because every time she answered, it was another laughing friend or family member wanting to hear the message. On Friday night my sister's entire friends and family group sat around drinking, calling the # and all sitting in a circle listening to it on speakerphone. Mom had a hundred messages that were just a group of people laughing. icon_lol.gif

Melvira Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 3:40pm
post #22 of 23

D'oh, OP, I meant to comment and got sidetracked there. You did the absolutely right thing. It's horse puckey that people think you should be at their beck and call. (At least not until the check clears, right?) icon_lol.gif

I have been very clear to my customers that if they call at the last minute, I'm not busy, and FEEL like it, I will make them something. But less than a week's notice and there are NO promises! Sorry... that's how it goes. So good for you for setting an example!

LindaF144a Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 4:25pm
post #23 of 23

I used to work for a terrible boss who taught me the hard way to cover my ass at all times. Seriously one time he tried to blame his plane delay because of weather on me.

I digress. What I would do in the future is end emails like this with a sentence that says" In light of this new information to you, please respond back with a definite yes or no that you still want the cake. Otherwise I will assume you are no longer interested and will not be filling the order.

That way, it is now "not your fault" in their eyes. And you have the email in the archives that stated that you were waiting further instruction.

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