First of all, this post is just for blowing of steam....
Little background, I've been selling cakes for almost 11 years, out of my home. I do everything form purchasing to baking to web desing...everything. I do consultations but only for weddings and quinceaneras. And always with an appoinment.
Latley I've had new customers that call me and ask for a cake because they tasted it at so elses party. i direct them to my website and they call back but they still don't have an idea of what they want, and to make it worse they are asking someone else at their house without even blocking the phone and I'm listening to their argueing. Or I have some customers that show up without an appoinment and get mad when I don't see them because I'm up to my elbows in sugar and flour. Or they make the appointment and show up with 4-5 people more, wich they don't fit in my office space.
For security issues I tried the appoinments at a coffe shop, and people don't like the idea. They feel unconfortable.
Sometimes I feel they don't treat me with respect because I'm just the cake lady and they dont see me as a bussiness. Sorry for complaining but I want to keep on baking and I need the money (I need it to keep buying nice cake toys...jaja), and I'd like to know if you guys suffer from any of this and what do you do...
You poor thing! I can honestly say that the only time I've had someone show up unannounced was a man came to my home (not my shop) to pay for a cake for his lady friend without her knowing and as a surprise for her. I didn't mind that one!
You may want to further emphasize on your web site (and advertising, outgoing voice mail, etc.) that you do not have a retail shop. I know you say "consultations by appt only" on your site, but that could still be misinterpreted by customers who think you have a shop where they can drop in, but only do 1-on-1 consults by appt.
People are used to bakeries with retail storefronts so you really have to be very clear if you don't want customers knocking on your door.
and to make it worse they are asking someone else at their house without even blocking the phone and I'm listening to their argueing.
Hmmmm..... you know it's funny but my phone tends to lose the connection at times like this. Isn't that just odd?
I still do my consults at a coffee shop...its much better for me since I have kids...I had it at my home for awhile but it was way too inconvenient, esp with the kids....my husband would take them out for me but still sometimes he'd come home too early and my kids would all pile in and...nah. Coffee shop or nothing. haha.
Oh my, yes. My phone seems to dislike the whole argument in the background thing. Weirdest phone ever, it also has this thing that records messages, and can even give them info without me having to pickup the phone....
Ok, not trying to be snarky, really, but its early here. That must be really annoying that customers don't respect you, but you need to grow a backbone.
Re-do your answering machine to include - by appt only, please consult my website for pricing and serving info, and email is the best way to get a hold of me. You do NOT have to answer the phone every time it rings.
Likewise, there's also no reason for you to answer your door if you have no appts and if there is no cute UPS guys standing outside. And when they show up with 8 people, ask them which 2-3 of you will be coming in, and which will be waiting in the car? It will make the meeting much shorter!
Boundaries, boundaries. You teach people how to treat you. They wouldn't show up at the salon without an appt, and they can't do it to you if you don't let them!
You need to take control of the situation..........when they don't know what they want, offer them a couple of choices...if they still act like.mmmmmmmm......I'm not sure........tell them you're available at such and such a time and why don't they get with the person they're arguing with, check your website again, and get back to you when they've decided. Time is money!
If you take control of the conversation and tell them what's going to happen they'll either get mad and forget about it (not necessarily a bad thing for you if they're difficult) or they'll hurry up and pick something!!!
Some people just don't know what options there are and want to get the most for what they have to spend, I've found that if I offer them a few suggestions letting them know "this is what I can do for your budget" they either pick one or I tell them to get back to me when they've decided. As soon as you say "why don't you call me back when you've decided exactly what you're looking for and I'll put you on my schedule" they get the hint that I don't wanna be on the phone all day while they try to figure out what it is they want!
Yeah if they seem indecisive I tell them to go look at my website...also search the internet for cake ideas that they like...then email me everything they find so I can help them narrow things down.
Sometimes they won't call back or write, but that means they prolly wouldn't have bought a cake, anyway.
Thank you for your comments. I guess deep down I knew I have to set down the rules and not the customer. My daughter suggested I print out a page with these rules and stick it next to the phone so I won't get caught offguard.
Any way I needed a little input an support from cake people not cake muggles....
Thank you all!!!
[quote="Kitagrl"]Yeah if they seem indecisive I tell them to go look at my website...also search the internet for cake ideas that they like...then email me everything they find so I can help them narrow things down.
Yep, I do that EVERYTIME I talk to someone who doesn't already know what they want from our first conversation.