I have been doing cakes for her for several years now but she really is a PIA customer who has caused me more grief than I care to mention.Last year was the straw that broke the camels back.It is that time again for her to be emailing me and ordering cakes for her 2 kids.
How do I politely and professionally tell her I no longer wish to do business with/for her??
I don't want to be rude but factual and short.I don't want to lie and say I'm booked....
Other than telling her you are sorry that you are already booked, I'm not sure what to do.
Just tell her that you are cutting back on orders and that you are not going to be able to help her with her request this year.
You don't want to lie, so you have a couple of options:
1) "That won't be possible." When asked "why?" just repeat, "That won't be possible." (Lather, rinse, repeat.)
2) "Thank you for thinking of me, but I don't feel we've worked well together in the past. I hope you'll have success with a new cake artist."
3) "Are you kidding me? Why would I want to make a cake for you?" (ok, in our dreams...)
Just add a PITA fee on to her quote so she either goes away or you get compensated for putting up with her and her ways.
How well do you know this person? I know that you have be making her cakes for some time, but is she a good friend or someone you would have to see after this?
Its always hard to tell someone that their business is no longer welcome. Know that if you choose to tell her off, she will bad mouth you to anyone who will listen to her. If you don't want to say your booked, I would just state the facts. Tell her exactly why you will no longer be doing business with her.
"Sorry I'm unavailable for that date" - that's not a lie if you MAKE yourself unavailable...you could meet up with an old friend for coffee...go see a movie...be busy reading a good book that week...have a date with your vacuum cleaner...plan to spend some time gardening. You really are not obliged to explain to her why you are unavailable. Just tell her you'll be busy/unavailable then and leave it at that.
My mom just went through this, she's a hairdresser, she pruned some of her regular clients from her schedule, that were making her miserable in order to gain back some of her sanity!
She called each one and explained that due to health concerns (which sanity and unwarranted stress are-so no lies) she has decided to cut back significantly from doing hair and would no longer be able to provide them with services.
She then gave each PITA customer a few names of other hair salons in town that she felt they would be served best by. She had a few nosy ones ask what exactly were her health issues and she just answered that she didn't want to discuss it at this time and it apparantly worked. She is so much happier now.
Good luck with your PITA, hope it all goes well for you.
I like Corrie76's suggestion, it's not a lie and not mean. If she doesn't go away, then you either have to just tell her straight up or raise your prices for her to compensate for the stress.
Thanks everyone...I'll wait and see if she even emails..I hope not!!
I too agree with Corrie76.. either tell them you are cutting back on clients and suggest or refer them to another decorator in town (this is a very professional attitude).
You could also work out what part of the order process it is that drives you nuts when it comes to dealing with her and maybe eliminate the issues prior to her making her order.. for example:
1. make sure it is you who are incontrol of negotiating your prices and not the customer
2. introduce a fee for any amendments that customers make at the last minute
3. Be realistic with what you can and can't acheive with every order you take.. don't promise something that you either aren't capable of making or just don't want to make.
Maybe make up an official document that states your new implemented ordering process for all your clients and mail it to her prior to her making an order - this way she feels it is not just her you are pointing out the facts to. If she does take offence to your new 'terms and conditions', well it just proves that she wasn't worth having as a client to begin with and she is better off going else where..
if she complains tell her exactly that -"I'm sorry that you dislike my terms and conditions, however I have had to introduce them to eliminate some issues that I have experienced in the past years with certain customers.
It is not only for the benefit of my business, but also to enable a more enjoyable and trouble free experience for my customers. I can suggest to you some other great decorators if prefer to order through another business."
At the end of the day you have to remember it is your business.. you run it the way you want to.. your customers should not be allowed to run it for you! It's all about growing a spine and teaching others how to treat you. Tell it how it is and you are going to feel a heck of a lot better about yourself HTH