After reading some of your stories, I'm feeling a little anxious, lol.
I have 2 cakes coming up, and while I feel confident about both jobs, I still get all the "what-ifs" if I think too long about it.
So how do you handle a complaint? Do you just right off the top offer a discount? Or a partial/full refund? Or do you just apologize and tell them you're sorry they felt that way? Should you tell them you'll get back to them after you discuss/research it? If "the customer is always right", should you stand by your cake and argue that you know their complaint is unfounded?
Ugh..I stress myself out unnecessarily sometimes, I swear. Hopefully I wont' have any complaints anytime soon, and I'm SOO non-confrontational, so I don't know what I'd do if anyone ever called me, all mad and huffy!
First, make sure the customer is feeling heard and empathize with their situation. Get all the info possible, then tell them you'll research and get back to them. This prevents knee-jerk reactions. Realize that your reputation is at stake and sometimes it is better to appease a complaint that you don't necessarily agree with than suffer the consequences. Case in point: I have a shop and about 18 months ago a girl came in and got a red velvet cake off the shelf. Brought most of the cake back the next day and said she didn't like it. We took it into the back and sampled it and it was totally fine. I went back and told her politely there was nothing wrong with it, may be just be an issue of different tastes, offered her her cake back but no money. She did not take the cake back and just left quietly. 6 months later there are identical negative reviews on all the sites trashing our cakes and our customer service. A $35 refund would have saved me a lot of heartache.
That's good thinking.
Oh, and I realized after i posted this that this subject line is similar to the other thread posted, but it seemed that the other was more about that specific issue than an "any given day" complaint. I wasn't trying to be a copycat, I promise!
my complaint was cust thought the cake was beautiful but the red velvet was too dry and too red. he then thanked me for making the cake.
he was clearly 1/2 happy.
so i offered a 50% discount on his next cake, and told him i'd try a new, and moister, RV recipe.
if a cust called me the day they got the cake/returned it to me i'd take it back and give a refund...depending on the situation.
Sometimes a complaint is valid (yup, we occasionally screw up, right?) and sometimes it's a difference of opinion; but sometimes there are customers looking for a freebie. It's up to us to look at everything and decide which it is, not simply apologize and give them a refund. But we do have to be careful dealing with customers; the ones who want freebies can be vicious if they don't get what they are looking for.
I had a bakery for 15 years and I have stories. I'm glad that I took the time to investigate every complaint. Most customers honestly felt there was a problem and whether or not I agreed with them, I gave them a refund. But those who I knew were dishonest were told to leave and not come back. I banned several customers from my shop.
These days, with customers using reviews to trash a business, I would tend to give a refund to the troublemakers; and then tell them they would be happier going to another bakery.
My husband is a retired cop. He never got used to "the customer is always right." He says that in his line of work, "the customer is always wrong."