Going Out Of Your Way For Problem Customers Or Great Ones?

Business By KellyJo3 Updated 1 Jul 2011 , 12:48pm by costumeczar

KellyJo3 Posted 27 Jun 2011 , 12:46pm
post #1 of 19

I find myself giving a little extra to my clients that end up being so friendly and wonderful rather than the ones that become a problem.

Like the other day I had a family come in for a tasting for babyshower cupcakes and they raved about them (I normally only do tastings for wedding cakes and orders over 200.00, but they were so sweet from the beginning, so I allowed them to get a tasting)

They ended up ordering quite a few dozen and let me know they will be ordering a cake in Aug. from me. When I finished their order, I had a another order for cupcakes that I filled at the same time and had a bunch extra from that order, this particular order was for the same people I had a problem with in my last post. For those who did not read, they were not very friendly to say the least.

So instead of giving those extras to the unfriendly customers, I gave them to the friendly ones. They were very happy and appreciative.

What I am wondering is, do you go that little extra mile for problem customers or for the ones who appreciate your services and treat you with respect. I know you should smooth things over and find a way to please problem customers, but sometimes there is no pleasing them, if you know what I mean, but I really want to focus on keeping my wonderful customers happy rather than keeping the problem ones around. Any input?

18 replies
kakeladi Posted 27 Jun 2011 , 1:00pm
post #2 of 19

I think it's a normal tendencey to treat people kindly who have been very nice to you and treat those who haven't been nice not so special.

bobwonderbuns Posted 27 Jun 2011 , 1:14pm
post #3 of 19

That's called the "Frank Burns philosophy of life -- it's nice to be nice to the nice." icon_lol.gif I'm the same way -- problem child gets the minimum, golden child gets the extra mile. Not that it's right, but it's how I tend to do things. icon_rolleyes.gif

Stephy42088 Posted 27 Jun 2011 , 1:19pm
post #4 of 19

I'm the same way, if your nice and kind then I will glady go the extra mile but if your a pita and rude in any way then there will be no freebies or one time exceptions

bakingpw Posted 27 Jun 2011 , 2:45pm
post #5 of 19

I think you are right on! One of the biggest and best business tips I ever read was to "rate" your customers: I'll give you my example:

"D" customer is the one who orders once a year, calls/emails a hundred times over a small B'day cake, makes a comment about how this or that could be better...general pain in the #@#

"C" customer orders for holidays. Is nice enough.

"B" customer orders frequently, pays timely and raves about your product to everyone, bringing in business.

"A" customer might order even weekly, orders to take to her friends to "share" knowing they will become customers, thinks you should charge more - you're so good! Always gives allows enough time when ordering, allows you to be the "expert" without nit-picking the details.

So - what's the purpose of this "rating"? You can easily/quickly decide what to do if you get a call for a rush order or request for something you don't normally do: i.e. If the person is a "D" customer, will bother you a hundred times and not have much positive to say anyway, well, I might not be so willing to make exceptions. (If my schedule allows, I might)

However, if it's a "B" or "A" customer, I would gladly go out of my way, even above and beyond, knowing that they will bring me more business and be greatly appreciative.

KellyJo3 Posted 27 Jun 2011 , 2:52pm
post #6 of 19

Thanks ya'll! Glad to see I was not the only one lol. I love your rating system bakingpw, Although I've a couple customers that I would rate an F, as in ones that call for a last minute order and even though you take the order out of the kindness of your heart, decides to cancel on you the day the cake is due and demand a refund. : (

mena2002 Posted 27 Jun 2011 , 6:16pm
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakingpw

I think you are right on! One of the biggest and best business tips I ever read was to "rate" your customers: I'll give you my example:

"D" customer is the one who orders once a year, calls/emails a hundred times over a small B'day cake, makes a comment about how this or that could be better...general pain in the #@#

"C" customer orders for holidays. Is nice enough.

"B" customer orders frequently, pays timely and raves about your product to everyone, bringing in business.

"A" customer might order even weekly, orders to take to her friends to "share" knowing they will become customers, thinks you should charge more - you're so good! Always gives allows enough time when ordering, allows you to be the "expert" without nit-picking the details.

So - what's the purpose of this "rating"? You can easily/quickly decide what to do if you get a call for a rush order or request for something you don't normally do: i.e. If the person is a "D" customer, will bother you a hundred times and not have much positive to say anyway, well, I might not be so willing to make exceptions. (If my schedule allows, I might)

However, if it's a "B" or "A" customer, I would gladly go out of my way, even above and beyond, knowing that they will bring me more business and be greatly appreciative.




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Annabakescakes Posted 27 Jun 2011 , 6:26pm
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyJo3

Thanks ya'll! Glad to see I was not the only one lol. I love your rating system bakingpw, Although I've a couple customers that I would rate an F, as in ones that call for a last minute order and even though you take the order out of the kindness of your heart, decides to cancel on you the day the cake is due and demand a refund. : (




WOW! I love the rating system too! I hope to never have any f's either!

jason_kraft Posted 27 Jun 2011 , 6:43pm
post #9 of 19

A similar rating system is used in CRM (customer relationship mgmt) systems for big companies -- customers are automatically ranked according to profitability. For example, if you subscribe to a high-margin cell phone plan you get priority in the call center queue when you need support, but if you have a low-priced plan and often call tech support prepare for long hold times.

cakenovice2010 Posted 27 Jun 2011 , 10:59pm
post #10 of 19

Yes, I always gave my VIP customers perks. If they sent a referral I gave them a gift certificate to the store to use whenever they wanted, or I invited them to a preview of the following seasons new line up etc... I enjoyed treating them since they brought me extra business, were kind and tended to purchase frequently in large volumes.

Now I was just as nice to my customers who didn't spend as much, but they didn't receive the fun little perks. And I didn't advertise it as I understood some parents just couldn't afford the big ticket items.

The people who were rude, whether in person, online or the telephone, I had a list. The blacklist. icon_wink.gif You just let their calls go to the machine and although we were still sweet as pie we avoided contact and eventually they went on to harass other retailers instead.

indydebi Posted 28 Jun 2011 , 3:49am
post #11 of 19

The same way I raise my children: bad behavior will NOT be rewarded.

mombabytiger Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 11:41am
post #12 of 19

I'm going to be the odd man out here. I give exceptional service and go out of my way for ALL customers. This isn't personal - it's business.

littlecake Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 8:33pm
post #13 of 19

some customers cost you money.....i read an article a few years ago about "firing" unprofitable customers.

Brevity Posted 30 Jun 2011 , 9:13pm
post #15 of 19

You never know, what's going on in someone's day/life to make them act the way they do. I recently went the extra mile for a woman who was being a bit grumpy, and in the end, she placed an order that paid every one of my bills for the month. She has since been much better. Going out of my way cheered something in her - I say never waste an opportunity to make someone feel/be better. Again, you just don't know what they're facing. What's that old honey vs vinegar saying? ......

costumeczar Posted 1 Jul 2011 , 1:27am
post #16 of 19

You should treat everyone with at least a minimum level of good customer service, but if someone is a jerk then I have no problem firing them as a customer and not having to give them that minimum anymore!

johnson6ofus Posted 1 Jul 2011 , 4:49am
post #17 of 19

I am no saint, but I had the worst week ever... kid in hospital, horrible planned trip to a nasty family wedding under duress, hubby on edge over it all, and rear ended on the way to the airport. <sigh>

I called Delta to inform, they rescheduled, nice. Finally after the post-accident "rush", felt bad, but went to the airport (5 minutes away) to talk with them at the desk. WILD scene, lots of hassle... but I saw a man waiting in the "priority" line, and being ignored. I actually got to the front in the "regular" line and was offered service, but I pointed to "that guy" and invited him ahead of me, because he had actually waited longer than me.

My bad week doesn't give me license to be a b***h, and I really had GOOD reasons to be. A good customer, is a good one and deserves perks, or value that "bad" customers don't get. Heck, Vegas was built on it!

littlecake Posted 1 Jul 2011 , 5:56am
post #18 of 19

theres a difference between someone having a bad day and being grumpy...and being a pita cheapskate customer on purpose.

i recently had one that had a cake so complicated i would have had to clear my whole saturday to do it.....before i got to send her the estimate...she emailed me to remind me she was on a tight budget.....

she knew this was not a budget cake.......and since i have a storefront i have high overhead....anyhoo...

long story short (too late lol) i told her to get someone else....this woman has been a customer for about 8 years...always trying to squeeze the best deal out of me...i just got wore out with it....getting to old to play games....

costumeczar Posted 1 Jul 2011 , 12:48pm
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

long story short (too late lol) i told her to get someone else....this woman has been a customer for about 8 years...always trying to squeeze the best deal out of me...i just got wore out with it....getting to old to play games....




You got that right! The older I get the less crap I have time to take from people who are usually my age or older. Most of the brides I deal with are very nice. If anyone gives me trouble it's usually their mothers!

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