rosech Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 2:18pm
post #1 of

Good day.
Scenario 1. Last week someone wrote me an email saying her sister wanted a birthday cake and I should call her. She enclosed her sister's number and hers. I did not call because I had not dealt with her or her sister before. I was thinking that I would spend my money calling her and then what if she was not going to order? Also I thought that if her sister was really serious about ordering then she was the one who was supposed to call me. I replied the email giving her my numbers and politely telling her to call me instead as I my phone needed recharging first.

Scenario 2. A bride sent me a message on my fb page inquiring about wedding cakes and asking me if it was possible for us to meet. I replied telling her where she could find me. After some days, she wrote again, today asking me to come to her workplace so we can meet and discuss. I have not replied the message yet but thought I should come here talking to you about this.

I really want more business especially regarding wedding cakes. If I react by going/calling will I not look like someone who is so desperate for business? How would you react? TIA!

30 replies
jason_kraft Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 2:23pm
post #2 of

I don't think calling a customer is desperate at all...in fact telling a customer that she must call you instead of calling her seems unnecessarily restrictive.

A customer asking you to meet at her workplace is a little unusual, but if you have the time I would go for it, I'd say that's more of a positive (going the extra mile for the customer's convenience) than a negative.

costumeczar Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 2:31pm
post #3 of

I have to disagree...If the client had asked you to call her back that's one thing, but if it's a friend saying "Oh, you have to call her" she might not even be expecting a call. If someone called me and said "so and so said to call you about this" I'd be quite taken aback.

As far as going to a prospective client's work, I wouldn't. You could arrange to meet her at lunch somewhere, but I wouldn't go to their workplace. #1 what other business does that other than car glass repair services? #2 There are some wedding businesses here who do that but they also complain that people treat them like servants. Well, if you present yourself as being at their service that way, of course they will.

MimiFix Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 2:36pm
post #4 of

I agree with Jason, that calling a customer shows good business sense. But not dropping by where a maybe-customer works. That sets the tone for what you are willing to do. There needs to be a level of professionalism, and for me this type of customer service crosses the line.

cookiemonster025 Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 4:18pm
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

I have to disagree...If the client had asked you to call her back that's one thing, but if it's a friend saying "Oh, you have to call her" she might not even be expecting a call. If someone called me and said "so and so said to call you about this" I'd be quite taken aback.

As far as going to a prospective client's work, I wouldn't. You could arrange to meet her at lunch somewhere, but I wouldn't go to their workplace. #1 what other business does that other than car glass repair services? #2 There are some wedding businesses here who do that but they also complain that people treat them like servants. Well, if you present yourself as being at their service that way, of course they will.




I agree with this. You have no way of knowing if this friend even wants your services. I would only call someone who requested a phone call themselves.

AZCouture Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 4:25pm
post #6 of

I did this recently. Someone contacted me and said she knew someone who wanted to attend the tasting, and was very excited about designing a cake, and blah blah. Ok, how come *they* aren't contacting me then....but whatever, so I sent her an email. Oh very excited! We'll be there! I have an idea already and can't wait to meet to do this!

She was my one no show of the day. Then I went one step further and emailed her to make sure she wasn't confused on the date, because I noticed I said Sunday in one email, instead of Saturday. The numerical date was always correct. Anyways, offered her a to go plate in case I mistakenly gave her the wrong date. "Oh my gosh, no we forgot about it, ok, I'll let you know when we can stop by tomorrow." Uh, another no show. What a waste of time.

gbbaker Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 4:58pm
post #7 of

I think contacting people is part of the business. I have had brides talk to me and not give a deposit only to call the week before the wedding assume I was doing their cake. I always call everyone I talk to after 2 weeks. It's not desperate it's just good business. I always contact them to see how the event went and if they were pleased with the cake. It's part of customer service.

AZCouture Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 4:59pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbbaker

I think contacting people is part of the business. I have had brides talk to me and not give a deposit only to call the week before the wedding assume I was doing their cake. I always call everyone I talk to after 2 weeks. It's not desperate it's just good business. I always contact them to see how the event went and if they were pleased with the cake. It's part of customer service.


Of course, but I think what is being discussed here is "cold calling", on the suggestion of someone else.

gbbaker Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 5:13pm
post #9 of

I think it's part of the business. You never know where business will come from, You can't ever make judgments about what people will or will not do. I don't think it makes you look desperate.

jason_kraft Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 5:37pm

My impression from the first scenario is that the sister is helping to plan the party and contacting vendors on behalf of the birthday girl.

costumeczar Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 5:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbbaker

I think contacting people is part of the business. I have had brides talk to me and not give a deposit only to call the week before the wedding assume I was doing their cake. I always call everyone I talk to after 2 weeks. It's not desperate it's just good business. I always contact them to see how the event went and if they were pleased with the cake. It's part of customer service.

Of course, but I think what is being discussed here is "cold calling", on the suggestion of someone else.




To me personally I HATE receiving cold calls, that's called telemarketing. I think when AZCouture pointed out that the cold-called bride was the only no-show it demonstrates the fact that if people aren't invested in reaching out to a business they're not going to be invested in the product. The one in ninety calls you make that results in one possible booking still results in 89 annoyed people who didn't want you to call them. I hear the same things from brides after wedding shows. Vendors start emailing and calling them and they don't like it.

3D-Sweets Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 5:50pm

Interesting discussion! My two cents:
Scenario 1 - call the person who wrote just to check in, and in a very friendly way offer to call her sister "but she's expecting my call, right? I wouldn't want to impose."
Scenario 2 - I've visited folks at their workplace in an old life (home-based sales) at their request. I think it feels safe, neutral, to some people. I don't know that it sets a servant tone, more that you are willing to accommodate. That doesn't mean you're a doormat, just that customer service is important to you. And, let's be honest, this is a big cost for them and income for you; unless it's the next county over it could be a small extra effort to get the business.

AZCouture Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 5:55pm

I have had a call from Facebook advertising every day for the last week. I never answer an 800 number anyways, and then immediately add them to the reject call list. It still shows up on missed calls, but at least my phone doesn't ring. Finally I called the guy back and asked to be removed from their list. He sounded kind of incredulous, like I was turning down advertising with Facebook. I will SEEK you out if I need your services thank you very much, stop calling me.

If you have success contacting people that may or may not be expecting you to call, then by all means rock on.

jason_kraft Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 5:59pm

There may also be different social norms in Zimbabwe, I'm curious to see the OP's response. Having to consider the added cost of calling a customer is certainly a foreign concept to most in the US.

rosech Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 8:06pm

Thank u very much y'all. For some reason I was not receiving email notifications. The cost for calling someone is quite neglible depending on how long u take talking to that person. Regarding scenario 2, the bride to be works about two streets away from my building. She will not lose anything by coming to me either. Wonder if I should ask her why she prefers that I go to her instead of her coming to me.

Sparklekat6 Posted 21 Aug 2012 , 8:27pm

UM, regarding scenario two, while it's a stretch, don't you think this is a safety issue? I certainly would never go to someones place of business or house I didn't know really well to discuss a cake. That's what Starbucks is for. It seems like you are familiar with where she works but I'd still make her meet you in the middle.

rosech Posted 22 Aug 2012 , 2:28pm

So today I wrote to bride to be:

"Hi
I will try to make arrangements to come to see you. normally people come to see me instead. Would you have any problems coming to see me? Just curious."

Herein the reply:

"Problem per say, No, but i dnt lyk walkn especially when am goin to part with a lot of money for my cake"

Talk to me friends. I want to do the right thing.

stephdover4 Posted 22 Aug 2012 , 2:52pm

She doesn't like walking? No way would I even consider taking this order! She is awfully demanding and that is trouble from the word go. Especially since she said, problem...no; she just doesn't want to!

Kima920 Posted 22 Aug 2012 , 3:01pm

If she doesn't want to talk 2 streets over to meet with you but you want to meet with her because she feels is parting with money ..then I wouldn't go meet with her. She feels like someone said earlier that you should come to her because she is spending money. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't do this to a florist or wedding planner or bridal shop so why should she expect a cake decorator to be any different. You are a professional just like everyone else and should be treated as such. If she can't take the time to walk to meet you then this just sounds like problems down the road for you..i.e... being difficult with design, wanting to bargain..No thank you!
Kima

cakesbycathy Posted 22 Aug 2012 , 3:22pm

Scenario #1: If it costs you to make a phone call where you live I can now understand why they want YOU to call THEM. It's up to you if you want to incur that cost for an order you might not even get. If they are budget conscious about phone calls not sure what that says about the budget for a cake. Just something to consider.

Scenario #2: Bride has PITA (pain in the a$&) written all over it. I'd pass on that one.

AZCouture Posted 22 Aug 2012 , 4:25pm

LOL is all I can say.

kelleym Posted 22 Aug 2012 , 5:29pm
Quote:
Quote:

"Problem per say, No, but i dnt lyk walkn especially when am goin to part with a lot of money for my cake"



This has "grief" and "trouble" written all over it (also: 5th grade education). I would politely write back and say that I would not be able to accommodate her order. No other explanation necessary.

SugaredSaffron Posted 22 Aug 2012 , 7:36pm

Wow. Stay. Away.

PinkLotus Posted 22 Aug 2012 , 11:36pm

It sounds like she thinks you should be at her beck and call because she's going to pay you for a service! Run, run away!!

jason_kraft Posted 22 Aug 2012 , 11:57pm

I don't think it's that big a deal. If OP has the time to walk a couple blocks and meet this person I don't see why she shouldn't. Better yet, call her first to get a general idea of what she's looking for and what her budget is to see if you are in the same ballpark price-wise, if not you don't have to bother.

I've had some very good customers over the years with poor spelling and grammar (some speak English as a second language), so that's not always a useful indication.

cookiemonster025 Posted 23 Aug 2012 , 5:23am

If I was going to "part with a lot of money for my cake" and could literally walk two streets over to visit the location my cake would be made at, I would absolutely do it. Two streets over is no inconvenience to her unless she is disabled, in which case I would say you should visit her.

But if she is in good physical condition to walk two streets over, then I see no reason you should have to go to her. Her comment makes it sound like she believes she is paying you to go out of your way for her, rather than just pay you for a quality product. Quite honestly, she sounds like she's going to be a headache.

If she is going to "part with a lot of money" for her wedding dress, would she ask the dressmaker to visit her too?

vgcea Posted 23 Aug 2012 , 6:06am

Scenario 1, I would call the person who emailed you and have her 'prepare' the birthday girl for my call. So it's not a cold call.

Scenario 2. Sister please! Can't walk because you're spending money?
This would be my response:

Dear Customer,
I regret that I am be unable to accommodate your request at this time.

Godspeed.( icon_lol.gif get it?)

Cake Lady

Panel7124 Posted 23 Aug 2012 , 8:25am

Is she heavily pregnant? icon_confused.gif

Or could she drive to your place if she doesn't like walking/doesn't want to walk? Is it a 'dangerous' part of the city?

rosech Posted 23 Aug 2012 , 2:37pm

Its not a dangerous part of the city at all. Thank you very much everyone. I will update when I have made up my mind on what to do.

vgcea Posted 25 Aug 2012 , 5:48am

Hey OP, I'm curious how this lady would react if you decide to go to her. If you have the time you could go over to her place. Before you do so, please make it clear that you're making an exception for her. When you do go, be very professional, and PLEASE be prepared to walk away from the project if she is looking for someone to walk all over.

For all you know she may not be as looney as she has presented herself.

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