Need a response to a Customer

Business By Stitches Updated 8 Sep 2013 , 11:44pm by BatterUpCake

howsweet Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 12:16am
post #31 of 64

For a repeat customer, I might do it - otherwise, I'd just say no whether they paid a deposit or not. Even though they haven't paid a deposit, they still need the cake. I mean did they say they'd walk away if you can't do it?   Another approach is, say, no problem, but there's $20 fee for last minute changes.

 

Another option might be to make the whole cake and cut out a chunk of fiveservings in one spot, then patch it up -- icon_lol.gif
 

milkmaid42 Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 1:17am
post #32 of 64

   LOL  ! That would definitely give you a feeling of satisfaction. (That would  probably be your last order from her.)

 

Jan

maybenot Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 1:52am
post #33 of 64

It's pretty rare that a cake and a head count will match up exactly.  Once I know how many servings are required, I find the closest matches and give the client the choice of cutting slices a bit smaller to make up some servings or ordering a larger cake and having larger servings.  Then, my price quote makes it very clear that no changes in cake size can be accommodated less than 14 days before the event.

 

For a simple carved cake like a jersey, my quote is based on the size of the cake I start with [always larger than the final number of servings needed].  So, if they need 24 servings, I may start with a 40 serving cake.  The price given is for 40 servings--that takes into account the extra labor for carving and the extra/wasted cake.  If I bake it in a shaped pan, I merely quote based on the actual servings as there's no extra labor or waste.

 

In this case, I'd likely lop off a 1.5" strip from the bottom of the jersey and serve it to my family.  She wouldn't get one more serving than she'd paid for..............

howsweet Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 2:14am
post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by maybenot 

It's pretty rare that a cake and a head count will match up exactly.  Once I know how many servings are required, I find the closest matches and give the client the choice of cutting slices a bit smaller to make up some servings or ordering a larger cake and having larger servings.  Then, my price quote makes it very clear that no changes in cake size can be accommodated less than 14 days before the event.

 

For a simple carved cake like a jersey, my quote is based on the size of the cake I start with [always larger than the final number of servings needed].  So, if they need 24 servings, I may start with a 40 serving cake.  The price given is for 40 servings--that takes into account the extra labor for carving and the extra/wasted cake.  If I bake it in a shaped pan, I merely quote based on the actual servings as there's no extra labor or waste.

 

In this case, I'd likely lop off a 1.5" strip from the bottom of the jersey and serve it to my family.  She wouldn't get one more serving than she'd paid for..............


That's  a really good point. If I'm making a cake in the shape of a shirt, I'm already erring in favor of more servings. It would possibly have been the same size even if she'd originally ordered 5 fewer servings. The customer may just need to have some of this explained. To us her request sounds crazy unreasonable, but she may just be trying to keep costs down and be clueless to how silly her request is.

 

But I wouldn't change the price. It would make me feel really good to donate a cake to someone who'd appreciate it if this person would really walk away over such a thing.

Stitches Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 2:53am
post #35 of 64

I hate you guys!  You all make such darn good points.............I guess I'm really as stubborn as my hubby says because I haven't come to a decision yet. I just don't like any of my options and I wish she never brought up the request.

 

I haven't emailed her back yet........I'm thinking on Ellavanillas' point (it was then i realized that i can conduct my biz how i choose, and I can say no. it was liberating) for today. I know an eye for an eye isn't a good course of action, but by not responding right away I hope it leaves her feeling as uncomfortable as she's made me feel. 

 

I may not respond until late tomorrow, I rarely make snap decisions unless I feel a clear sense of decision.

 

Maybenot, your right on, (It's pretty rare that a cake and a head count will match up exactly.) So each time a member of this group has asked me for a discount I've explained to them that as my gift to them in appreciation for their repeat business and referrals I always give them bigger cake servings and free delivery.    

gatorcake Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 3:02am
post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches 

I do think your right Jason. But it is so petty of them to ask for 5 less portions....that's the thing that angers me. There are some unspoken social behaviors that we choose to exhibit or not. Would you ask for a discount off your pizza if it had 15 pepperoni's on it verses 16, but it was a great tasting pizza none the less? That is petty!

 

Your analogy does not reflect the point made by Jason or the post to which he responds.  If they have a misunderstanding of how servings work then how is it petty?  If they believe they are simply giving you the final head count, just as SecretAgentCakeBaker explained, it is not a question of being petty, it is simply a product of their misunderstanding.  

 

They are not asking to pay less because there was one less pepperoni, they are ordering fewer slices because fewer people than planned are showing up.  From this perspective--which you agree is probably what happened given your reply to Jason--it does not matter how good it tastes.  It may indeed the best cake they have ever eaten but they simply need less of it.  If their request does indeed stem from this misunderstanding their request seems far from petty.

howsweet Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 3:01pm
post #37 of 64
Quote:
BUT still not my ideal customer base as she and her group are always pinching me for extras, discounts and last minute lowering of counts.

This is the perfect opportunity to teach them how things work. Since this is an irregular shaped cake, did you actually figure out a way to cut it so it would have exactly the number of servings they initially asked for? In my opinion, simply explain that irregularly shaped, semi 3d cake prices are not strictly based on a price per serving and that her change will not have an affect on the price. If she's ordered cupcakes, it would have been different.

 

It's not hard to understand why she thinks it makes sense to to do this, but saying no to lowering the price is correct and appropriate. I was ordering tile for a back splash the other day and trying to figure out ways to get the price down and it was explained to me that the changes I had in mind wouldn't lower the price. I had to accept it.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 4:47pm
post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet 
In my opinion, simply explain that irregularly shaped, semi 3d cake prices are not strictly based on a price per serving and that her change will not have an affect on the price. 

This. Definitely. We've had that happen before, where someone is trying to figure out how to go cheaper, so they say "what if we took off this?" or "what if we changed that?" and unless it's a significant change that would affect the price, we just say "We can do that, but it won't change the price." And they usually just say "Ok, we'll just keep it the same." They don't get mad or upset. It is what it is. Especially with shaped cakes, the price of those are so NOT based on servings, so just tell them that. Easy. 

Stitches Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 5:24pm
post #39 of 64

O.k. so the last two posts on this thread help me make the decision that is right for me.  I totally suck at explaining things and writing but I'll show you what I wrote........there's probably mistakes in my explanations....so be gentle. I do think that this is a learning lesson for them and for me....as now I'll include more info. in my quotes preventing last week count changes.

 

Dear____,

 

Irregularly shaped cakes and 3d cake prices are not strictly calculated on the amount of cake underneath the design. Pricing per serving is a way to break down pricing for people to understand the cost differences when they are making smaller decisions like cake flavors or filling choices. I reach my per serving price of a sculpted cake based on the design, above all else. The price is determined by the amount of time it takes to make that design. Typically smaller sculpted cakes are more expensive than larger ones because it's harder to sculpt with small amounts of cake.

 

 

Had you ordered something like cupcakes with swirls on top, that would be different. It doesn't require much skill to put a swirl on top of the cupcake, so it's easy for me to make less cupcakes. But a 3d cake usually takes 8 hours of work just to decorate it, not to mention all the other work that goes into making a custom product. I hope you understand.                                                                                                                   
Stitches Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 5:26pm
post #40 of 64

I wasn't done with my last reply but my screen froze up.

 

 

 
Especially with shaped cakes, the price of those are so NOT based on servings, so just tell them that. Easy. 
 
It's not easy for me, I'm not good at saying/phrasing things. Baking=easy. Talking/communicating=hard.
lorieleann Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 5:34pm
post #41 of 64

are you getting to the point where you are telling her that there won't be an adjustment for the fewer servings?  I would probably lead with that, then explain the why.  

 

And i think this is right decision.  In the future, perhaps price out 3D cakes by the project to avoid this bartering over price.  I do believe that she and her friends are enjoying negotiating the price down with you (especially since you have done it for their circle in the past, free delivery, etc).  Either cut out the bartering and discounts for them,  or charge a higher price that you have some 'bartering' room worked into, so that you can give them a 'discount' down to your regular price. 

Stitches Posted 14 Aug 2013 , 6:28pm
post #42 of 64

Thanks.............I'm learning! Definitely learning.......

Stitches Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 2:22am
post #43 of 64

Thought I'd follow up..........I'm soooo glad I stuck to my guns and pricing from all your advise. The cake took me longer than anticipated (since I don't do those kinds of cakes very often). Had I caved in and accepted a reduced guest count/smaller profit for me, I would have been incredible mad at myself today. Sincere thanks to everyone who gave me advise, I needed it and used it....and you did me right!

ReneeFLL Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 9:03am
post #44 of 64

AYou recieved lots of good advice and your response was also good. Something else that you could have said was that you already baked the cakes so it would be impossible to change things at this point.

MimiFix Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 10:42am
post #45 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReneeFLL 

... you could have said ... you already baked the cakes so it would be impossible to change things at this point.

 

I would never tell a customer the cake was already baked. Most people believe their cake was baked five minutes before they received it. Or it's not FRESH.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 1:06pm
post #46 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix 

 

I would never tell a customer the cake was already baked. Most people believe their cake was baked five minutes before they received it. Or it's not FRESH.

hahaha, YES, this is so true! 

howsweet Posted 17 Aug 2013 , 10:41pm
post #47 of 64

So glad it turned out well! icon_biggrin.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix 

 

I would never tell a customer the cake was already baked. Most people believe their cake was baked five minutes before they received it. Or it's not FRESH.

 

Isn't that the truth. I get people who want their cakes at the last possible moment because they think it's going to be fresher, as if I'm working up to the last second on their cake. I think that's sometimes the reason people are concerned for me for an early cake pick up. Do they think I'm getting up at 2 am to make their cake?
ReneeFLL Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 3:50pm
post #48 of 64

A

Original message sent by MimiFix

I would never tell a customer the cake was already baked. Most people believe their cake was baked five minutes before they received it. Or it's not FRESH.

I know you are right. Some of my customers know and don't care. They know I am not superwoman. I will tell a customer that the cake has already been baked and frozen if they try to give me any crap at the last minute. If they don't like how I do my baking then they can go else where. Besides the cake they tasted and liked before was probably frozen. I have a tendency not to put up with annoying/demanding people. :grin:

Don't get me wrong. If there is a reasonable request and they are nice then I will do what I can for them.

ddaigle Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 4:09pm
post #49 of 64

My jersey cakes come in 2 sizes...carved from a quarter sheet (small jersey) or carved from a half sheet.   Let's say she picked the half sheet size jersey....I would just say....

 

" You picked the larger jersey that serves XX..  If you wants less servings, you will have to get the smaller jersey that serves XX   and this size jersey is not enough to accommodate the servings you need for your party.   I am not able to eliminate 5 servings from this design/order.   Thanks and have a great day".

MBalaska Posted 19 Aug 2013 , 6:33pm
post #50 of 64

Quote:

Originally Posted by AZCouture 
..........Yet another of the million reasons for payment on full WEEKS before event. icon_wink.gif

AZCouture:  The answer to most of these peoples problems of payment, you've solved long ago!

You keep getting proved to be Correct, in thread after thread.

The meaning of Couture is High Quality, Fashionable, and Made to Order........and that is something people will have to pay for AHEAD of time.  Even a fast food drive-through requires you to PAYfirst.  Simple.  It never works the other way around.

CraftyCassie Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 3:08pm
post #51 of 64

5 servings?!  Oh, Please! 

 

I would be so tempted to cut 5 servings out of the cake and deliver it with it cut (cake showing)  on the front of the cake! 

 

I don't think people realize how much time and effort goes into decorating cakes, no matter how small an order.  If I understand correctly, they have done this to you before. I'm glad to see you have changed your deadline changes.  Stick to your guns on the next cake! 

 

Good luck and can't wait to see pics!

scwright Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 3:10am
post #53 of 64

AGood job and congrats! :-)

justdesserts Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 3:23am
post #54 of 64

Love the cake! I'm a big hockey fan! icon_biggrin.gif

Nadiaa Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 3:46am
post #55 of 64

That is a very cool cake! I've enjoyed reading over this thread, you had some good advice given. I'm so glad it has turned out well, I think when you stick to your guns business-wise then people end up respecting you as a business owner more and you come across as very professional. It's great you've received more business as a result. 

howsweet Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 4:03am
post #56 of 64

That cake is what I'd call full 3d and I hope they wanted those 5 servings taken off because it was going to save them about $75. That's a very high quality cake.

cakefat Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 9:13am
post #57 of 64

The cake looks great!

MimiFix Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 10:35am
post #58 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches 

 

 

... I would forewarn others not to jump too quickly making judgments about clients motives.

 

Your cake is excellent! Thank you for the photos!! I can see why your customers keep returning and I'm glad everything worked out with this customer. It's nice for CC members to have a place to vent, but you're right, as professionals we need to always act in a professional manner.

Baking Sis Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 11:29am
post #59 of 64

Wow, your cake is amazing!!! 

Stitches Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 2:57pm
post #60 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix 

 It's nice for CC members to have a place to vent, but you're right, as professionals we need to always act in a professional manner.

Two perfect points. I do come here to vent just like everyone else.......... but I do want to act professionally in my business. Cake decorators are creative people as such I think a lot of us have emotional and dramatic personalities. We do need voices of reason to speak up more often on threads here! MimiFix, Jason and a couple other people really do add an enormous amount of logic and leadership here at CC. I value your opinions!

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