Help Wording A Message Of Apology

Business By Faradaye Updated 12 Jan 2015 , 2:56pm by Snowflakebunny23

Faradaye Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 7:23am
post #1 of 15

Yesterday I delivered a Peter Rabbit cake, and although the client was very happy with the appearance of the cake, she was not happy with the flavour / texture.

 

Her friend called me later that day and asked me to come and see the cake, as they weren't happy with it.  It was a white chocolate mud cake with a raspberry french buttercream, although I had the cake tops myself, with the buttercream, and was happy with it, and thought the actual cake was fine, the client was clearly not happy and just didn't like it.

 

I gave the client a partial refund on the spot, thanked her for her feedback, apologised, and told her I would be withdrawing that particular flavour from my menu until I had done some extra work on the flavour and texture.

 

Actually, this discussion was all with the friend of the client, as the client herself was opening presents with her son, and didn't want to be disturbed, which is fair enough.

 

As I was leaving I told the friend I would like to give the client a personal apology, and asked if it would be appropriate to message her today with that apology. The friend thought yes, so here I am trying to draft a brief but heartfelt apology message and am hoping for some guidance from the wise people here.

 

Here is what I have come up with so far...

 

Dear client

 

I sincerely apologise that the flavour of the cake for your son's birthday yesterday was not to your liking.

 

Thank you for the feedback, I have taken it on board and will no longer be offering that flavour as a menu option until I have done some work to improve the texture and taste.

 

Best wishes

 

Faradaye

 

I just want to send it and be done with the whole thing, as you can imagine.  I have tried handling this as professionally as possible, even though I secretly think the client has absolutely no palate for sophisticated flavours...that can't be helped now.

 

Thanks everyone.

14 replies
MBalaska Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 7:38am
post #2 of 15

It sounds like you gave the friend (not the actual person who bought the cake) a refund without talking to the actual purchaser of the cake.  This must be a mis-read on my part.

Faradaye Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 7:45am
post #3 of 15

AYes.

We were having the discussion in the clients home, the client was in the same room, opening the presents with her son 'too upset to speak to me' and had appointed the friend to speak on her behalf.

After we discussed it, and I offered a refund, the friend said she would speak to client, however client was obviously busy, it would not have been in appropriate to disturb her, so the friend said she thought it was acceptable.

I know what you are saying, and now I am kicking myself for not saying 'well I need to speak to the client herself.' However with the way it was happening, I am in no doubt that the friend was voicing the clients opinion and thoughts, and acting as a go-between with the client's full permission.

810whitechoc Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 9:49am
post #4 of 15

Is it possible to call the client and talk to her? I understand you didn't want to cause an upset at the party by insisting on talking to her then, but you thought the cake was fine.  I would want to know what the problem was and apologise to my customer myself. Is it possible to call her tomorrow now that the party and stress of it is over and talk to her?

petitecat Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 10:02am
post #5 of 15

Hi Faradaye, I have a disclaimer that says 'Preferences for cake flavours and textures are subjective, so you may or may not like mine'. It was worded a lot more professionally than that. Anyone who orders from me has to agree to the terms and this is included in the terms.

 

Personally, I don't offer cakes and fillings that I have not tried and tested. Why are you withdrawing this particular filling just because one client didn't like it? When you made it in the past, did you not like it yourself?

 

I would have a discussion with the client herself, offer your apologies personally and also the partial refund (since you've already offered it), but I personally wouldn't tell her that I'm withdrawing the filling after her feedback. You'll find that not everybody likes every cake decorator's cakes and fillings. This, especially after you say the client doesn't appreciate sophisticated flavours.

 

Good luck and all the best x

Faradaye Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 10:02am
post #6 of 15

AI think that is a good suggestion - but to be honest i had quite a long and detailed discussion about the cake on Saturday. The friend was not rude, she genuinely wanted to give me feedback and resolve the issue. So I don't think I would learn anything from another discussion.

In my mind the issue is 'resolved' from the point of view that I have received quite specific feedback about the problem, and have provided a fair refund. I guess I felt personally contacting the client with an apology would be the final step, and I think email is the best medium for this.

The cake tops I actually took to a little gathering on Thursday, and feedback from those people was unanimously that it was delicious.

But - it's weird - I can't **prove** to the client that the cake was delicious. If she asks for it to be five inches tall, I can take out a ruler, and measure the cake, and it either will be five inches, or it won't.

But liking the flavour is such a subjective thing - and she didn't like it. I suspect a case of them being used to a box mix mouth feel - but it's very strange standing there eating your cake, thinking 'yes, this is how my cake tastes, and I am very much enjoying it.' while multiple people are looking at me almost expecting me to spit it out as to them it wasn't nice.

jenmat Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 2:11pm
post #7 of 15

The apology is fine, except for pulling the flavor. Why would you do that? If you thought it was great, then saying you're pulling the flavor is admitting that you feel it was sub-par. It also gives them the thought that maybe you should have given a full refund. 

 

Unless you DID feel you need to tweak it more, then don't pull it. You can't make a mud cake have the taste and texture of a box mix no matter how much you tweak it anyway. 

leah_s Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 4:27pm
post #8 of 15

Agree.  Don't include the part about pulling the flavor.  If you're happy with it, so be it.  You can't please everyone.  I think that by going to the client's house and giving a refund, you're done MORE than enough already.

costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 5:22pm
post #9 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by leah_s 
 

Agree.  Don't include the part about pulling the flavor.  If you're happy with it, so be it.  You can't please everyone.  I think that by going to the client's house and giving a refund, you're done MORE than enough already.

100% agree!

johnson6ofus Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 6:50pm
post #10 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by jenmat 
 

The apology is fine, except for pulling the flavor. Why would you do that? If you thought it was great, then saying you're pulling the flavor is admitting that you feel it was sub-par. It also gives them the thought that maybe you should have given a full refund. 

 

Jenmat is right! I LOVE cake, but I really don't LOVE all cakes. A flavor preference is a flavor preference. If It was made to "your standard" and as ordered... why would ANY refund be in order? 

 

You went above and beyond. Shorten the email to the client and remove any reference to redoing the recipe for the reasons quoted above. 

-K8memphis Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 8:29pm
post #11 of 15

i think you need to put it behind you -- she did not want to talk to you even though you were in the same room and you were ok with that so let it go -- she sounds too fragile to deal with -- you returned to her house you gave a discount you certainly apologized to the 'go between' -- time to pack it in and move on  --

 

the money expresses your apology well enough -- 

Faradaye Posted 11 Jan 2015 , 8:56pm
post #12 of 15

AIn Australia, we have a brand Bakels, which sells cake mix in mud flavours. I have personally never used it, but I know many do.

As far as the flavour - well I am torn.

As part of my research taking aboard this feedback, I contacted another client who has ordered from me a number of times, including this flavour, to specifiacally ask for her feedback.

Her favourite flavour I make is red velvet. Now personally, I am not a fan at all of red velvet, and amongst my group of family / friends tasters it is not loved like some of my other flavours. However, this client told me she would give my red velvet a 10, and give the White chocolate a 6.5- 7. She did find it firmer and not as moist as the red velvet, and for her, not as enjoyable. However she raved about my raspberry buttercream, which I personally think is AMAZING and cannot believe the first client didn't Iove it. I use the yolks left over from making SMBC to make French meringue buttercream which is itself amazing, and then I make raspberry curd with raspberries, sugar and butter, strain it to remove the seeds, mix it with the buttercream - seriously it is to die for. But I digress.

I guess the texture of my white mud is not as 'gooey' as my chocolate mud, or my caramel mud. This has not bothered me, but I think it has contributed to clients not thinking the texture is perfect. I don't want a flavour on my menu that has the caveat - 'Please be aware this cake has a slightly firmer texture than you might be expecting, so don't order it if that is going to bother you.'

So I would like to try to find a white chocolate mud recipe that produces the same texture as my current choc mud recipe. I use Pam's choc mud recipe, but I use a shot of espresso instead of instant coffee, and I sub milk for the balance of th liquid, which is water in the original recipe. It gives consistently amazing results.

My white mud is a recipe with sour cream I'm sure I got off here from a mud scratch bake off thread. As I said, personally I like it, but it needs to have wide appeal, and I think I need to take on honest client feedback. I know I cant please everyone, but I'm not so arrogant to think I can't improve, so I would like to improve it. Perhaps I only need to tweak oven temp, use baking strips, put foil on top during baking...perhaps it needs to be frozen to improve. Maybe I didn't bake it early enough (I made it on Wednesday for a Saturday) so it didn't develop the best texture. Maybe there is another recipe out there that will suit me better. I can work on all of this, and hopefully make it better.

I see what you all mean about saying I am not offering it any more in the email though, so yes, I will remove the reference to that.

Thank you everyone for the advice.

petitecat Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 8:25am
post #13 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Faradaye 

 I use the yolks left over from making SMBC to make French meringue buttercream which is itself amazing, and then I make raspberry curd with raspberries, sugar and butter, strain it to remove the seeds, mix it with the buttercream - seriously it is to die for. But I digress.

 

I've made French meringue BC before, quite rich and I'm not a big fan, but I never would have thought to use it to mix with fruit for cake fillings. Fab. I'll try this. I was wondering what to do with all the egg yolks in the freezer!

 

I hope your client is happy with your apology and refund. You've done a great job trying to resolve the issue in a composed and professional way :)

810whitechoc Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 11:59am
post #14 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Faradaye 

In Australia, we have a brand Bakels, which sells cake mix in mud flavours. I have personally never used it, but I know many do.

As far as the flavour - well I am torn.

As part of my research taking aboard this feedback, I contacted another client who has ordered from me a number of times, including this flavour, to specifiacally ask for her feedback.

Her favourite flavour I make is red velvet. Now personally, I am not a fan at all of red velvet, and amongst my group of family / friends tasters it is not loved like some of my other flavours. However, this client told me she would give my red velvet a 10, and give the White chocolate a 6.5- 7. She did find it firmer and not as moist as the red velvet, and for her, not as enjoyable. However she raved about my raspberry buttercream, which I personally think is AMAZING and cannot believe the first client didn't
Iove it. I use the yolks left over from making SMBC to make French meringue buttercream which is itself amazing, and then I make raspberry curd with raspberries, sugar and butter, strain it to remove the seeds, mix it with the buttercream - seriously it is to die for. But I digress.

I guess the texture of my white mud is not as 'gooey' as my chocolate mud, or my caramel mud. This has not bothered me, but I think it has contributed to clients not thinking the texture is perfect. I don't want a flavour on my menu that has the caveat - 'Please be aware this cake has a slightly firmer texture than you might be expecting, so don't order it if that is going to bother you.'

So I would like to try to find a white chocolate mud recipe that produces the same texture as my current choc mud recipe. I use Pam's choc mud recipe, but I use a shot of espresso instead of instant coffee, and I sub milk for the balance of th liquid, which is water in the original recipe. It gives consistently amazing results.

My white mud is a recipe with sour cream I'm sure I got off here from a mud scratch bake off thread. As I said, personally I like it, but it needs to have wide appeal, and I think I need to take on honest client feedback. I know I cant please everyone, but I'm not so arrogant to think I can't improve, so I would like to improve it. Perhaps I only need to tweak oven temp, use baking strips, put foil on top during baking...perhaps it needs to be frozen to improve. Maybe I didn't bake it early enough (I made it on Wednesday for a Saturday) so it didn't develop the best texture. Maybe there is another recipe out there that will suit me better. I can work on all of this, and hopefully make it better.

I see what you all mean about saying I am not offering it any more in the email though, so yes, I will remove the reference to that.

Thank you everyone for the advice.


After reading this I had a light bulb moment, I know exactly what you are talking about!

 

Bakels is crap.  I can't begin to tell you how many times sales reps have tried to sell it to me and how many times I have said NO I bake from scratch.  I have tried it out of curiosity and a persistent rep offering me a sample.  It is nowhere near as good as our mud recipe or Pam's (yes good consistent recipe I have made it but it's not what we use).  When I talked to the rep about this he said " it's what everybody uses".  Everybody including the two major supermarkets here in Australia - definitely a reason not to use it.  I like your version of Pam's it sounds delicious.

 

Now to the white mud, I'm pretty sure I know the recipe you are talking about and I tried it to.  To be honest I did find it a little dry and I didn't like the texture.  I spent several months last year working on my white mud because I wasn't happy with what we were doing.  I'm lucky I have an apprentice, I found every white mud, vanilla, pound cake recipe I could find and after lots of recipe reading narrowed it down to 6 different techniques - creaming method, melted butter, oil instead of butter, wet mix into dry etc and had my apprentice bake them all and then critiqued and blind tasted everything and worked out which method tasted the best -  and then started tweaking. Lots of baking later I am now happy with my white mud recipe and vanilla recipe.

 

Your buttercream sounds lush, but if you used the sour cream/white mud recipe I think you used, I'm sorry but I understand where the customer is coming from.  Stick to your guns, bake from scratch, don't use that evil Bakels and start again with your white mud recipe. 

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 12 Jan 2015 , 2:56pm
post #15 of 15

You can never please everyone with flavours...I had some trusted friends over a few months ago to try all my different cakes, including 2 different vanilla cakes, 2 carrot cakes etc.  They were asked to give a mark out of 5 for each, completely anonymously and I was REALLY surprised.  Some of my favourites, people didn't like at all, and similarly the ones they likes, I didn't.  I think the only way around this is to have tastings to make sure people have tried them in advance.  I agree with everyone else though...you have done enough but I wouldn't withdraw the flavour just because of her complaint...

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