Hi, I am new to the forums here on Cake Central and also new to the "cake business" as I have only been in my retail establishment for 10 months. I am trying to learn the ends and outs of customer service with my potential clients. I would like to ask advice on how to approach a follow up email with a customer regarding them making a decision on whether to go with me as their Baker or with another "cheaper" cake designer.
Normally after I give my customers a quote for a cake that they have sent me a picture of, I normally will not hear back from them. Should I not give them a quote right away? Maybe I should suggest that sit down and go over everything first before I give them a price? I do not overcharge by any means for my area, but I am also not willing to do a custom wedding cake for $50. I need some suggestions on how to write an email where I would like to know if they are still interested in my services without coming across as pushy.
Thanks so much,
The Lollipop Stop
I don't do a f/u email. If I don't hear back, I assume I am too expensive for them or they are just shopping around. I don't have many of those because My base price per serving is on my website so a client pretty much knows what ballpark they are in before they call/email me.
The only time I did send an email was when a client agreed on a price and I had sent an invoice but she hadn't paid the deposit yet. I simply asked her if she was still interested as I had other orders and I did not want to overbook myself. I said something like if you've changed your mind, please let me know so I can book someone else in your slot. She then paid the invoice.
Basically, if you feel the need to send one, be really nice and make it like you are doing them a courtesy and don't want to assume they aren't interested and book another client before checking with them.
I send an email like this:
Thank you for contacting me recently for a quote on a cake. Just wanted to follow up with you to see if you have made a decision to order. Thank you!
I don't do follow up email's. If they don't get back to you then they've found someone else or cheaper or whatever. Personally I don't see the point in chasing them down.
Though I agree you shouldn't be throwing a price out there without them answering a few preliminary questions first. Say they send a photo; I usually follow up with: How many servings do YOU need for this cake? (it may be a 6 tier cake in the photo, but they only need to feed 90). Do you have any cake flavor, filling or butter cream preferences, all are listed on our website etc..? Do you have a budget in mind for this cake? What date would you need this cake for? (you might not even have availability; so its not worth quoting). Some people just want a quick price; but even if you are not meeting in person you need to get them to answer these questions at the very least before giving them a price. They will be more likely to answer you back as well; even if it's just to say "sorry that's out of my price range" and that will open the door for you to say "what is your budget? Maybe we can make a make a few design changes to accommodate".
I just did video on this kind of situation today, but it was more about the giving-out-a-sketch-before-getting-paid thing. I don't do followup reminders for inquiries either unless there's a specific reason, like if they came for an appointment, were SUPER sure they wanted to hire me, and the contract didn't come back and someone else wanted the date. But for general inquiries I don't follow up once I send an estimate. Here's a link to the video if you want to watch me yap about qualifying a customer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up7H9_ipSxc&lc=z13ntnhh1oqbyhq4404cdnvpgrzrfvng4c0
@costumeczar~~I love watching you yap. (and reading your blog)
@lollipopstop ~~ If they want it, they'll call. If they don't want it, they won't call. Sending a follow-up email isn't going to make a bit of difference. (No matter how much you may want it to make a difference....)
Well, actually, it may make a difference, it will cost you valuable time you could spend on another, more profitable, aspect of your cake business like making pre-made buttercream or gum paste flowers.
i did quite a double take re: the f/u email --- hahahaha
When I had the shop, my data showed me that brides were shopping WAY early and not making decisions until closer to the date. It was not uncommon for them to call me 2-3 months after I sent them preliminary info and not uncommon for them to book 2-3 months (or more) after they had their appt with me. They are doing their research, checking with numerous vendors, budgeting their money for down payments, etc. After a month or so, I *might* send a simple "Just checking to see if you need any add'l info from me to make your cake decision...." email. Then I dropped it.
Thank you everyone for your wonderful input. I did end up sending a followup email and she did respond back...Here was my email to her:
I really, really hope that if you do a cake for $100 it's only two small tiers and very plain. Any more than that and you'll be working for minimum wage and that's not cool for custom work.