Well, I knew it would eventually happen, but I am still devastated. I was so excited that I got a bunch of big orders out of the way yesterday and got them delivered and/or picked up. And then today I got an email from one of my customers. Here's her email...
Thanks again for dropping the cookies yesterday. My sister and I are a little disappointed as most of our snowflakes were stuck together and the bottoms came off on the white tops. Also, a lot of the flip flops were overdone and very dark brown. We wanted to be able to display the cookies on a plate and give them as gifts. I know you are probably very busy and having to do a lot of cookies at once, but we did pay quite a bit of money, especially my sister. The onsies for the baby shower were so cute and perfect, we just expected the same quality. Just wanted you to know.
Hope you have a great holiday!
This particular order was for 8 dozen snowflakes and 2 dozen flip flops. After I quoted the price I realized the flip flops were smaller than I thought so I made 3 dozen instead. At the same time I also delivered 8 dozen snowflakes for another customer and 2 dozen snowflakes and 2 dozen dog bones for a third customer. All cookies were baked and decorated at the same time. I had a few cookies leftover and I just tried one of the flip flops and it was perfect. The snowflake/dog bone order was for a very good friend of mine and I already emailed her and she replied back right away and said she had individually wrapped the snowflakes and they were fine. The dog bones she moved into a basket and she didn't notice that any looked overcooked or otherwise less than perfect. How would you handle this?
This is a tuff one...you should ask her to send you a picture. Or see if you can view the "over" done cookies. I have read allot of baker's will ask to try the cake that was "dry".
I must say...her email was nice compared to some of the other CCer's have gotten...but I understand your disappointment. I'm sorry. I know we all have to hear it one time, but it sure does suck when we do.
This would be a tough call for me. Maybe offer a discount on a future order. If they are that bad maybe they should return them to you so you can see what happened. (since they aren't pleased) If they don't look great or what ever then offer a refund or remake them. I would take pictures always before delivery and maybe when you drop off, have them sign about being received in good shape, that way if they are stuck together you know right away. I hate this happened to you and since yours that you had at home was fine I wouldn't read much into it. Maybe they stored them incorrectly after receiving them. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
If you truly feel that you did your best and there were no other complaints from customers who received cookies from the same batch then I say just to let it go. Thank her for her comments and maybe offer her 20% off of her next order (depending on how you feel about it).
I think I would take this seriously. It's a really nice e-mail, and doesn't have any ring of 'looking for something for free' about it.
Can you call her to ask to get together and look at the items? Would you have time to re-do them? I would at least offer a discount for next time. She's obviously a returning customer and it would be nice to have her come back to you again.
Try not to be upset about it.
does she mean that the cookies were stacked on top of each other and stuck together? Am I understanding that right? if so, maybe she had them sitting in a warm spot like next to the stove or the heater or something and they melted? it definitely was a very nice email so I would respond likewise, tell her you were very busy and delivered XX dozen cookies to other customers with no complaints so you're not sure what could have happened to her batch. Maybe try to work in the fact that they were all baked and decorated in the same batch. I would definitely ask her to either return the damaged cookies or take a picture so you can see for yourself and if it wasn't her fault the cookies had problems, then offer some sort of replacement or discount on future orders. She sounds like the type of customer you want to keep. good luck...
I agree with TubbsCookies- it was a nice complaint e-mail. I'd go back to her along the lines of stephaniescakenj's suggestion and focus on the fact that you don't know what went wrong with her batch as it was done at the same time as other orders. Make it clear you'd like to work out what went wrong so that you can prevent it from happening again (e.g. if you find out it was due to how she stored them you can then say that you'll incule clear storing dos & don'ts ifor future customers). If you do find the source of the problem I'd offer her a small discount against a future order. If it ends up just being a difference in taste for the seemingly overcooked ones I'd just apologise nicely.
I'm with TubbsCookies-Very nice "complaint" email, so be nice back. She did do a pretty large order and is a repeat customer, so keep it that way. Apologize and offer a discount on a future order. More than likely, she'll forget about it and will order from you again in the future.
Good luck and chin up!
Happy ending for all involved. Here was my response to her initial email.
Here was her reply
Thank you for your very sweet offer to remake the cookies. I spoke with my sister and she said shes given out most of the cookies today at school. She appreciated your offer too!!! We will definitely order with you in the future, please know that!
Happy Holidays and thank you for being so willing to work with us.
I responded again and offered both she and her sister 25% off a future order of either cookies or a cake. I figured this might prompt them to order sooner rather than later, and maybe a birthday cake instead of only cookies, which is all that they've ordered in the past. She was thrilled and assured me that they would both be back. I also emailed the other customers I delivered to on Tuesday and they all responded that the cookies were fine.
I guess I can barely even call this a complaint. But I certainly feel better that it's completely resolved.
Thanks for your advice everyone!
Wow, somehow, my email didn't post. Here it is
I am very disappointed to hear that your cookies were not of the quality that you expected. I'm surprised to hear that the flip flops were over done as I had a couple of those leftover and they were very good. I'm also surprised to hear that the cookies were stuck together as I thought they seemed completely dry, but maybe the cold weather caused the royal icing to dry=2 0faster on the outside then the inside.
I would like the opportunity to make this right for you. What is the number of cookies that are not able to be used? If I can remake them, I will certainly do that for you. I believe in an earlier email you stated that you would be going out of town. What is the time frame for that?
I think you dealt with that perfectly. See what can happen when nice people deal with nice people? Everything ends up nicely!
I hope you get lots of business from her and people she refers to you!
I'm glad everything turned out well. It sounds like her original e-mail wasn't so much a complaint as an "FYI", feedback intended to help you. I'm wondering if maybe, even though all cookies were made at the same time, is it possible that her snowflakes happened to be the very first ones packaged, and maybe missed out on just a few critical minutes of drying time?? Either that or she kept them in a warm, humid environment causing the icing to soften a bit? As far as the "overbaked" cookies, maybe the previous order was slightly underbaked, and they really liked that. Or, I know when I make cookies, my oven is hotter in the back and that row of cookies is always more done than the others. Maybe the one she happened to try were just slightly overbaked at the edges?