AHi all cake decorators out there,
This is my first question/post/thread on cake central. I find the forums in cake central are very useful, so thank you for all your comments.
Here's my question, I've recently made a chocolate ganache cake for a customer, she said her family doesn't like the cake to be too sweet. So in the process of making the cake, I lessen the sugar, and even replaced the semisweet chocolate with bittersweet chocolate. To make the long story short, it turned out that the cake was still too sweet for her taste. I've already apologized to her in person, is there anything else I should do to show good customer service? How far should a cake decorator go to achieve good customer service?
Appreciate any advise and comments. Thanks so much.
Hey! I'd say you have done as much as you can do in the situation. You always want to be providing the best customer service you can but you have to be careful that you don't end up being taken advantage of. I read a lot of stories on this forum which begger belief!
In this case, firstly, I can't understand anyone with the mentality of 'i don't like anything too sweet but I'm still going to order a cake' anyway (seriously??!!!) but I would explain that you have made the modifications to the recipe which you can while not risking the integrity of the cake itself and perhaps suggesting an alternative cake in the future. Has she asked for any kindof refund? I once had a woman ask for a chocolate cake with the same criteria (not too sweet) and she asked after my choc. fudge cake. I diverted her away from it straight away as it's basically like injecting sugar directly into your blood stream!!
A[@]Absolutely8[/@] you can't please everyone. One person's yum is another's yuck. If the majority of your customers are happy, you've nothing to worry about.
You've apologised to your customer. That's pretty good service and professional and there's nothing else you should be doing as it will look as if you don't know what you're doing or that you don't have faith in your recipes. You did great!
She doesn't want chocolate cake, she wants chocolate bread!
[email protected] @petitecat @pastrybaglady: thanks soooo much for your advises and comments. Yes, I have explained all the attempts I made to make the cake less sweet. This is my first negative feedback from a customer. Honestly it wasn't easy for me, but I try to be open minded about this because I'm sure I can learn something from this experience. I'm relieve to know the steps I took were considered okay by other cake decorators :) (I'm doing my happy dance now!!!)
I don't sell but I think most professional decorators wouldn't have attempted a new recipe for one specific request. They have a menu of flavors and the customer can take them or leave them. Plus a big part of the sweetness of the cake isn't just the cake flavor, it is the combination of cake and icing, or ganache in your case. You could have provided chocolate bread as suggested above and it may have been too sweet for their tastes depending on the filling and icing you used.
Aexactly what denetteb said -- i would not change my recipe unless the client wanted to pay additionally for personal pastry chef services -- which is a substantial hourly rate plus ingredients -- never had anyone take me up on that one -- they can order what i make -- i would recommend tangy fruit filling or a flourless cake which is not sweet but i'm not changing my recipes without big bucks changing hands
If someone said they don't want something that's too sweet I wouldn't have done ganache to begin with, it's very rich, which isn't the same as sweet but might as well be for cake purposes. Trying to change the recipe night have alleviated a little of that, but chocolate in general is going to be a big sugar rush, and ganache would increase that.
If she orders another cake and says that she doesn't want a sweet one, stick to citrus curds. They're tart and that cuts the sweet factor. Or raspberries. Anything sour. But if she orders a sweet cake again just tell her that you can't make something sweet not be sweet.
As far as your question about how far do you go to give good customer service, I'd say as far as you need to but not so far that you are responding to things that are unreasonable. You have to balance the reasonable with the ridiculous and how much the cost of each is. People get into the mentality of "who's going to win this" when it's often best to give a little if it makes your life easier in the long run. I remember one person on here who was arguing with a client about a refund. After getting about four pages of advice someone thought to ask how much the refund was for, and she said something like $40. She had already spent so much time with this customer, was arguing with paypal disputes, and had a long road ahead of her if she kept arguing with the client, it would have been easier to refund the $40 and have it be finished, saving her a lot of time and aggravation. Sometimes it turns into an adversarial thing when it doesn't need to be. On the other hand, if someone has a complaint that "is without merit" you don't need to bend at all. Every situation is different.
Sounds like you served her as well as you could, and who can know if she would ever be pleased?
That being said, a meringue style buttercream has slightly more than half the sugar (by weight) than a typical american buttercream icing/filling. Some of the bulk of the icing is made up of the egg whites, and not just powdered sugar. I have people commenting all the time that the icing is "not too sweet".
Personal taste is crazy, and you did great. Even too much, as others said. Cake IS sweet.
My hubby goes for "super" lemon. The only liquids I add, are sour. Lemon juice, lemon peel AND lemon extract--- no icing, or minimal powdered sugar glaze. Only for him.
The only counter balance to sweet is sour, and the lemon curd recommendation above is spot on too.
AThank you so much all for the comments and advises. Yes, next time if a customer ask for a cake that isn't too sweet I'll reccommend them to go with tart cakes.