Handling An Unhappy Customer

Business By Kylie25 Updated 5 Apr 2018 , 6:55pm by kakeladi

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Kylie25 Posted 4 Apr 2018 , 8:19pm
post #1 of 6

Well guys, it happened.

today i got my first gut wrenching, slap in the face, complaint ive ever had.

the customer in question ordered a very simple cake, vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. Can’t go wrong with that, right?

wrong :(

the customer came into my shop this morning and proceeded to tell me it was “absolutely horrible” and “the worst cake I’ve ever had”.

i was very taken aback, and asked if she could tell me what exactly was wrong with the cake.

she let me know that the buttercream was “hard” and the flavor of the cake was “inedible”

she had about 2 slices of the cake left over (this was a tall 8 inch cake). She was peresistant on getting a refund, so I complied. Once she left, I started to poke around at the cake. The buttercream was incredibly soft, and it was even a few days old. So it’s odd to me that she said it was “hard”. I cut off a section of the cake that I could tell hadnt been touched, and tasted it. It tasted great to me. Just like my vanilla cake always does. 

My vanilla cake is one of my most popular flavors. It’s light, fluffy, and very moist. I’ve never had a single complaint about it before. In fact, people come back to tell me how much they loved it.

im wondering if this was one of those “buyer remorse” situations. Even though I gave her a discount upfront for being a friend of my parents. 

Any advice on how to handle similar situations in the future? I know I should Not have given her a full refund, but it’s very hard not to when being confronted like that face to face. I’m not very thick skinned when it comes to things like this, and would like to know how to better handle this kind of a situation moving forward. 

Thanks in advance!!

5 replies
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SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 5 Apr 2018 , 1:50am
post #2 of 6

I’m sorry that happened to you. It sounds like she is one of those people that lies and complains to get her items for free. Basically a thief. Try not to take it personally, though that is easier said than done. 

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cakefan92 Posted 5 Apr 2018 , 3:17am
post #3 of 6

I'm a firm believer in "whoever gets the cake pays for it". In other words, if all she returned was a couple of slices, then the cost of those is all you should have refunded.  If it were truly inedible, there would have been a great deal of it to be returned.

I know others will disagree with me because of "customer goodwill" and the threat of being blasted on social media, but I don't like bullies and won't give in to them.  And that's exactly what she was.

Make sure you have a refund policy firmly in place. Post it in your kitchen and stick to it.  Stiffen up that spine and don't let others intimidate you.  You know the quality of cake you produce, so don't take someone else's word for it.  Taste it right in front of them - if you have another face-to-face confrontation.  Most people will stick to phone calls or emails.

My policy has always been if they served and ate it, they pay for it and no refund.  However, I have also been known to give a small discount on a future order, even though I know I won't be making them anything else.

Buck up, little soldier.  We all have these awful learning experiences. Don't let it get to you but don't let it happen again. 

Good luck.

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Jeff_Arnett Posted 5 Apr 2018 , 3:19pm
post #4 of 6

Let’s look at it this way...you go to Walmartmart and buy a shirt.  You don’t come back holding one sleeve and expect a refund for the shirt.

my refund policy is simple ...if you’re not satisfied, return the entire cake, including the rest of the slice you tasted to determine it wasn’t satisfactory and we will talk.  You walk in with a slice or two days later that I have no idea how it’s been stored or handled and you will be politely shown the door! There’s other bakers...find one that can satisfy you!!

-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 5 Apr 2018 , 4:35pm
post #5 of 6

"Buck up, little soldier.  We all have these awful learning experiences. Don't let it get to you but don't let it happen again. "


"Let’s look at it this way...you go to Walmartmart and buy a shirt.  You don’t come back holding one sleeve and expect a refund for the shirt."

^^^ wow great stuff here, cakefan and jeff, as always ^^^


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kakeladi Posted 5 Apr 2018 , 6:55pm
post #6 of 6

Ditto K8.   Similar stories can be told by most, if not all if us.   I remember one MOB being sooo very unhappy w/the color match I did from the tiny paint chip I was given.  The MOB said she did a lot of cake decorating but didn't have the time to do her daughter's wedding cake.  My shop was flooded w/florecent lighting.  I came very close to matching the color.  The outdoor wedding was help under a brown tent.  MOB came unglued when I delivered.  She loudly ranted and raved about the color being 'army green' (vs the light 'celery' green she wanted).  Several days later she barges into my shop while I have a tasting going on to return the plates & pillers used and again starts screaming about how I ruined her daughter's wedding because of 'army green' - carrying on for at least 10 minutes.  Yes, it hurts our pride/feelings but we have to learn to let it roll off our backs.  I know, harder said than done.

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