Step 1: Acknowledge the complaint
When we receive a complaint, especially if it is your first one, it’s our natural instinct to either defend ourselves or our product, that is argue back OR just, hide and pretend nothing happened maybe by offering a full refund and try to forget about it.
Here are a few ideas on to deal with such customers:
- Thank them for their feedback, and be sincere about it.
- Acknowledge their feelings, and be sincere about it.
- If it’s over the phone, do not interrupt them. Let them get out their entire complaint before you reply, and use that time to gather yourself. If it’s online don’t reply immediately but do so in a timely manner.
You need to figure out what you should do before you can proceed. Be very honest with yourself. Were you in a rush while you were making the cake or were you tired. It’s ok. Mistakes do happen.
A Great reply is to say:
“Thank you for your feedback. Please give me some time to respond in detail. I will consult my order records, and will get back to very soon”.
Step 2: Are they justified in complaining?
Think hard about their complaint. Does it have ANY basis at all? Ask yourself these questions: Were you happy with the cake? Did you deliver what they ordered? What were they expecting? Could you have done better? Did you really forget to do something on the cake? Did you get the flavor, colour or size wrong? Does this client’s complaint have ANY basis in fact, or are they just want to vent?
Honesty is the best policy. If you’ve made a mistake, then be big enough to admit it and apologise. Most often an apology is enough. It shows you have taken their complaint seriously. Tell them how you are going to make changes in future so that this problem doesn’t occur again.
Step 3: If their complaint is justified and you are at fault
Decide how you’re going to make this situation better for the both of you, and that’s NOT always via a refund.
If you are at fault, you still want to make them come back to you AND tell their friends about the amazing service they got but you still don’t want to lose money. Imagine yourself in their shoes. How would you want your complaint to be dealt with? Would you expect a refund? You might want to offer them a full refund, part refund, or free box of cupcakes as a form of apology (or a free cupcakes and a full refund if was a big mistake). What you offer depends on the severity of the complaint. For example, if you got the flavour wrong but they still got a great cake? Offer them a discount on their next order. You forgot to write Happy Birthday on it or you spelt a name wrong?
Apologise politely but don’t offer any refund. Frankly not writing Happy Birthday on a birthday cake will have no real impact on their event, but they deserve a sincere apology at the least because you didn’t meet their expectations. You got the colour wrong which was a mismatch to their colour theme? Offer a partial refund.
If the entire cake collapsed in a pile on the floor because you failed to secure it properly and so they had no cake at their wedding or birthday party? In that case, you have to refund the entire amount, send some cupcakes AND offer a discount on a future order. You’ve got to make them happy, but don’t reward them too much as that’s an admission of guilt and sets up the tone for future orders from them. If they’ve complained on your Social Media platform, be friendly and polite in your response, but take any further conversation offline.
Hello, my name is Rotimicakelady and I am a cake business coach that teaches cake business owners how to grow and have a profitable cake business so that they have a constant stream of customers buying their delicious treats.
I have been running my own successful home based cake business for some years now. I have also been teaching bakers through my online courses who are struggling with low sales, with strategies on how to market, and price their cakes for profit.
In addition I am also run a Facebook Group where I coach, offer support and help bakers in their businesses.
I have helped over 50 bakers through my online course ‘A comprehensive guide to starting your cake business in 30 days’ with much needed information on how to start a cake business in Nigeria. I also teach close to 4000 cake enthusiasts through my Facebook Group how to run a money making cake business.
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If you are struggling with getting customers for their cakes, I can help you solve this problem by showing you how to market, sell, price, plan, structure and brand your business so you are constantly selling to the right people who want your cakes.