I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Small Biz Skill FAIL

One of the skills I am VERY bad at is telling bad clients (who suck the life force out of you) to get lost. At the moment I have one client who is driving me crazy, and I don't really want her as a client any more... but I don't know how to get rid of her.

I would not be exaggerating when I say I've spent probably more than 12 hours in talking to her - in person, on the phone, via email, etc. In other words, whatever money I might have made on this job is now into the negatives. It's costing my money just to talk to her. She hasn't yet paid a deposit, hasn't settled on a final design, continually asks for different samples, and is basically behaving like a Bridezilla of the highest order. She would actually be the worst I've ever had. Fact is, even if I make her cupcakes edged in real gold leaf, she's not going to be happy.

As we all know, I really pride myself on customer service and going the extra mile(s) for clients. It's what I do, it's why people pay what I charge, and it's how I retain customers. Plus I get an immense feeling of satisfaction when someone's expectations are exceeded.

But this lady? She's not going to be satisfied, no matter how hard I try (and believe me, I'm doing my best.) The other day she came to drop off some cupcake papers (for yet more colour trials) and stayed almost 15 minutes. IN THE DOORWAY. Even though I told her I could not chat, I had an appointment in the other room (which I did.) I even had to go to my other client and apologise for the delay. So I WALKED AWAY from this bride and she still did not seem to get the hint as she stood there for another 5 minutes or so, talking endlessly.

So tell me. How do you get rid of someone like this?

I can't do it on price since I quoted her at the beginning of this process.

Ideas all welcome.


Sam said...

Difficult one I should say as I too am a people pleaser and try to please the one that I am with. That said, I would probably say something like "thanks for dropping off these cupcakes cr ases, I cannot stop to chat because I have another appointment to go to". Surely she'd appreciate that because SHE wouldn't want to be kept waiting if she'd booked an appointment with you. But like I said - difficult one - how do you say "shove off" without being rude!! ;-)

the baker's wife said...

How about
'I'm becoming concerned that we aren't moving towards a satisfactory wedding cake at all. At this point you have seen the best options I have available. If you think you'd like me to make your wedding cake, then I need you to confirm this by choosing what you want from what you have already seen, paying the deposit and trusting that with my years of experience I will treat your wedding day with respect and make your wedding cake very special. My services are in demand, I have other clients enquiring about cakes for the same day and if you can't make a decision shortly, I'm concerned that you're going to be disappointed when I am too busy to accept your cake on that day.'

Shazam, a deposit and a bride who has been forced to decide something on her list.

Not to stick up for the bridezilla, but I remember all to well the decisions that your whole life seemed to hinge on- tones of pink, shades of printers fonts, thickness of paper, just ludricious.

If you can't get rid of her (try 'oh, that day is now unavailable, someone else paid their deposit, have you tried Ferguson Plarre?)', get the bridesmaid to be a go-between. Make her talk to someone else before she talks to you. Try to get that person to be a sane person.