Fully Booked, Sorry it's not Personal!
Do you find yourself apologising for having a busy small business?
For me, there’s nothing worse than a friend, a family member or any potential customer asking you to create a cake for them, and then having to tell them that I’m already ‘Fully Booked’ for the date they require, it’s just awful, but all I can do is hope they understand that it’s business, it’s never personal !
I manage all cake orders using a diary system. It’s pretty simple, if the date a customer requires a cake is available (free) in the diary then I can offer a cake quotation for the slot required to design a customer’s cake.
As some of you may know, some cakes may take a few hours to bake, cool and design in total, but others can take many hours or even days, therefore, careful planning is required when booking cake-slots.
Most cakes will require decorations to be custom made and ordered days or weeks in advance, custom cake toppers, special decorations etc.
I always limit the amount of cake orders I take each week to ensure we provide the best quality cakes, not high volume output, that’s not what Lily Blossom Cake Creations is about. I believe in quality over quantity every time.
I like to dedicate every second of my time to each and every cake that I create, paying special attention to every small detail to ensure the best result for the customer for their special occasion.
I always ask customers to request a cake quotation as early as they possibly can months in advance if possible which can help avoid the disappointment of having to advise them that I am fully booked for the date they require.
Payment in Full or a 50% deposit will secure an order, once that deposit is paid, I will do everything possible to ensure the cake is created for the customer. No one can possibly see into the future, but I would have to be hospitalised to not fulfil the customer’s order!
I have had customers email me in January to book cakes later on in the year to ensure they don’t miss out and feel disappointed.
Sometimes customers will request a cake 2 days in advance of the date they require, which is no problem at all, if it is a small buttercream cake or simple cupcakes and if I have a cake-slot available in the diary, and I have the amount of hours free to create the design the customer would like, then it’s fine.
I’ve found that many of my customers and a lot of repeat customers are extremely understanding if I am fully booked.
The whole point of this Blog is to reassure anyone, friend, family member, existing customer or future customer, that being ‘Fully Booked’ is not personal.
If I had the time to create a cake for every phone call, email, Instagram or Facebook message there wouldn’t be enough hours in each day!
It’s the worst feeling in the world to turn a customer away, but there’s nothing that can be done, except to apologise and explain the need for them to book a cake-slot as much in advance as they possibly can.
I’ve been very lucky that, as far as I am aware, my customers don’t take it personally, but I know other cake makers that have had a very difficult time.
I remember reading an article a few years ago that a baker had an enquiry from a lady to make a cake for her but the baker had to tell the lady that she was so sorry but she was fully booked for the weekend the lady required her cake and that she just couldn’t make anymore cakes for that weekend.
Apparently the lady was furious and took it very personally. She even told the baker that this was the second time she had tried to order a cake from her and that she was fully booked again. The baker told her again how sorry she was and that she usually asks for at least 1 months notice for orders (which was also posted on her Facebook page).
The lady was still angry and she accused the cake maker that “you’re not really busy” (in a very rude way, laughing at her), saying "I hear this a lot about you" & telling the cake maker that “she will never recommend anyone to her ever again”
She tried explaining to her how time consuming the cakes are to create and that she could only do so much a week, but the customer still continued to be rude.
I was horrified when I read what had happened to the poor baker, this kind of spiteful behaviour is totally unfair and unjustified.
When I am ‘Fully Booked’ I politely let the customer know and I always explain that it would have been my pleasure to create a cake for them and that I hope to have the opportunity to create a cake for them in the future, and that is exactly how I feel. Although I run a business, my response is genuine and heartfelt.
I am always very apologetic and I tell customers that if there were any way I could possibly fit in another order that I would.
I know many cake makers who have had a poor customer experience and have been told by the customer the following:-
they will never speak to the cake maker again
they are never going to ask the cake maker to make a cake ever again
they will never like or share anything that the cake maker posts on Facebook or Instagram ever again!
they will never recommend the cake maker again, that’s it!
from best cake maker to cake maker be damned!
Sadly all the above could be avoided!
One way to possibly help avoid a potential customer from missing the opportunity for you to create a cake for them is to post a monthly calendar on your website or Facebook page that shows what dates you are fully booked and post an update whenever a week or month is completely booked and encourage customers to book early so as not to miss out!
Everyone will have their own booking system, and you must continue to use whatever system works best for you and your company.
All that upset over the fact that the potential customer didn’t secure their date early enough with the cake maker, and that’s the one thing we have absolutely no control over, that is solely the responsibility of the potential customer.
What's your opinion? Has anyone had similar experiences or can relate to anything I have mentioned in this Blog? If you would like to share your own experience of being ‘Fully Booked’ and how your customer’s react (good or bad) that would be great.
Also it would be great to know how you manage your own cake booking systems that work well for you and hopefully you are willing to share this with us in the comments below?
Thanks for reading.