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Thread: Do you send clients a "preview"?

  1. #1
    Senior Member frostedbylesley's Avatar
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    Do you send clients a "preview"?

    Just wondering if you give clients a preview/sneak peek or whatever before you deliver (or finish decorating) the final order?

    I generally do this, but when I did the tie dye cookies, I texted my friend (they were for her son) sneak peek photo of what they looked like, and went on about finishing the order. An hour later, I got a text back from her saying, "I like the peace sign and the 'groovy' but I'm not loving the 'L'." I texted back, "It's not an L (her son's name is Luke) it's a 7 (for his 7th birthday)." She said, "Hmmmm, it looks like an L. I'm not loving it." I was really upset. I texted back that the cookies were done, and if she really wasn't happy I would be happy not to charge her. But, if she wanted these by the date needed, I had to go with what I had finished as I didn't have time to restart the whole thing." She texted back that she showed them to Luke and he loved them, grabbed the phone out of her hand to show his grandparents and brother and was so excited for them. "If he's happy, I'm happy." She was overly gushy and apologetic about it, and in the end, they were a hit. Every other time I've sent a preview photo, I've gotten rave reviews.

    But this got me to thinking:

    1. Is a preview, in general, a good idea? And if so, do you do just a couple of cookies and wait for a thumbs up from the client before proceeding with the whole order? Do you agree to do a "proof" ahead of time, kind of like if you were printing something?

    2. I know it doesn't happen often, but what do you do (besides refund money) if a customer really hates something you've done, or if there is just a general problem with the order, and there's not time to redo an entire order?

    Discuss.

  2. #2
    I usually do not. I have never had anyone not like a design (they never mentioned it to me) but if that happened, I would not charge for the ones they didnt like.

    *i was just thinking last night how when these things come up, we have to rethink our policies/procedures. Im getting ready to ship some cookes to Minnesota on Tuesday and I keep worrying about them breaking! If all 24 of them break, do I refund all the money? I have to come up with a solid policy about shipping and state it up front.

    *You're right...with cookies, we cannot redo them if the customer is not satisfied because of time. What do we do?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ruth D's Avatar
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    A few times when I've had customers wanting large orders, I'll make a few sample cookies and send them to the customer. Only once have I had problems doing this and it was because I didn't make the cookie order exactly like the sample cookies. It was what I thought, a minor difference in design but evidently the customer saw it differently. Another time, I posted pictures of a birthday cookie order online and the lady that ordered them sent me a msg and told me I had put the wrong birthday number on top of the cookie cake! Fortunately, I hadn't shipped the cookies yet and could change the number from 18 to 19 on the cookie.

    Generally, I've found people can't wait to see their cookies, either by picture or in person. It's what makes this business so fun, I think. To have adults get so excited about about a product that I actually produced totally amazes to me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Anita1956's Avatar
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    Lesley, I generally send a photo in advance when the cookies are being shipped, mainly because I want them to be the first to see them before I post them on Facebook I've never had anyone say they didn't like a design but if they did, I'd probably feel bad about it but I wouldn't redo it or give them a refund.

    It sounds like your friend didn't know the exact designs you were making and maybe that's the issue. When settling on what someone wants, I make sure they know more or less what every design is going to be. If they say it's for a birthday for someone who loves dogs I tell them the shapes I can do and would those be okay? That's when they'll tell me, "I like the dog, doghouse, paws, and bones but let's pass on the fire hydrant." That happens all the time and it saves frustration on my part and disappointment on theirs in the end.

    Because I don't have a huge portfolio of my own cookies to show them in advance when deciding what cookies to make, I basically describe what I can do and what it will look like. I NEVER show them someone else's cookies as an example but will tell them that if they find cookies online they like and can direct me to the location I can let them know if I can do something similar.

    Just wondering, did the woman know you were making 7's as part of the order?

  5. #5
    If it's something I'm not sure about, I will make one or two up with extra dough & icing, not even necessarily the actual colors, just whatever I have at the time, explaining it is just a sample & would something like that be ok. I have also traced cookie cutters so they could see the size & difference in cutters & let the customer decide which to use, and one even drew what she wanted on the tracing. I'm glad she did because she wanted WAY bigger than I was going to do - I even had to charge $1 extra per cookie and the order took 5 batches of dough!

  6. #6
    Senior Member frostedbylesley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita1956 View Post
    Lesley, I generally send a photo in advance when the cookies are being shipped, mainly because I want them to be the first to see them before I post them on Facebook I've never had anyone say they didn't like a design but if they did, I'd probably feel bad about it but I wouldn't redo it or give them a refund.

    It sounds like your friend didn't know the exact designs you were making and maybe that's the issue. When settling on what someone wants, I make sure they know more or less what every design is going to be. If they say it's for a birthday for someone who loves dogs I tell them the shapes I can do and would those be okay? That's when they'll tell me, "I like the dog, doghouse, paws, and bones but let's pass on the fire hydrant." That happens all the time and it saves frustration on my part and disappointment on theirs in the end.

    Because I don't have a huge portfolio of my own cookies to show them in advance when deciding what cookies to make, I basically describe what I can do and what it will look like. I NEVER show them someone else's cookies as an example but will tell them that if they find cookies online they like and can direct me to the location I can let them know if I can do something similar.

    Just wondering, did the woman know you were making 7's as part of the order?
    I had told her, "Why don't I incorporate some 7's and Happy Birthday Luke's and some 70s words." And she told me he likes peace symbols, but she was giving me free reign to do what I wanted. When I texted the pic, I said "Happy Birthday Luke" was too busy for the cookies, so I nixed that.

    It was more negative on my part than my friend's. In the end, she loved them, raved about them, etc. And she admitted, "I did tell you to do what you wanted." But it could have gone SO badly if she wasn't a good friend.

    Back up one second: Sometimes, I will sketch out something on paper -- trace the cookie cutters and color with pencils or crayons so they can see the concept.

    And I do refer to flickr for ideas and inspiration. I will send a link that says (basically), "I am referring to this photo for inspiration only, but I will not copy the exact original design." People get that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member frostedbylesley's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Sunnygals;31403]I have to come up with a solid policy about shipping and state it up front.QUOTE]

    Jackie, this is the verbiage that will go up on my website:

    Shipping:
    · Please see our shipping charges, which will be added to your order. To receive special notice of free shipping offers, join our mailing list.
    · Cookies can be shipped anywhere within the USA. We bake on [day] and ship on [day].
    · While our cookies are sturdy, and we take great care when packaging to reduce the chance of breakage, cookies do crumble. Frosted always includes a few extra (5% over your order) “just in case”. If they don’t break and you eat them yourself? We won’t tell.
    · Certain shapes ship better than others. Baseball cookies will hold up better than baseball bat cookies. A horse head will hold up better than the legs on a horse-shaped cookie, etc.

  8. #8
    Moderator CindyW's Avatar
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    I never send a preview, just to avoid what you've experienced. I won't even post them on facebook till the customer has received them.
    Some people are just too picky, but once they get them, they are usually a hit with 'everyone else!'.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Donna Bailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brindy View Post
    I never send a preview, just to avoid what you've experienced. I won't even post them on facebook till the customer has received them.
    Some people are just too picky, but once they get them, they are usually a hit with 'everyone else!'.
    I tend to agree with Brindy for the majority of orders. It's the overall look of the order all together that WOWs them!
    Blessings, Donna B.
    The Cookie Patch
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000474009899

  10. #10
    Senior Member CookieDaydream's Avatar
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    i dont show cookies in the middle of decorating. actually, i cant. my computer sux so bad i have to unload the camera's memory card in my in-law's house, and that only happens monthly or so.
    i offer, once i have the sketches done, especially if it's a customized order, to scan/fax the sketches. then they can like it or not and say so before i start making actual product. sometimes i do several shapes and they pick 2, or they change a font... usually i just hear "surprise me"

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