At PGB, we added a small amount of cream cheese to the plain vanilla icing.
Some customers liked that, some didn’t.
At Sticky, the vanilla icing is a little different – fluffier, all butter – most really like it but not everyone.
Similarly, in the early months of Sticky, we had some feedback from customers about getting a bun that was soggy – maybe underbaked? – and then that same day, one of our 5-star reviews mentioned how incredibly gooey and swoon-worthy the sticky buns are…
Feedback is valuable: all of it has helped me shape the products and future feedback will continue to do so.
But one thing you need to learn as a business owner is how to respond to feedback, not only externally but internally.
For my external responses, I give myself full marks: I sincerely believe that customers who give feedback are sharing their experience and so there is no argument or explanation to be made.
The only thing to do is find a way to make the customer feel heard and understood.
Andrew and I are good at this We do our best to make it right whether that is a refund or replacement or whatever helps someone feel good about sharing their view.
But my internal response – by the way, this does not apply to Andrew – is flawed because somehow, some way, I believe that if I work hard enough, there will only be 100% positive feedback.
There will only be happy customers, only 5 star reviews, no mistakes or missteps.
There’s no way that the person who likes a tangy and dense vanilla icing is going to love Sticky’s fluffy and buttery icing as much.
The very same bun may be too gooey to Sally and too dry to Jim.
Once you jump into the entrepreneurial arena, you gotta be all in to everyone’s thoughts and feelings.
Andrew has really helped me understand that in any business (big or small), there are going to be some thumbs downs out there in the stands.
All you can do is take it in, respond appropriately to the customer, and work through in your own head what requires action and what does not.

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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