How did Bakers Delight sell more than 1.2 million more hot cross buns from one year to the next?
By investing in the capability of sales & service staff to create customer experiences with ‘the delight factor’.

By Director, Spring Point
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Customer experience (CX) is a buzzword with bite. Studies show that 8 in 10 customers will pay more for a better experience, a price premium of up to 16% for comparable products and services. Loyalty and advocacy also benefit, with a positive customer experience making a person five times more likely to recommend a company. What’s more, acquiring a new customer is anywhere between five and 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one, depending on which study you believe and industry you are in. Numbers like these grab attention and drive investment decisions. One key area of investment is the capability of employees to positively influence customer touchpoints.

For example, we collaborated with Bakers Delight to create and evaluate a strategic capability program to foster the mindset and behaviours needed to shape customer experiences that truly delight. With increasing competitive pressure from supermarkets and artisan bakeries, Bakers Delight seized the opportunity to set new customer experience standards in line its brand promise: every baker should be delighted by the bread that they make, and every customer should be delighted by the service they receive.

Inspired by this promise, we worked with Bakers Delight to identify six ‘ingredients’ that bring the concept of delight to life in practical ways for participants. These included 1) Acknowledgement & Greeting, 2) Personalising Service, 3) Tastings & Product Knowledge, 4) Ad Ons, Up Selling & Substitute Selling, 5) Random Delight & Instore Theatre and 6) Handling Complaints. In order to increase revenue, repeat customers and brand advocacy it was hypothesised that all six elements must be combined and consistently applied. Importantly, Bakers Delight needed these factors to come together in time to impact the six-week Easter Period, their most critical revenue window for the year.

Program Snapshot

The Delight Factor capability program incorporated:
1) An engaging, high energy face-to-face workshop.
This provided the emotive ‘hook’ for why delighting customers matters. It included motion graphics highlighting business drivers and market conditions, storytelling to promote an empathetic connection with customers, product knowledge quiz ‘playoffs’ and scenario-based skits to emphasise each ingredient of delight. Passion, energy and momentum were further fostered through colourful collateral and workshop materials, fun props, costumes, and upbeat music.

2) Seven eLearning modules focused on different ‘ingredients’ of delight
Existing sales and service content was updated and chunked down into manageable course lengths (e.g. 7-10 minutes each) and optimised for mobile devices, so that they were easier for learners to complete in bakery before or after a shift. To minimise learner overload, the seven modules were aligned to the most relevant upcoming marketing campaigns in order to launch them in spaced batches. To promote learner engagement, fresh visuals and colour, puns and appropriate humour were used throughout, given that these are a big part of Bakers Delight’s culture.

3) In Bakery Kit
This contained tools and resources to embed The Delight Factor back on the job. Examples include a “Delight-o-meter” self-assessment for bakeries to gauge how they are tracking, a post implementation plan to foster staff ownership of positive changes, a Product Knowledge Playbook and a “Deck of Delight”. The latter was a low-tech, ‘gamified’ tool, similar to a deck of playing cards, with each card containing a product knowledge quiz question or customer service challenge for staff to randomly select at the start of each shift, during quiet periods or by a travelling Area Manager, to enable them to coach staff during their visit. Extremely popular, this deck was refreshed in line with each marketing campaign, through additional cards targeting key promotions (e.g. Back-to School, Pink Buns for Breast Cancer, Healthy Breads).

In total, 90 face-to-face workshops were conducted, with close to 2,000 participants taking part, and more than 5,000 participants completing all seven eLearning courses.

Business Impact of Investing in CX Capability
In terms of impact, the business metric that Bakers Delight was most interested in was revenue, and what it did during the six-week period leading up to Easter. The result was impressive. In this time, 1,243,480 more Hot Cross Buns were sold than the same period the previous year. This equated to an 11.7% sales increase, driven by a 12 cents increase in average spend per customer (SPC). This result helped counter claims that the sales increase was potentially driven by other factors, such as increased foot traffic, say for example, off the back of a strong Easter marketing campaign. The SPC figures suggest the revenue boost didn’t occur because suddenly more customers were visiting bakeries, but that when they did, something was happening within the customer experience itself to influence them to spend more. Numerous franchisees attributed the sales increase to a greater focus on customer service, upselling and active tastings as promoted by The Delight Factor. Area Managers also reported an increase in front-of-house staff providing random delight through offering complimentary product, value-adding through educating customers about products in line with their needs, going the extra mile (by helping customers carry their groceries to their car for example) and simply having more fun in the bakery. The cultural cut through of the program was further evident through customer feedback, such as this example of a staff member providing random delight to someone who needed it more than most:

“Today as I walked through Centro Albury, I was approached by a lovely Bakers Delight staff member, Nicola. She offered me a bag with bread and hot cross buns. I was blown away. I asked her what for and she politely told me because they wanted to do something for people in the community. This is the nicest thing I have had happen to me in a very long time and I am so very grateful. My family has been having a rough time lately and this has given me such a boost. This act of kindness has exceeded anything I have experienced in retail.”

Collective results like these helped to green light further investments, including establishing Hero of Delight Awards, linking learning assets like the “Deck-of-Delight” to ongoing marketing campaigns, including The Delight Factor skill building as part of onboarding and providing refresher training. These additional investments have in turn provided greater momentum to propel Bakers Delight along its CX journey.