Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: December 2018

November 20, 2018
By Diane Chiasson

5 Tips to impress your clients

Photo: Adobe Stock

Do you remember the last time a restaurant, bakery or a café surprised you, with a quick phone call, handwritten postcards or a sample of freshly baked cookies?

A kind gesture can go a long way towards gearing up customer loyalty in a competitive bakery marketplace. A customer visiting your bakery should feel like they’re having a mini-spa experience. Each customer should be waited on like a member of the royal family, and should expect to have an enjoyable, stress-free experience. If you want to delight your guest and keep them coming back again and again, it’s important to pay attention to the little things.  

Sincerely welcome each guest
Make sure to train your staff to offer a genuine welcome to each guest. Did you know smiling is infectious? When your staff members smile at guests, you can bet that not only those guests will smile back, and that smile will lift their mood.

Train your staff to be on the lookout for first-time customers, and make sure to provide them with the most friendly and attentive service possible. Try to establish a basic friendship with them and give each of your customers a warm welcome.

Use your guest’s name
There is no word we love more than to hear our own name. Learn your customers’ names and give them the opportunity to share some brief personal information with you. More than anything in the foodservice business, making a great impression starts with having personal, attentive, kind and caring staff members who put your customers’ satisfaction as a top priority.

Next time customers come in, take the initiative to greet them by name and ask them how they are; you will greatly surprise them by just calling them by their first name. Take the time to listen, talk to them, and then recommend some of your favourite bakery products. Just take some time to know your guests. In a busy, impersonal world, building personal relationships goes a long way with customers, and they will pass your information on to family and friends.

Say “Thank You!”
Customer Service means saying, thank you. Make sure you and your staff members always thank your guests for spending some time at your bakery, and tell them how much you appreciate their continued business. Words are powerful, and let them know that you would be more than happy to serve them again on their next visit. Take the time to show your gratitude and say thank you to your customers and make them feel appreciated. Make it real, and just don’t use any scripts. Just remember that often the smallest things make the biggest difference, i.e. a smile, a handshake, a sincere thank you.

Send them postcards
You have no idea how big of an impact a simple postcard can make in terms of building a relationship with your customers. People love getting postcards! When a customer shows loyalty, a thank you note is just the way to go. It will transform them into lifelong, repeat customers. Send your customers a simple handwritten postcard and signed from a couple members of your staff. To show your appreciation, send a nice colourful postcard with a real stamp. Keep it simple and let your customers know just how much they mean to you. You will be surprised with the positive impact these personal touches will bring to your bakery.

If you keep a customer database, “wow” your customers with little touches, like remembering a customer’s birthday or anniversary. Birthdays are always important days that should be recognized. Surprises can turn a satisfied customer into a delighted one. Your guests will know that you care by sending them personalized birthday wishes via a real beautiful birthday card. Many bakeries offer birthday incentives which give guests a complimentary birthday discount or treating them to a small gift card for a coffee and a slice of birthday cake.

Beyond your great bakery products and service, give each guest a reason to come back. Even something as small as a slice of birthday cake can be enough to get your customers coming back again and again through the door. Make your guests feel appreciated by giving them something beyond the usual when they least expect it.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. She is recognized as the industry leader in providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or , or visit

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