The Delight Factor: Award-Winning Learning

 by Justine La Roche

I had the ‘delightful’ (couldn’t resist!) honour of accepting the award for Best Learning & Development Program on behalf of my client Bakers Delight at the recent 2017 Australian HR Awards. Here’s a snapshot of what this award-winning learning involved and the results it achieved.

Introducing The Delight Factor …

Bakers Delight has traditionally differentiated itself from competitors through the quality and innovation of its bread and bread products. With increasing competitive pressure from supermarkets and artisan bakeries, a strategic opportunity presented to set new customer experience standards in line with the organisation’s brand promise: every baker should be delighted by the bread that they make and every customer should be delighted by the service they receive.

It therefore became apparent that a learning & development program for frontline sale and service staff was required to lift awareness and capability in the ingredients of delight in targeted and meaningful ways. These ‘ingredients’ were identified as Acknowledgement & Greeting, Personalising Service, Tastings & Product Knowledge, Ad Ons, Up Selling & Substitute Selling, Random Delight & Instore Theatre, and Complaints. It was further identified that the participant experience would need to mirror the energy and passion that employees have for Bakers Delight’s products and the business generally, i.e. it needed to be delightful.

Appreciating that to create truly delightful customer experiences would require shifts in mindset, knowledge, skills and behaviours, a holistic, blended learning solution – The Delight Factor – was crafted. The Delight Factor incorporates:

An engaging, high energy face-to-face workshop

This three hour workshop provides the emotive ‘hook’ for why delighting customers matters. This jam packed session includes a digital animation highlighting the business drivers and market conditions The Delight Factor is designed to address, storytelling to promote an empathetic connection with customers, product knowledge quiz ‘playoffs’ and scenario-based skits to bring the ingredients of delight to life. Passion, energy and momentum is further stimulated through colourful collateral and workshop materials, fun props and costumes, and upbeat ‘80s music played throughout (channelling the year that Bakers Delight were founded). In other words, the training is what it promotes.

Seven eLearning modules focused on different ‘ingredients’ of delight

Similar emphasis was also placed on the visual design and user experience of the eLearning modules to ensure that these were colourful and fresh. Built in Articulate Storyline 2 and launched via Bakers Delight’s Learning Management System (LMS) ‘Breaducate’, existing content was updated and chunked down into manageable course lengths (e.g. 5-7 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, puns and appropriate humour were used throughout, given that these are a big part of Bakers Delight’s culture. While primary onscreen content is presented in text given the noise levels in the bakeries, video and audio played a supporting role in the modules to add life and to grab attention. An avatar was further utilised to personalise the online experience.

In Bakery Kit

This kit contained tools and resources to embed The Delight Factor back on the job, including a “Delight-o-meter” self-assessment for bakeries to gauge how they are tracking against the ingredients of delight, a post implementation embedding plan to foster staff ownership of positive changes, a Product Knowledge Playbook and a “Deck of Delight”. The latter is a low-tech, ‘gamified’ tool, similar in format 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 around the featured product during their visit. By playing with these cards, employees maintain awareness around the ingredients of delight, thereby transforming product knowledge from learning potentially ‘boring’ facts by heart, to something employees can personally connect with. This embedding strategy has been so popular, that to sustain its impact, the deck is now refreshed in line with each marketing campaign, through seven additional cards targeted to the particular promotion (e.g. Back-to School, Pink Buns for Breast Cancer, Healthy Breads).


The Delight Factor was piloted in November 2016 in South Australia and New Zealand. The program was then rolled out across the remaining Australian locations prior to Easter 2017, typically one of the busiest and strongest sales periods of the year. Overall, 90 face-to-face workshops were conducted, with a total of 1950 participants (approximately 18% of the total workforce) taking part. A minimum 80% completion per bakery goal was achieved for the eLearning and the completion rate for all seven modules is approximately 5,000 learners and counting.

A key indicator of the success of The Delight Factor was Bakers Delight’s 2017 Easter Sales compared to 2016. During the six week period leading up to Easter 1,243,480 more Hot Cross Buns were sold than the same period the previous year. This equates to an 11.7% sales increase, driven by a 12 cents increase in average spend per customer. Numerous franchisees contribute this increase to a greater focus on customer service, upselling and active tastings as promoted by The Delight Factor.

The immediate cut through of The Delight Factor has been impressive and perhaps best summarised by the following customer feedback, received shortly after implementation:

Today as I walked through Centro Albury I was approached by a very lovely staff member of Bakers Delight, Nicola, telling me today they were doing random acts of kindness. She offered me a bag with 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 bit of a rough time lately and this has given me such a boost. This act of kindness has exceeded anything I have experienced in retail.”

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