What really goes into building an award-winning customer relationship? Katie-Joy Woods, bakery technologist at Campden BRI, explains…

“I hadn’t entered an award before so I really wasn’t expecting to win – but that made it feel even more special,” says Katie-Joy Woods, bakery technologist at Campden BRI and winner of the BIA 2017 Customer Focus Award.

“It was a big category and so many people working in the baking industry do a great job of being customer-focused,” Woods adds. But her dedication and commitment to the client shone through, despite it being her first experience of developing a functional bakery product.

The project in question involved working with a customer who hoped to gain funding for a medical study looking into nutritional enrichment of flour and its potential health benefits in baked products. Clear goals were set and trials undertaken, which eventually led to a larger ongoing project and a request from the customer for more samples to use in presentations and at trade show exhibits.

“It involved working with wheat breeders right through to producing a finished product, so I gained valuable knowledge about the crucial link between primary production, the quality of the raw ingredients and the final product,” she says.

“I’ve developed a passion for milling since working on the project, so I volunteered to coordinate our harvest testing each year.”

Regardless of the nature of the project, regular contact with the client is vital to its success, believes Woods. “We keep our clients up to date with progress via regular calls and interim reports. Nothing can substitute face-to-face contact, though, so we invite our clients to come in to work alongside us in our pilot bakeries so they can touch, smell and see their product first-hand.

“This is really important to the overall success of a project as emails can easily be misinterpreted, which can lead to mistakes. This can cause delays to the project and, if work needs to be repeated, it increases the cost.”

The BIA success gained coverage in local papers and on social media, while all members of Campden BRI’s bakery and cereals processing department have included the award and logo in their email signatures, helping to raise the profile of the company.

Woods, meanwhile, has become something of a celebrity in the bakery community, thanks to the win.

“I attended the British Society of Bakers autumn conference and people recognised my face even though they had never met me before,” she says.

It’s an experience she’d definitely recommend. “Winning has given me a real sense of achievement and it has been a big confidence booster. Even if you’re a runner-up, attending the awards night is amazing.”

Sponsor’s comment

“Congratulations to the winner of the 2017 Customer Focus Award, Campden BRI.

“Bakery technologist at Campden BRI, Katie-Joy Woods, worked closely with her customer to ensure the Campden BRI team developed the right product for them and met all their objectives.

“The customer’s needs were at the heart of Katie-Joy’s work, and their positive relationship and high-level skill set ensured Campden BRI met the brief and developed an appropriate product.”

John Lindsay, senior vice-president and chief commercial officer, Europe, CSM Bakery Solutions