Jonathan Winchester, MD of mystery shopping and customer service specialist Shopper Anonymous, points to the power of moments of truth

Over the years, thousands of studies have shown that what makes effective one-to-one communication between your team member and the customer has three major components: body language, the tone of your voice and the words that you use.

Research tells us, however, that body language makes up 80% of one-to-one communication and our more than 100,000 mystery shopping trips in the fresh food industry across the world over the past 15 years back this up. Given that you have just six seconds in which to impress the customer, the two most important components are eye contact and a smile, preferably with a positive acknowledgement normally a simple "hello!". In Shopper Anonymous-speak, we call this ’the moment of truth’.

A ’moment of truth’ presents a positive impression of a business and can happen several times to a single customer while within your bakery. These ’moments of truth’ can be while the customer is in a queue or when they’re being served; sitting at a table, when a team member passes them; and, most importantly, when they leave the shop when the initial "hello" is replaced with "thank you", "goodbye" or "look forward to seeing you again".

We know that in a bakery with a sit-down food offering, the average team has the opportunity to deliver at least four ’moments of truth’ to every customer. A good tip is to sit in your bakery, follow a customer through the experience and measure how many moments of truth that customer receives. I suspect that, in the average bakery, it might be one out of the possible four.

Through our surveys we know that businesses on a comprehensive mystery-shopping programme deliver at least three, ensuring customers leave with a positive impression that leads them to recommend the business to their friends all based on that all-important ’moment of truth’.

Your challenge is to measure and increase the ’moments of truth’ within your business. You or even better, someone anonymous should go and observe your team in action right now to see if they are delivering ’moments of truth’. Working on the ratio of four per customer, if you’ve got 200 customers per day, that’s 800 ’moments of truth’ your team need to be delivering. Put simply, more ’moments of truth’ equals more profitability.