A common question when I visit bakeries is how to keep staff motivated and providing good service. The answer? Reward them. If you’re going to empower your team to be successful, you need to reward them if they do something well.

Spotting good service is easy for both customer and manager. It’s about staff following the ABC principle going Above and Beyond the Call of duty.

There are three main ways to measure great service: get feedback from customers, get feedback from a mystery shopping or a market research company or, most usefully, see it for yourself. Witnessing good customer service in action is the best way, as it forces managers to get out into their stores and see what’s actually going on.

Giving people instant recognition is incredibly powerful. For example, in one coffee chain that we mystery shop, if a staff member up-sells to a large coffee, they get on-the-spot recognition, as the mystery shopper says ’Thank you’ and gives them a £20 note with a certificate. Needless to say, all the staff now up-sell more often, with a resultant boost to the bottom line.

One chain of bakers I’ve worked with holds internal competitions, so whoever sells the most of a certain key line in a day gets rewarded. Every time they sell today’s nominated product such as a doughnut a sticker is put on a chart by the till and the person with the most stickers at the end of the day wins £5.

The reward itself isn’t always important it’s the recognition that counts. We once worked with a supermarket group in Australia where the Manager of the Year won a holiday for themselves and their family. In the UK, we work with a group who give staff a mug. Both loved their reward equally. However, if you’re unsure what to give, gift vouchers are always a winner, as it allows the staff member to choose what he or she wants, so it’s personal.

Any reward programme needs to be based on something measured consistently be it mystery shopping scores, turnover, profit, wastage etc. As long as the measurement is consistent over the period, this can work well, but you cannot change the goal posts half way through; don’t suddenly raise the bar, as it will be seen as unfair to the staff.

At the end of the day, one of the most powerful ways to show appreciation is to verbalise it "well done", or "good job". People really appreciate it and we often hear from staff that it’s the first time in 10 years that anyone has said it to them. Try it and see what happens.