Give ‘Em A Little Something Extra


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I recently wrote a post about the crazy things contact center agents value most.  In the midst of polling my colleagues, I found a few fellow customer service fanatics in the bunch.  One of them kindly told me about Bob Farrell and his “Give ‘em the pickle” philosophy.

Give ‘Em The Pickle

To summarize, Farrell owned a series of shops that served ice cream, burgers, and pickles.  One day a long time customer wanted an extra pickle and the employee tried to charge them an extra $0.50.  When Farrell received a disappointed letter from the customer about being charged for the pickle, he was horrified.  It was customary at Farrell’s give customers an extra pickle for free.  From then on, he made sure that “Give ‘em the pickle” was the policy in his restaurants.


In a great article on CustomerThink, customer service expert Teresa Allen teaches us the word Lagniappe.  It’s a creole word defined as “the art of giving a little something extra.”  It’s such a simple yet powerful concept.  Now that you know lagniappe, go back to Bob Farrell’s story and you can see that in his case, the little something extra was a pickle.  The difference between delight and almost losing a customer was– A PICKLE!!!

Lagniappe might mean something different to different companies.  For example, Adam Toporek talks about how Ritz Carlton employees are empowered to use up to $2,000 solve problems for customers.  Chances are, you can delight a customer for a whole lot less.  It seems that more and more companies are taking this philosophy to heart and empowering their staff.  

Ask yourself,  Do you find yourself enforcing a policy, like charging an extra dollar for something?  Do you find that customers are constantly push back or leaving because of it?  If something immediately comes to mind, it might be time to talk with the powers that be and find out if you are empowered to give a little extra.  If there’s resistance from your boss, that will likely change when you tell them that a $10 per month customer walked out the door over $1.

A classic sundae from Farrell’s. Photo Credit: Angry Julie Monday via Creative Commons

Remembering Bob Farrell

As I was learning about the customer service legend that is Bob Farrell, I discovered that he recently passed away.  To honor him, take a moment to recognize his legendary ice cream sundaes.  But more importantly, let’s all say together:

Give ‘em the pickle!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.


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