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 (pictured above).  But more importantly, let’s all say together:

Give ‘em the pickle!


Jeremy Watkin Head of Quality FCR

Jeremy Watkin
Head of Quality

2 Comments. Leave new

Give ‘Em A Little Something Extra | Communicate Better Blog
09/08/2015 10:13 am

[…] post was originally published on September 4, 2015 on the FCR blog.  Click here to read the […]

Surprise! Making Customer Birthday Experiences Stand Out
02/01/2019 4:35 pm

[…] I’ve talked about the concept of Lagniappe in the past — a creole word meaning bonus or extra gift. Giving customers a little something extra is a great way to delight them and build loyalty. We should expand this a bit, taking a page from Chip Bell’s book, Kaleidoscope, and be sure we’re adding some extra sparkle and shine while we’re at it. Customer birthdays are a great time to both give a little extra and add a little extra to make your business stand out. Amid all of the routine emails and cards, here are the couple birthday experiences that stood apart from the rest for me this year. […]


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