Whether it means walking into a bakery and being offered a freshly baked cookie or leaving a luxurious European-style pharmacy and being given free samples of moisturizer and perfume on your way out, it’s a delight to receive something unexpected. It’s a “little extra” and while it’s not necessary, it always strikes me as being incredibly lovely. I am bound to return to those shops and refer my friends there as well.
In the book “Never Say Sell” by Jacob Parks and Tom McMakin, they use the term Lagniappe, to define that little extra. They describe it as something akin to a bakers’ dozen, the extra roll, the 13th on that is given to you.
In thinking about professional services and how the clients with whom I work serve their own clients, it’s essential that they provide the best quality product they can. They know in their DNA that doing exceptionally good work is the way to keep and grow existing business, and that it’s only the very best work and service that leads to referrals.
But in addition to that, it helps when they provide something special by taking the extra step. That may mean additional help from a fellow partner in providing gratis real estate advice for a favorite corporate client or, more personally, remembering a client’s birthday. In other cases, it may mean visiting the client’s factory without being asked, or spending time with their employees, without charging time.
The answers will be different for different situations, but whatever is appropriate, it is essential to think “What have I done anything to delight my clients today?”