Think of it as, ‘the extra I give you to thank you for the business’.
It’s pronounced ‘lany ap’ and comes from Spanish with some French influence. You’ll hear it in the southern states of America.
If you were buying, say a couple of pounds of tomatoes from a roadside stall in Louisiana, the owner might measure the two pounds carefully, then add another tomato as lagniappe.
So why do we need some weird foreign word in our business?
It will help your team focus. It may not be easy to spell, but it’s easy to say and it sums up a valuable idea in a single word.
Make lagniappe a routine part of your culture. For many people it's a new way of thinking about their relationships with customers - not just providing what they expect, but focusing on what else they might value.
Be constantly thinking of ways you could add an extra service, or even a treat your customers will appreciate. Surprise them.
A few words of caution
It's not lagniappe if it's an obvious marketing ploy. Lagniappe costs you. 'Buy one, get one free' or '20% off for our Club members' are just ways to sell more, There's no surprise or generosity. It's just a deal.
Make lagniappe generous (though not necessarily grand), surprising - and also right for that particular customer.