A Better Customer Experience? Try Some Lagniappe!

By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B

A few weeks ago I took a weekend trip to New Orleans to attend the New Orleans Jazz Fest. I like all kinds of music, love to travel and enjoy good food with friends. I told myself that I needed a long weekend to recharge my batteries and get away from work. I knew that the work would be there when I returned but this trip would allow me to come back to work refreshed, reenergized and ready to recruit.

And where else to accomplish all of this than the New Orleans Jazz Fest. Think of Mardi Gras without the floats, without the beads, without the nagging reminder that the Lenten season is just hours away and that for some the revelry must be put on hold for at least 40 days, excluding Sundays.

The Jazz Fest was non stop music, all kinds of music from artists and groups such as Steve Earle, My Morning Jacket, The Eagles, The Beach Boys, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Neville Brothers, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Ziggy Marley and so many more. Listening to these artists and groups at the various live stages with thousands of people from all over was a thrill. Wandering into a side street nightclub in the French Quarter in the early morning hours and sitting feet away from Eric Lindell while he played for that small audience was even more of a thrill.

What struck me about the weekend, aside from the great food, drink and great music everywhere, was that all of the artists and groups no matter where they were playing (large outdoor venue or small club) gave a little something extra to the audience. They gave them a small gift. They gave for Lagnaippe.

For those of you not familiar with the word, lagniappe (pronounced lanny-yap) has its origins from the Spanish and is a word that has traveled through the French Creole and is most popular in and around New Orleans. It means gift, something extra given by a merchant at the time of purchase. The best example is the baker’s dozen, getting an extra doughnut from the baker when ordering a dozen.

I was thinking about this word, lagniappe on my flight back to Denver and how it could be used in the recruiting business, in our relationship with both clients and candidates, our customers.

As recruiters, do we think about giving something extra, some gift to our client companies and hiring managers? Or do we merely do the bare minimum, take enough information for the job order, recruit and screen a minimum number of candidates, present the candidates and wait for the offer and acceptance?

Some recruiters still do the bare minimum, but good recruiters always give something extra. Good recruiters provide information about realistic salary ranges for years of experience; availability of experienced candidates in a particular location; competitor information; realistic candidate expectations; interviewing suggestions and training; coaching in offer extension, closing and on-boarding.

And they do it for lagniappe.

The same is true of the recruiter’s relationship with their candidates. Some recruiters do as little as possible with their candidates, minimum time interviewing, no reference checking, no coaching, little feedback, little interaction.

Good recruiters are constantly giving something extra, from setting proper expectations in the interview; checking references; getting agreement on salary, interest and availability for a position; managing the interview process with the client; getting quick feedback after the interview; setting next steps in the process; assisting in extending the offer and closing; assisting in the on-boarding process; handling issues at least through the first 90 days. And they do it for lagniappe.

Whether you use the word lagniappe or not, as a good recruiter giving your client and your candidate something extra, a small gift, is just part of the way you do business.

But I do know one thing, when it comes to having a better customer experience, doing it for lagniappe will certainly make the good times roll.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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