Editor's note: This is among our most popular articles, so we’ve recently updated to keep things fresh.
There’s one thing all successful businesses have in common. They know that without incredible customer service, the quality of their offerings means nothing. They go the extra mile to make their customers feel appreciated, understood, and cared for. Being in a customer-facing service role can come along with a lot of pressure. To keep you and your customer service team inspired, we’ve rounded up our favorite customer service motivational quotes from some authors and experts.
And to add some qualitative support — remember that 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products. In other words, how your business treats customers will determine whether you stay ahead of the competition or get left behind.
Stick these motivational quotes to your office wall or share them with your team. They’ll help get your business fired up and embolden everyone — from the intern to the CEO — to execute your customer service philosophy in every customer interaction.
Why loving customer service makes you better at delivering it
To deliver superior customer service, you need to become your buyer’s ally. And it’s a lot easier to champion a cause you’ve got a stake in. If you’re feeling uninspired to advocate for your customer, remind yourself that their happiness is the key to your success. Their wishes and needs are not a distraction: They are your raison d’être.
- “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” – Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonald’s
- “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement.
- “Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 19th-century poet
- “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” – Chinese proverb
Why does customer service matter?
Your business’s success is in the hands of its customers. And those customers don’t just want great products. Our second edition of the “State of the Connected Customer” report found 72% of customers expect vendors to personalize customer service interactions to suit individual needs. You can map your personal journey through your business, and you can map your business’s journey through the world. But ultimately, a customer’s engagement with your product is their journey, not yours. You’re there to facilitate it.
- “The customer: Someone that indirectly pays for your food, clothes, and vacations. Be nice to them.” – Gene Caballero, Co-Founder of GreenPal
- “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company
- “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart
- “The customer tells us how to stay in business, best that we listen.” – Pamela Nelson, President and CEO of Bracane Company
- “Southwest Airlines is successful because they understand they’re a customer service company — they just happen to be an airline.” – John Tschohl, customer service guru
- “In an era when companies see online support as a way to shield themselves from ‘costly’ interactions with their customers, it’s time to consider an entirely different approach: building human-centric customer service through great people and clever technology. So, get to know your customers. Humanize them. Humanize yourself. It’s worth it.” – Kristin Smaby, customer service expert
- “Make the customer the hero of your story.” – Ann Handley, digital marketing pioneer
- “When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” – Robert Half, entrepreneur
How does great service translate to better sales?
The fastest way to turn a customer into a sale? Forget your goals, your imperatives, your bottom line. Remember who you’re there for. Your customer is an individual, with individual needs. Personalize your customer service so you can guide them to the product that’s going to fit those needs. Understand the life your customer is living, so you can explain how your product is going to make it easier.
All it takes is a set of ears.
- “Don’t try to tell the customer what he wants. If you want to be smart, be smart in the shower. Then go out, get to work, and serve the customer!” – Gene Buckley, former President and CEO of the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
- “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.” – Peter Drucker, management expert
- “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People
- “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and CEO of Apple
- “… the customer expects you to have knowledge of their stuff, not just your stuff.” – Jeffrey Gitomer, sales expert
- “Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.” – Kevin Stirtz, analytics consultant
- “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Roger Staubach, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback
- “Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” – Ross Perot, Founder of Electronic Data Systems
- “The more you engage with customers, the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” – John Russell, former President of Harley-Davidson, Europe
Why is customer experience key to successful selling?
Your customer doesn’t care that you haven’t dealt with this problem before. They don’t care that your system is down and your manager doesn’t like you to process payments manually.
Sometimes you’ve got to think on your feet. Sometimes you’ve got to go off script. Don’t panic. If a seamless customer experience is your North Star, you’re heading in the right direction. Remember, guidelines are there to facilitate business. When they start straitjacketing it, it’s time to correct the guidelines — not the customer.
- “… don’t worry about the rules, don’t worry about getting into trouble, your job is to take care of the customer. Your job is to make the person leave happy.” – John Pepper, Co-Founder and CEO of Boloco
- “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little better.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com
- “Disruption starts with committing to excellence and taking a stand for your customer.” – Lewis Howes, entrepreneur
- “When a customer enters my store, forget me. He is king.” – John Wanamaker, founder of one of the first American department stores
Can you turn an angry customer into a loyal patron?
When a customer has an issue with your company, it’s an opportunity. By speaking up, they are giving you instant access into the psychology of your market. Here is your chance to show them how seriously you take their concerns, and how hard you’re going to work to make your product work for them. Here is your chance to show your customer empathy.
Imagine the alternative — your buyer silently taking their business elsewhere, never giving you a chance to rectify the problem and secure their loyalty by demonstrating yours.
- “Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings.” – Miles Franklin, Australian author
- “In a world of technology and accidental narcissism, humanity, powered by empathy, becomes the killer app.” – Brian Solis, digital analyst
- “Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.” – Zig Ziglar, salesperson and motivational speaker.
- “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft Corporation
- “A complaint is a chance to turn a customer into a lifelong friend.” – Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
Is the customer always right?
Maybe your business was in the wrong. Maybe it wasn’t. It doesn’t matter. The customer is always right, even when they’re wrong.
If you take responsibility for your customer’s problem — no matter where it originated — they will feel vindicated, seen, and heard. If you point out that your company did nothing wrong, they will feel belittled, frustrated, and angry. Which of these feelings do you want them to associate with your business?
- “We think our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it’s not up to par, it’s our fault, plain and simply.” – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and CEO of Apple
- “Treat the customer as if you are that customer.” – Gena Lorraine, marketing specialist
- “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt, former President of the United States
- “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, writer and activist
Loyalty versus revenue: Is there a trade off?
Awesome customer service isn’t a luxury added on to your business model at the expense of something else. It’s the infrastructure of success. Your company won’t flourish if its customer service philosophy is confined to the support team. Great customer service is integrated customer service. Integrated customer service puts your business and buyers on one team. Only when you’re working towards the same goals as your customer can you stop answering their needs and start anticipating them.
- “One customer taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.” – Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur
- “Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.” – James Cash Penny, Founder of J. C. Penney
- “Happy customers are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.” – Lisa Masiello, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of TECHmarc Labs
- “Service, in short, is not what you do, but who you are. It is a way of living that you need to bring to everything you do, if you are to bring it to your customer interactions.” – Betsy Sanders, retail and business advisor
- “Customer service should not be a department. It should be the entire company.” – Tony Hsieh, venture capitalist
- “He profits most who serves best.”– Arthur F. Sheldon, 20th-century businessman and educator
- “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar, salesperson and motivational speaker
What did 3,500 customer service leaders and agents say about the state of customer service today? Find out in the latest research.