These legendary quotes contain timeless wisdom to help you and your team through any situation: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
“Quotes” (see what I did there?) are tricky things.
It’s far too easy to get lost in “motivation porn,” spending far too much time reading and sharing witty sayings, and not actually getting better at providing great customer service.
We can’t claim they’re the all-time greatest source of learning. After all, there’s no substitute for experience. At the same time, great quotes can actually accomplish a lot:
- They can help simplify complex mindsets and approaches into one-line rules of thumb for you to reference. It’s much easier, in a moment where you’re dealing with particularly unhappy customers, to think “what would Seth Godin do?” than to flip through a long book on customer service strategy on how to go the extra mile.
- They can help to get people on your team on board with the importance of excellent customer service. It’s one thing if you beat the support drum to your CEO. It’s another if someone they’ve looked up to for their entire career, like Steve Jobs or Jim Rohn—does.
- They can be helpful snippet-sized reminders of what to focus on as we go about our day. Something as simple as putting a quote right above your desk, or even on your computer background, can deliver daily inspiration to deliver outstanding customer service.
They can even save us a lot of time worrying about things that may not be under our control.
Here are 33 customer service quotes that have been carefully chosen to help you.
1. Dale Carnegie on empathy
“I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted.
“I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: ‘Wouldn’t you like to have that?
“Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?”
2. David Allen on keeping your life clutter-free
“Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation, but it’s not because of the vacation itself. What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip?
“You clean up, close up, clarify, and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others. I just suggest that you do this weekly instead of yearly.”
– David Allen, Productivity consultant
3. Tony Hsieh on customer influences in a social media world
“Over the years, the number one driver of our growth at Zappos has been repeat customers and word of mouth. Our philosophy has been to take most of the money we would have spent on paid advertising and invest it into customer service and the customer experience instead, letting our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth.”
– Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
4. Kate Zabriskie on customer perception
“The customer’s perception is your reality.”
5. Seth Godin on having a personality
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”
– Seth Godin, Author
6. Danny Meyer on breaking your rules
“Policies are nothing more than guidelines to be broken for the benefit of our guests. We’re here to give the guests what they want, period.”
– Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group
7. Jay Baer on responding to the people who complain
“Haters are not your problem. Ignoring them is.”
8. Jim Loehr on the power of stepping back and switching off
“We live in a world that celebrates work and activity, ignores renewal and recovery, and fails to recognize that both are necessary for sustained high performance.”
– Jim Loehr, Psychologist and author
9. Jeffrey Gitomer on the most important goal when upselling your customers
“Tell me how I win. When I win, you win.”
– Jeffrey Gitomer, Author and speaker
10. Richard Branson on keeping your support team happy
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first.
“If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
– Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group
11. Maya Angelou on thinking about how you’re making people feel
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou, Poet and civil rights activist
12. Horst Schulze on always striving to be better
“Unless you have 100% customer satisfaction, you must improve.”
– Horst Schulze, President of The Ritz Carlton Hotels
13. Steve Jobs on making life simple for your customers
“Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
14. Ghandi on the most important visitor
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption on work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business. He is part of it.
“We are not doing him a favor by serving him… He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do it.”
– Mahatma Gandhi, Civil Activist
15. Zig Ziglar on using feedback to guide product development
“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, Writer and speaker
16. Benjamin Franklin on being prepared for anything
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
17. Kevin Stirtz on great customer service
“Providing great customer service is the most natural activity in the world. It’s fun to help others because it feels good.”
– Kevin Stirtz, Writer
18. Katherine Barchetti on customer interactions
“Make a customer, not a sale.”
– Katherine Barchetti, Business leader
19. Thomas Jefferson on writing succinctly and with clarity
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
20. Roger Stauback on going the extra mile
“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”
– Roger Staubach, NFL football player
21. Henry Ford on finding a remedy
“Don’t find a fault; find a remedy.”
– Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Co.
22. Laurie McIntosh on enjoying your work
“You are serving a customer, not a life sentence.
“Learn how to enjoy your work.”
23. Nelson Boswell on customer expectations
“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.”
– Nelson Boswell, Writer
24. Peter Drucker on the purpose of a business
“The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”
– Peter Drucker, Management writer
25. Jeff Bezos on customer service in modern business
“In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.”
26. Walt Disney on creating a satisfied customer
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friend.”
– Walt Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Co.
27. Sam Walton on customer priorities
“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
28. Bill Gates on unhappy customers
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
29. Shep Hyken on treating every customer like your best customer
“If you treat your customers as outsiders, they’ll find a competitor who doesn’t.”
– Shep Hyken, Business leader
30. Jeffrey Gitomer on loyal customers
“Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.”
– Jeffrey Gitomer, Writer and speaker
31. Derek Sivers on showing customers customer that you care
“If someone would call, saying, “I’d like to talk with someone about selling my music through you,” we’d say, “Sure. I can help. What’s your name? Cool. Got a website? Can I see it? Is that you on the homepage there? Very cool.
“Is that a real Les Paul? Awesome. Here, let me listen to a bit of the music. Nice, I like what you’re doing. Very syncopated. Great groove. Anyway… so… what would you like to know?
“I can tell you from my own experience of being a self-promoting musician for 15 years that it’s SO hard to get anyone to listen to your music.
“So when someone takes even a couple minutes to listen to you, it’s so touching that you remember it for life.”
32. Donald Porter on fixing problems
“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”
– Donald Porter, Management consultant
33. Betsy Sanders on making customer service a way of living
“Service, in short, is not what you do, but who you are. It’s a way of living that you need to bring to everything you do if you’re to bring it to your customer interactions.”
– Betsy Sanders, Writer
What are your favorite customer service quotes?
I hope that these quotes about good customer service remind you of what’s important when you need it most.
Human beings love being treated well, and a strong customer service culture is one of those intangible things an entire company can do—day in and day out—to create repeat business from customers who might otherwise go elsewhere.