Some of my favorite articles to read are compilations of business and motivational quotes from successful people. As I was reading one the other day, I realized that I’ve never written an article that shared some of my favorites. I’ve written eight books and have included many quotes from very successful and famous people, so there is a lot to choose from.
There are plenty more I could have chosen. Based on the feedback of this article, I may write more. So, for now, here are ten of my favorite customer service quotes, followed by my commentary.
1. Sam Walton
Sam Walton, Walmart’s founder, said, “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.”
I included this quote in my very first book, Moments of Magic: Be a Star with Your Customers and Keep Them Forever. I don’t think anyone could have said it better. We ultimately work for our customers, for without them, we don’t have a business.
2. Donald Peterson
Donald Peterson, a former CEO of Ford Motor Company, said, “If we are not customer-driven, our cars won’t be either.”
This is another quote from Moments of Magic that emphasizes the importance of being a customer-focused organization. In the automotive industry, just like many other industries, customers have choices. They will choose to do business with the companies that take care of them best.
3. Akio Morita
Akio Morita, the co-founder of Sony, said, “In the long run, no matter how good or successful you are, or how clever or crafty, your business and its future are in the hands of the people you hire.”
This is the perfect quote to emphasize how important it is to focus on employees first. I always preach to my clients that what is happening on the inside will be felt on the outside by customers.
4. Roger Staubach
Roger Staubach, former professional football player, member of the NFL Hall of Fame and entrepreneur, said, “At a car dealership, the person who sells the car is the hero, and also gets the commission. But if the mechanics don’t service that car well, the customer won’t return.”
This goes to one of my favorite lessons to teach and preach: Customer service is not a department, but a philosophy to be embraced by everyone. Even though the mechanics may never see the customer, the customer may not come back if they don’t do their job. It’s important to show how everyone, regardless of their position, has an impact on either their internal customer or external customer—or both.
5. Scott McKain
Scott McKain, the bestselling business author and award-winning keynote speaker, said, “If you want customers to know they matter to you, show it by being interested in what matters to them.”
What matters to customers?
Their success, which can be defined in many ways. Maybe the customer is buying clothes and wants to look good. Maybe the customer is buying an expensive piece of machinery to streamline their manufacturing process. When you start to understand what the customer wants, needs, and what matters to them, and you keep that front-of-mind, you are no longer just a salesperson or vendor. You become a partner. Care more about your customers and their success over the sale, and you’ll win more sales and repeat business.
6. Bill Gates
Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Don’t be afraid of complaints. Instead, embrace them. Even seek them out. They are your best opportunities to learn how to make your products better, your process smoother, your customer service better, and more. Complaints are some of the best feedback and marketing information you could want.
7. Jay Baer
Jay Baer, bestselling author and motivational business growth expert on marketing and word-of-mouth, said, “Customer service is the new marketing. It’s what differentiates one business from another.”
It also gives our customers something to talk about to their friends, family, and colleagues at work. Doing customer service right creates brand evangelists who will sing your praises to others.
8. Walt Disney
Walt Disney, entrepreneur, writer, film producer, and much more, said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
That’s what Disney wanted. He wanted a theme park that would bring his guests back again and again. When you can create a consistent and predictable experience that customers love, they will bring their friends and colleagues back. What does “so well” look like in your business?
9. Horst Schulze
Horst Schulze, former president and co-founder of the Ritz-Carlton, said, “An organization can’t please every human being every time. But it never hurts to try.”
Nobody and no organization is perfect. It’s impossible to please everyone. But making an effort to do so is what can help a company achieve an excellent reputation.
10. Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
This is the perfect quote to end on. No matter how long you’ve been doing business with a customer—even 20 years or more—as soon as they have a complaint or a problem with you or what you sell, it’s judgment day. The way you handle the problem will help keep your reputation—and the relationship with your customer—intact.
This article has been reprinted with permission from Shep Hyken’s Forbes page.