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25 customer service quotes to inspire your team

Take these 25 customer service quotes to your next meeting to help inspire you and your team to take your customer service program to the next level.

Customer service is fundamental to delivering a great experience. We’ve collated the key insights from inspirational leaders in their field, so you can motivate your workplace and team.

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1. Bruce Temkin, Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute

“The customers that have had a good CX experience are much more likely to recommend the company, forgive the company if it makes a mistake, trust the company and try new offerings.”

One of the key points Bruce makes about CX is that an organization’s customer experience is a reflection of its own culture and operating processes. And it’s so important to live this point as good CX delivers real business results.

Watch now: Kickstart your CX program

2. Jeanne Bliss, author of Chief Customer 2.0

“Customer experience to me is leadership bravery. The companies that are most admired are growing with their values and are choosing how they will grow and how they will not grow.”

Leaders are responsible for the livelihoods of their employees, and they can act with core values that their employees and customers will respect.

At an employee level, this might look like removing practices that might inhibit employees from acting in good conscience or extending their care arrangements. Customers are aware of and treated according to the company values, which also will trickle down to the products and services.

3. Aristotle, Greek philosopher

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

Aristotle remains one of the greatest minds on what makes us human. This quote highlights that ‘practice makes perfect’ and can be applied to organizations and teams that want to perform at their best every time.

How does your team implement processes and best practices that ensure the right actions happen each and every time?

4. Marilyn Suttle, Customer Service Speaker and Consultant

“How you think about your customer influences how you respond to them.”

You want to get to know your customers. You may send out many surveys, conduct research and have customer personas that give you deep insights into who they are. Now what?

You need to put it into practice, so ask whether your frontline employees understand it, and identify ways to help them get closer to your customers because, ultimately, they’re the ones talking to them every day so the better you equip them, the better they can deliver on expectations.

5. J.W. Marriott, Former Chairman, Board Marriott International

"Take care of associates and they'll take care of your customers.”

There’s an undeniable link between employee experience and customer experience. Happier employees go on to provide better support to customers, who have a better experience overall.

According to Gallup, highly engaged workplaces saw a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.

6. Dr. Maya Angelou, American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist

“People will soon forget what you said. They will NEVER forget how you made them feel.”

At a fundamental human level, all people want to feel safe and secure throughout their lives – whether it’s how they’re addressed, how they’re talked about, or how they’re served.

When a negative interaction occurs, the feelings people experience are more deeply internalized and remembered than those from good experiences. So make sure you’re not only focused on designing the experiences people want next, but closing experience gaps too, to prevent bad experiences overshadowing everything else.

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 7. Kevin Stirtz, Author and Digital Marketing Expert

“Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet."

You absolutely need to know what your customer wants. However, you also need to know what you as an organization is particularly good at. What makes you unique in the market? How do you provide that extra special something?

To have a winning product or service you must provide a solution to a customer problem and do it so well that customers don’t want to or need to go elsewhere.

8. Clare Muscutt, Chief Executive Officer, Women in CX

“Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.”

Organizations and teams need to think strategically about how they want to engineer good customer service experiences.

Try useful tools like journey mapping, customer feedback surveys and market research to learn the lay of the land. But then take a step back and see how you can design experiences that matter.

9. Bill Gates, Co-Founder, Microsoft

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

While no one likes to have dissatisfied customers, Gates understands they can actually be a huge asset if companies can make improvements based on their feedback.

10. Arianna Huffington, co-founder, The Huffington Post

“Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.”

You may find that your plan might not have gone as you expected or that the research survey you conducted didn’t give you the results you were hoping for — not to worry, it’s all part of the process. You’re on your way to better CX design and experiences, by knowing what works and what doesn’t.

11. Peter Massey, Customer Experience expert, keynote speaker & experienced facilitator

“Stop doing dumb things to customers.”

Straight talking Peter gives a gem to CX teams: Know what is smart to do, and know when to stop doing something that’s dumb.

Reflect on your actions and, based on your results, the quality of the idea, and the customer feedback, decide whether it was a smart action to take. If it’s not, don’t do it again.

12. Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and Former CEO, Apple

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”

Customer research and an insights-first culture can help you understand your customers’ needs in ways you couldn’t do without research.

If you know what your customers believe, represent, care about and want then you can design the experiences they want next, rather than focus your time firefighting and resolving bad experiences.

13. Kate Zabriskie, Author and Customer Experience Consultant

“The customer’s perception is your reality.”

Your products and services are only as valuable as your customers perceive them to be. You could spend millions implementing a new cool idea, but if customers don’t perceive it to be valuable, then it’s money wasted.

Get to know what drives your customers expectations, and understand how much value they place on every part of the customer journey. Only then can you identify the impact of the changes you make to your services.

14. Tony Hsieh, American Internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist

“Customer service shouldn’t be a department, it should be the entire company.”

The most successful customer-centric companies operate a customer-first culture. It’s not just the job of customer support agents to understand and respond to the customer, but everyone in the company whether they’re customer-facing or not.

15. Elizabeth Stokoe, British scientist and Professor of Social Interaction, Loughborough University 

“We all talk, but we don’t really know how.”

Talking is so fundamental in communicating and everyone can do it. However, knowing ‘how’ to talk to achieve a goal or get something can be tricky. Sometimes the words don’t have the desired effect.

In customer service, using the right words can help engage customers and prevent them from having a bad experience. Take the time to ensure your agents have the training they need to engage with customers in the most effective way - from expanding their knowledge about your products and services, to helping to coach them based on customer feedback, there’s plenty that leadership can do to help agents get their words right.

16. Robert Chatwani, Chief Marketing Officer, Atlassian

“First and foremost, invest in building an emotional relationship with your customers, not just a functional relationship, but really forming that bond to build brand love and product love, because that, ultimately, is what leads to customer retention and happiness.”

CX can occur in any department. Even in marketing, you can make a real impact on how you help customers feel connected with your products.

17. Meg Whitman, American business executive, former political candidate, and philanthropist

“The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of a mistake.”

If you’re one of those CX teams or leaders that is under pressure to make the ‘right’ decision before they act, it can be daunting to know what route to take – so much so, that you end up not taking any action at all.

It’s better to start to act on good data and analysis and make a mistake, than to try and control all factors before acting. This can prevent key opportunities from passing you by, or risking your product or service becoming irrelevant in your market.

18. Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”

The accessibility of the internet and the increasing number of social media sites and review services mean that more and more people are connected.

While this opens doors for organizations to enter new markets, it also means that customers are more aware of what goes on, as it happens.

A slip up or a bad review will reach more people and could impact your brand image. Take the right steps to protect your brand online by keeping your CX at the heart of your strategy.

19. Dr. Geetha Murali, Chief Executive Officer, Room to Read

“We just don't just talk. We don't just write white papers. We are implementers at our core. We deliver programs. Most of our staff is in the field, in the schools, working directly with communities. So we learn quickly. We course correct. We do it again. We know what we're good at doing and we make sure we do as much of that good as possible. It's a commitment to action.”

Geeta says that action and a focus on delivery to match her ambition is how Room to Read became a global brand.

The focus on delivery, and perfecting the delivery with course correcting, learning and making adjustments, is something that any CX delivery team can implement. Keep a firm view of your goals and be ambitious.

 20. Jodie Shaw, Chief Marketing Officer, The Alternative Board

Always begin with: 'So that I can better serve you, do you mind if I ask a few questions?'

Getting the results you need from customer research can be hard. Engagement may be low or people may not want to help you. This might be down to simply not understand what’s in it for them.

If customers have a clear understanding of why your CX research will help them, then they will be more willing to help.

21. Sam Walton, Founder, Walmart

“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.”

Every customer is important. One customer has the power to influence others through their reviews, become a brand ambassador through their support and keep your bottom line growing with their continued customer loyalty.

When your target customers are spending their money elsewhere, your competitors are doing something better than you or your current offering isn’t what the customer wants. If the product is right, is the customer’s experience?

22. Hazel Edwards, Owner, Gillian Roberts Bridal Boutique

Ease your customers’ pain.

Who is your customer and what is their problem? What keeps them up at night? What causes them pain in their day-to-day lives?

You don’t need to tell the customer what they need, they should be telling you that. Once you have this information, you have the ability to help them. Who wouldn’t pay money for that?

23. Larry Page, co-founder, Google

“Always deliver more than expected.”

The invention of Google was definitely more than anyone expected of a group of technology entrepreneurs. As one of the best known brands in the world, the results of Larry and others’ hard work speak for itself.

CX teams might be tempted to limit the kind of customer experiences that are on offer, though aim to go beyond customer expectations and offer first-class experiences that they’ll remember for longer.

24. Aimee Lucas, Senior Principal Analyst, Qualtrics XM Institute

Aimee has uncovered the six competencies and actions needed to design and deliver world-class customer experiences.

“Organizations must master these in order to build a sustainable foundation for success.

They are:

  • Respond
  • Enlighten
  • Activate
  • Realize
  • Lead
  • Disrupt”

How does your organization and your team explore these actions? Learn more about these six areas in this XM Institute masterclass. 

25. Jay Baer, Founder, Convince and Convert

Social media expert Jay Baer says we must respond to all social media comments  — especially if they’re negative.

“A lack of response is a response. It’s a response that says, ‘We don’t care about you very much.’”

It’s harder to respond to the negative comments, but remember on social media every interaction is public. So if people see you don’t respond, they too are likely to think you don’t care. Better to show them you care and have a public record of you putting it right than to have nothing at all."

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Qualtrics // Experience Management

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is a cloud-native software platform that empowers organizations to deliver exceptional experiences and build deep relationships with their customers and employees.

With insights from Qualtrics, organizations can identify and resolve the greatest friction points in their business, retain and engage top talent, and bring the right products and services to market. Nearly 20,000 organizations around the world use Qualtrics’ advanced AI to listen, understand, and take action. Qualtrics uses its vast universe of experience data to form the largest database of human sentiment in the world. Qualtrics is co-headquartered in Provo, Utah and Seattle.

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