This Ultimate Customer Service Quote Leads to Amazing Customer Service

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“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.”

The author of the above quote isn’t a famous CEO of a recognized business. He’s not the author of a bestselling business book. Would it surprise you to learn that the gentleman who wrote this is not at all known for business, but best known for his stand against violence and for living a simple life? And it was from a speech delivered in 1890! Yet these are still powerful words, spoken by a powerful and influential man. The author of the above quote is Mahatma Gandhi.

(By the way, if you have proof that this quote isn’t from Gandhi, please let me know. Multiple sources indicate that it is; however, many also question the comment as something so far out of what Gandhi is known for, that you have to wonder.)

Business people are typically the ones writing quotes about customer service, not peace-seeking activists. But when it comes right down to it, these words are simply about treating another person the way they should be treated. If all of the employees you worked with bought into this philosophy, and demonstrated it every day to both their external and internal customers, you would be part of an amazing organization to work for and do business with.

Let’s break it down:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.” Welcome a customer into your business. It can be in person or on the phone. Even if your business is an online website, you must draw the customer in and make them feel comfortable.

“He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.” While your customers may be dependent on what you sell, in the end you are more dependent on them. Your customers pay the salaries for you and the rest of the employees of your organization. For without customers, you have no sales, which means you have no cash flow.

“He is not an interruption on work. He is the purpose of it.” No one should ever treat customers as an interruption. On the contrary, customers should always feel welcomed and encouraged to interrupt us whenever they want to.

“He is not an outsider to our business. He is part of it.” If your customers are made to feel as if they are outsiders, they will eventually find a competitor who makes them feel better about doing business with them.

“We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do it.” In the end, the customer has choices. They honor us with their business. Maybe it’s not quite doing us a favor, but the alternative is that the customer does business with our competition. Make the customer feel special and appreciated.

Read the quote again. Print it out. Share it with all of the people you work with. Discuss it. Embrace it. Implement it. This is quintessential business advice.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Gordon – I’ve done research and most of it points to Ghandi. Even the fine people at LL Bean give him credit. That said, I continue to get info such as yours, which validates my comment in the middle of the article that there may be another source. And, there probably is! Thank you for sharing!

  2. About the Ghandi “quote”. I think you meant to ask if there is proof that Ghandi said it. You may as well ask for proof that Shep Hyken did not provide the most meaningful insight to date about the origin of the universe, or epigenetics, or how important is to know how to tie your shoe laces. The answer to those questions could be, “Well, he may have”. And this leads to a deeper problem associated with the issue the quote canvasses, i.e., is customer service true? Or is it some eternally unresolved dialectical dance trying to balance the needs of the customer with those of the enterprise? Another image that springs to mind is of a company approaching its customers with a flag on which are emblazoned the supposed words of an advocate of non-violence while hidden behind its ranks of customer service officers stand troops of lawyers and accountants sharpening the swords of litigation, key performance indicators, monthly targets and, most importantly, profit projections.

  3. Whoops! Can’t even spell my surname correctly. Bruzgulis, not Bruzgulus. See how easy it is for wrong information to become gospel on the net!

  4. Appreciate the comment. There are some great companies that are able to create an incredible balance between delivering “Gandhi Like Service” and capitalism. Even if Gandhi didn’t say it, I love it and it is something to use as a reminder about the importance of our customers.

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