A recent Customers 2020 report predicts that by 2020, customer experience will overtake both price and product as the key brand differentiator. Many say that it already has.
Forrester Research has also been consistently driving the message that we are now living in the Age of the Customer, where the customer determines his or her experience with the brand, not the other way around.
Yet, despite the focus on customer-centricity, most customers don’t believe the hype. In the latest American Experience Global Customer Service Barometer, only 5% of those surveyed said that companies are currently exceeding their customer service expectations, the lowest figure since the survey was first conducted in 2010. In addition, 38% said that they believe companies are paying less attention to providing good customer service, a 6% increase since the last survey in 2012.
So while more and more brands begin to talk the customer-centric, customer-service-focused talk, the difficult part is standing up the culture to walk the walk. Compiled here are 21 quotes, many from well-known customer-centric CEOs and business leaders, to inspire first the talk, and then the walk toward a more customer-centric culture:
1. “Look, I think that when we started Virgin Atlantic 30 years ago, we had one 747 competing with the airlines that had an average of 300 planes each. Every single one of those have gone bankrupt because they didn’t have customer service. They had might, but they didn’t have customer service, so customer service is everything in the end.” ~ Richard Branson (Tweet This Quote)
2. “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 bit better.” ~ Jeff Bezos (Tweet This Quote)
3. “For us, our most important stakeholder is not our stockholders, it is our customers. We’re in business to serve the needs and desires of our core customer base.” ~ John Mackey (Tweet This Quote)
4. “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 (Tweet This Quote)
5. “Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.” ~ Kevin Stirtz (Tweet This Quote)
6. “Good customer service begins at the top. If your senior people don’t get it, even the strongest links further down the line can become compromised.” ~ Richard Branson (Tweet This Quote)
7. “The customer’s perception is your reality.” ~ Kate Zabriskie (Tweet This Quote)
8. “The longer you wait, the harder it is to produce outstanding customer service.” ~ William H. Davidow (Tweet This Quote)
9. “Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.” ~ Anonymous (Tweet This Quote)
10. “Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.” ~ Tony Alessandra (Tweet This Quote)
11. “To achieve consistently terrific customer service, you must hire wonderful people who believe in your company’s goals, habitually do better than the norm and who will love their jobs; make sure that their ideas and opinions are heard and respected; then give them the freedom to help and solve problems for your customers. Rather than providing rules or scripts, you should ask them to treat the customer as they themselves would like to be treated — which is surely the highest standard.” ~ Richard Branson (Tweet This Quote)
12. “For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.” – Tony Hsieh (Tweet This Quote)
13. “The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” ~ John Russell (Tweet This Quote)
14. “When you’re trying to make an important decision, and you’re sort of divided on the issue, ask yourself: ‘If the customer were here, what would she say?’” ~ Dharmesh Shah (Tweet This Quote)
15. “As far as customers are concerned, you are the company. This is not a burden, but the core of your job. You hold in your hands the power to keep customers coming back – perhaps even to make or break the company.” ~ Unknown Author (Tweet This Quote)
16. “The Ritz-Carlton’s ‘wow,’ if you would, or the mystique of our organization, comes hands-down from two places: our culture and our people.” ~ Joe Quitoni (Tweet This Quote)
17. “Your website isn’t the center of your universe. Your Facebook page isn’t the center of your universe. Your mobile app isn’t the center of your universe. The customer is the center of your universe.” ~ Bruce Ernst (Tweet This Quote)
18. “Without great employees you can never have great customer service.” ~ Richard F. Gerson (Tweet This Quote)
19. “If there’s one reason we have done better than of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word of mouth is so very, very powerful.” ~ Jeff Bezos (Tweet This Quote)
20. “The internal customer experience determines the external customer experience.” ~ Shep Hyken (Tweet This Quote)
21. “In the age of the customer, executives don’t decide how customer-centric their companies are — customers do.” ~ Kate Leggett (Tweet This Quote)
What’s your favorite quote related to customer service, the customer experience or a customer-centric culture? Let us know in the comments section below.