Mahatma Gandhi – India’s independence activist and leader, renown for employing nonviolent civil disobedience that led India to independence, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world; has the timeless and legendary customer service quote popularly attributed to him as having been delivered in a speech in South Africa in 1890.

It still remains a customer experience wonder how these words uttered over a century ago not only remain relevant to date, but also form the back bone upon which every enterprise big or small, start up or established, individual or jointly owned, should focus their customer service efforts.

Mahatma unparrelled CX ideology

Unpacking each one of these 5 statements, provides us the opportunity to really focus on developing a customer centric culture, and to have a customer facing attitude that can only serve to  deliver winning results at both a personal and professional level.

A customer is the most important visitor in our premises 

Indeed customers are the reason why every single business opens its doors every morning. Without customers, no matter what product is being sold, service being delivered or ideology being pushed, without the audience then it totally ceases to matter. Who then is the center of focus for every organization but the customer? On who should due importance then be plied?

A customer is not dependent on us, we are dependent on them 

Customers are and will always remain to be the drivers of business. It is from customers that the revenues required to sustain business are obtained. It is customers that sustain growth. Even in the not for profit sector, customers being defined as the different stakeholders for whom service is provided, are the backbone upon which the enterprise is built. No customers = no business.

A customer is not the interruption of our work but the purpose of it 

Customers are often viewed as ‘work’… and very often as a ‘bother’. Especially when customers ‘inconvenience’ the service provider by coming or calling at the ‘wrong’ time or doing what is contrary to the rules and regulations set out by the provider. Many a time customers have been made to beg or plead for services or to feel unwanted. How much sadder can it get than to subject customers to this?

A customer is not an outsider of our business but a key part of it 

Partnership partnership partnership – this is the new song that every organization must sing with regards to delivering customer experience excellence. Make every customer your friend and partner with them towards raising service excellence. Making customers key partners will ensure they get listened to, that their voices matter, and that continual improvement is an everyday discussion.

Customers—we are not doing them a favor by serving them—they are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so

Nothing further can be added to this self-explanatory statement except to urge each one of us to remember the true value of our customers and to remember the valuable opportunity they provide each time they allow us to be of service.                                


That Mahatma’s wise words should challenge us to raise our delivery levels is not in debate; leaving a legacy of excellent customer service that transcends centuries is not without our means. We just need to ensure every customer interaction, leaves every customer be they be internal or external feeling positively better and thankful for the experience.