The 17 Best Things Ever Said About Service

In ten years of writing this blog, one of the most frequent request I receive is to forward a collection of my so-called “Sullivan-isms,” quotes about service. And for those of you who are reading this that are also interested, I thought you might like to know that you can now get over 3,000 of my favorite musings about service, selling, leadership, business, marketing and training via a new mobile app called QuoteZilla at iTunes or the Google Play. It’s free. And for those of you who still find technology befuddling–and may think that a Tweet is something Barbara Walters gives her dog–then here’s a collection of my personal list of The Best Things Ever Said About Service. Share them with your team:

  • Good service means never having to ask for anything.
  • Bad service happens all by itself, good service has to managed.
  • Good service can save a bad meal. A good meal cannot save bad service.
  • Make happy those who are near and those who are far will come. –Chinese Proverb
  • If a customer has one genuine grievance, do two things to resolve it.
  • Customers are like spouses, if you don’t show appreciation they will go somewhere else.
  • “Product expertise can be duplicated, so any competitive advantage based on products will eventually go away. But customer expertise is competitively defendable, unique and permanent.” –Martha Rogers
  • A Customer will forgive us for a higher price but they’ll never forgive us for lower quality.
  • Our business is run for the enjoyment and pleasure of our customers, not for the convenience of the staff or the owners.
  • A customer should never have to get out of their chair or car to do some part of our job.
  • Worry about being better; bigger will take of itself.
  • Service is our invisible product. It’s free. Heap it on.
  • A happy customer buys more.
  • The most expensive thing in a restaurant is an empty chair.
  • Handle every single transaction with each and every person, no matter who that person is, as if you will have to live with them in a very small room for the rest of your life.
  • Now the difference between “Service” and “Hospitality”: Service fulfills a need—so does an ATM–but hospitality fulfills people
  • “There’s no magic to magic, it’s all in the details.” –Walt Disney

Jim Sullivan is a consultant, author and speaker. Companies using his training products or programs include McDonald’s, Starbucks, Walt Disney Company, Panera Bread and Applebee’s. You can get his leadership enewsletter and product catalog at




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