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1. The customer isn’t king anymore. The customer is dictator.

Anonymous. Said by a retailer. Fortune (Autumn-Winter 1993)


2. Everything changes when there is a real customer yelling at you from the other end of the phone.

Percy Barnevik (b.1941) Swedish former C.E.O. of ABB. Quoted in Liberation Management (Tom Peters; 1992)


3. Above all, we wish to avoid having a dissatisfied customer. We consider our customers a part of our organization, and we want them to feel free to make any criticism they see fit in regard to our merchandise or service.

L.L. Bean (1872-1967) U.S. outdoor clothing and equipment retailer. 1934. L. L. Bean catalogue (1999)


4. If someone thinks they are being mistreated by us, they won’t tell 5 people, they’ll tell 5000.

Jeff Bezos (b.1964) U.S. founder and C.E.O. of Wall Street Journal (May 1996)


5. It is difficult to make people happy but I know we should try harder.

Christopher Bland (b1938) British media executive and chairman of British Telecom. Referring the BBC’s policy of achieving program balance. Management Today (July 1999)


6. The popular slogan, stay close to your customers, appears not always to be robust advice.

Clayton M. Christensen (b.1952) U.S. writer. The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997)


7. It is a company’s customers who effectively control what it can and cannot do.

Clayton M. Christensen (b.1952) U.S. writer. The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997)


8. As a creative retailer, my belief is simply that, if reasonable and intelligent people are offered products that are well made, well designed, work well, are of a decent quality and at a price they can afford, then they will like and buy them.

Terence Conran (b.1931) British business executive. Retailer, and founder of Habitat. Quoted in The Adventure Capitalists (Jeff Grout and Lynne Curry; 1998)


9. Customers are your future, representing new opportunities, ideas and avenues for growth.

Michael Dell (b.1965) U.S. chairman and C.E.O. of Dell Computer Corporation. Direct from Dell (1996)


10. Profit in business comes from repeat customers; customers that boast about your product and service, and that bring friends with them.

  1. Edwards Deming (1900-93) U.S. consultant and author. Out of the Crisis (1984)


11. The only profit center is the customer.

Peter F. Drucker (b.1909) U.S. management consultant and academic. Harvard Business Review (January/February 1995)


12. There is only one valid definition of business: to create a customer.

Peter F. Drucker (b.1909) U.S. management consultant and academic. The Practice of Management (1954)


13. Helping someone personally is a better measure of success than picking a hot stock.

Grace Fey, U.S. vice president and director of Frontier Capital Management. Quoted in Women of the Street (Sue Herera; 1997)


14. What makes me feel more successful than picking stocks or any of that, is my client relationships.

Grace Fey, U.S. vice president and director of Frontier Capital Management. Quoted in Women of the Street (Sue Herera; 1997)


15. A manufacturer is not through with his customer when a sale is completed. He has then only started with his customer.

Henry Ford (1863-1947) U.S. industrialist, automobile manufacturer, and founder of Ford Motor Company. My Life and Work (co-written with Samuel Crowther; 1922)


16. I come with the mindset of a customer.

Lou Gerstner (b.1942) U.S. chairman and C.E.O. of IBM. Economist (June 1998)


17. Whatever the business model, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks if customers don’t like it.

Paul Gratton (b.1960) British C.E.O. of Egg. Sunday Times (London) (May 2000)


18. It has no God-given right to succeed if it does not give customers what they want.

Roger Holmes (b.1960) British business executive. Sunday Times (London) (September 2000)


19. You build an expertise around the customer, and that’s an investment.

Rolf Hueppi (b.1943) Swiss C.E.O. of Zurich Insurance. Wall Street Journal Europe (June 1992)


20. I look in my closet, and if I need it, I design it. If it works for me, I works for the customer.

Donna Karan (b.1948) U.S. fashion designer. Fortune (Autumn-Winter 1993)


21. It’s not just running a restaurant, it’s being friends with your customers. It’s a personal connection, very personal.

Mary Kelekis (b.1925) Canadian restaurant owner. Quoted in relishing Taste and Tradition (Helen Stein; 1997)


22. Customers provide you with the most accurate barometer of what’s right and wrong.

Herb Kelleher (b.1931) U.S. businessman and founder of Southwest Airlines. Industry Week (January 8, 1996)


23. At the best Plants, the customer is king.

Theodore B. Kinni, U.S. business author and editor. America’s Best (1997)


24. There is far more involved in the relationship with customers than just providing good products and services. It is a question of personal identification, personal ethics and perhaps, a little more cynically, of personal self-esteem. This identification…rests on intangibles-on the elements that make up trust.

Mark Moody-Stuart (b.1940) British chairman of Anglo American, and former chairman of Committee of Managing Directors Royal Dutch/Shell Grouo. Speech, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. “The Values of Sustainable Business in the Next Century” (July 12, 1999)


25. The customer is never wrong.

Cesar Ritz (1850-1918) Swiss hotel proprietor. 1908. Attrib.


26. We should never be allowed to forget that it is the customer who, in the end, determines how many people are employed and what sort of wages companies can afford to pay.

Alfred Robens (1910-99) British politician and chairman of the National Coal Board. Observer (London) (May 1, 1977)


27. The customer is always right.

Gordon Selfridge (1858-1947) British retailer. Quoted in No Name on The Door (A. H. Williams; 1957)


28. The customer will become so integrated into the production process that we will find it more and more difficult to tell just who is actually the consumer and the producer.

Alvin Toffler (b.1928) U.S. social commentator. The Third Wave (1980)


29. The key is to get into the stores and listen.

Sam M. Walton (1918-92) U.S. entrepreneur and founder of Wal-Mart, Inc. Wall Street Journal (April 1982)


30. There aren’t any categories of problems here. There’s just one problem. Some of us aren’t paying enough attention to our customers.

Thomas J. Watson, SR. (1874-1956) U.S. founder and president of IBM. Quoted in In Search of Excellence (Tom Peters and Robert Waterman; 1982)