Have you thought about how to inspire your team to do better at customer service? I’ve found that one of the most important factors in any company’s success is its values. Yes, the “values statement” can be something dry that most people will ignore – or it can be deeply attuned to the way that a team does business every day; something truly motivational. You don’t need a formal statement of values to help motivate your team, though: You can start with principles, the kind embodied in great quotes. Give your team members the opportunity to think about these quotes, understand what each one means to them, and incorporate them in day-to-day efforts. The results can be astonishing!

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

It might seem like a pain to have to deal with unhappy customers, but they’re the ones who can help businesses of any size – especially retail stores and restaurants – learn what’s not working. That’s the most valuable kind of feedback you can get, since it means doing better in the future.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Gandhi

Taking the right attitude toward customer service means realizing that when you do right by your customers, you do right by yourself. It isn’t always pleasant dealing with the public, but nothing is more satisfying than turning around a challenging situation by being helpful and tenacious.

“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” – Donald Porter, British Airways VP

Mistakes happen to everyone. The important thing is that effectively, quickly, cheerfully fixing a mistake can put you head and shoulders over the competition. “Perfection” is never the goal – doing the absolute best you can under any circumstances is. That’s excellence.

“One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.” – Jim Rohn, Motivational Speaker

Even experts can’t predict what kind of advertising will work in every situation. We can say one thing for sure, though: In a world full of fake online reviews, people are more tuned in to “word of mouth” from others they trust. Give them a great experience and they will spread the word.

“The customer experience is our next competitive battleground.” – Jerry Gregoire, Dell CIO

Even the top technical mind behind one of the world’s most successful computing brands recognizes that product quality is just one key to success: Other businesses can produce excellent products and great innovations, too, but only one can be the best at taking care of customers.

“Always do more than is required of you.” – General George S. Patton

If you ask me, General Patton really embodied this quote throughout his life. Doing more doesn’t mean working until you burn out, but striving to do better and model excellence in everything you do. Always look for ways, no matter how big or small, to top yesterday’s performance.

“Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin

Even the best plan to improve customer service isn’t meaningful if you don’t put it into action! I’ve seen plenty of great teams “paralyzed by analysis.” Remember, customer service is one of the most intuitive parts of business: You can start by treating people how you wish to be treated.

“There is only one boss: The customer.” – Sam Walton

No matter how you feel about Walmart, this quote gives you a lot to think about. It’s the customer who decides the fate of the business: When a single customer makes the decision to go somewhere else just once, the domino effect can cost you thousands of dollars over time.

“The longer you wait, the harder it is to produce outstanding customer service.” – William H. Davidow

One of the most important things about customer service is that there’s always a right time to do it: Now. If there is a customer in your store, then there is something you can be doing for them. Waiting too long to engage them can mean that their experience has already soured.

“Excellence is not a single act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Back in the old days, philosophers like Aristotle thought hard about what made for a good life. Aristotle learned that people are molded by their habits, what they do every day. Expect and strive for the best customer service possible every single day and you will achieve greatness. Want more great ideas? Check out 12 Customer Service Quotes to Inspire You in 2013 or this fantastic Slideshare presentation originally from Salesforce.com: 50 Customer Service Quotes You Need to Hang in Your Office.