Mahatma Gandhi and Customer Service Week

by Diane Berenbaum

Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi, esteemed internationally for his efforts to promote peace and non-violence, was born on October 2nd.  Perhaps it is no coincidence that National Customer Service week is always celebrated the first week of October. Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purpose of discovering truth, or Satya. He may be best known as a man of steadfast virtue, a political and a spiritual leader who appealed to the universal conscience of mankind. As such, he changed the world.


In honor of Customer Service Week and Gandhi’s birthday, I am sharing some of his quotes and poems that speak to the true meaning of service. I hope they will help us connect to the deeper meaning of the words "customer" and "service":


  • The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
  • Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.
  • Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.
  • A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
  • It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.


A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.
He is not dependent on us.
We are dependent on him.
He is not an interruption on our work.
He is the purpose of it.
He is not an outsider on our business.
He is a part of it.
We are not doing him a favor by serving him.
He is doing us a favor
by giving us an opportunity to do so.

Final Thoughts

Each one of us has the capability to make a difference and be of service to others. Let’s celebrate the significance of service and choose to honor its true meaning in our thoughts and actions this month… as well as the months and years ahead.

As Gandhi once said:

  • "The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problem."
  • "Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it."
  • "In a gentle way, you can shake the world."


Diane Berenbaum is a long-time contributor and former editor of the MAGIC Service Newsletter. She has more than twenty-five years of experience as a consultant, coach, and facilitator. Diane is the co-author of How to Talk to Customers: Create a Great Impression Every Time with MAGIC® .
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