Thinking about what is at the core of offering a service to others and what differentiates those who provide something good vs mediocrity is the answer to this question: do you care?
You can’t buy “caring”. Caring needs to be taught and fostered. Yes, it is also possible to manipulate people into caring. If you’re around people who care about their work, you too will likely care about your work, if not to just be agreeable. The opposite happens in environments where people don’t care.
Caring can overcome rainy days, deadlines, bad nights sleep. Caring gets you out of bed in the morning when you really don’t feel like it.
Can someone see past the angry customer to resolve their situation? If they care. You can care for people who are angry with you.
Can you push to get a project to be perfect? If you care.
You can hire for caring but it’s not enough. People can stop caring... and they can also start caring again. Caring needs to be constantly nurtured and checked.
Humans can really botch this “check” on caring. This may be an area where there’s an opportunity for technology to give nudges when people start to slide off of the caring horse.