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Customers just won’t do what
they are supposed to do

Passing an empty retail storefront in downtown Edmonton recently I was reminded of a conversation a few years earlier. I was shopping in a store in a nearby mall that was part of the same chain shortly after the now abandoned location had opened for business.

An employee explained that the mall location was about to close now that the new store was open. This closing did not seem to have been part of the original plan. Both stores were to remain open, but customers were not shopping at the new, larger store.

Customers appeared to find the old mall location more convenient. By closing the store in the mall, the company’s decision makers had concluded, customers would be forced to shop at the new outlet. Business would increase and the location would become profitable.

Obviously, this approach to changing customer’s shopping habits failed. Many were not prepared to leave the comfort of the mall to venture onto wintry streets in search of the new store. Customers did not adjust their practices to fit the way this company wanted to do business. Without enough customers, the business closed.

Success does not lie in making it difficult or inconvenient for customers to do business with you. Successful businesses listen to their customers and find ways to make it easy to do business with them. Convenient locations. Ample parking. Few rules. Enough knowledgeable, service orientated staff. Simple processes for resolving complaints. Being successful means knowing and doing what customers believe is important.


Nelson Scott offers several Customer Service Presentations, including Customer Service MAGIC: Changing Complainers into Loyal Customers; What Your Mother Taught You About Customer Service and other Training Resources developed by Service Quality Institute and the Vital Learning Corporation.


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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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