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Respecting customers’ values
and beliefs is important

When we visit our daughter, I am often the first to rise. This creates the opportunity for an early morning walk that usually leads to a nearby Tim Horton’s donut shop for a bagel and cup of tea. This morning, this ritual led to me sitting in this Canadian institution as I began this article.

All around me, customers are “rolling up the rim to win,’ an annual promotion that has become a Canadian rite of spring, along with mud and late season blizzards. A poster on the wall lists past winners from across Canada . . . “Arnold Misko, MB; William Youdell, BC; Teressa Quipp, ON, Terry Moss, AB . . .” Along the bottom are prizes awarded to date . . . “91 Panasonic DVD theatres WON, 6721 Raleigh mountain bikes WON, 456 cash prizes of $1000 WON, Millions of food prizes WON.”

My name won’t be among the winners. Not even a food prize. I can’t win because I ordered tea in a ceramic mug. Before I left the counter, the woman who had served me had offered me an empty paper cup with a rim I could roll up. I refused.

“I don’t feel like creating garbage needlessly,” I had explained. While I am not an avid environmentalist, I do understand the need to reduce what is trucked to landfills. If I can do something simple to reduce the amount of garbage, I will. I see my refusal to accept the unnecessary cup as a small act of defiance in response to being asked to do something that violates a belief or principle.

How often are customers and staff asked to do something that is inconsistent with their values? Maybe it happens when parents are asked to volunteer for a casino or bingo to support team or school activities. Staff may be asked to attend a special evening meeting, when they would rather spend the time with their families.

How about our customers? Are there benefits or opportunities that our customer cannot access because to do so would require them to violate their beliefs or principles?


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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