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What Is the Relationship Between Business Ethics and Customer Relations?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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The relationship between business ethics and customer relations lies in the manner in which the management of various businesses apply the principles of ethics in their interaction with customers. As such, business ethics and customer relations may apply to the way in which a business conveys its products and services to customers and the manner in which it handles customer complaints. It also deals with the manner in which businesses address ethical considerations related to the health and welfare of their customers.

An example of the relationship between business ethics and customer relations is a situation where a company falsely represents its products or services to its customers. A company that specializes in bakery products may advertise that its muffins contains blueberries without letting customers know that the blueberries in the muffin are synthetically created to simulate the real fruit. This type of unethical consideration when dealing with customers also applies to orange juice makers that advertise their orange juice as “fresh,” without explaining to customers that the juice had been extracted from the orange and preserved under special conditions for almost a year. The implication here is that the oranges may have been squeezed when they were still fresh, but the process of storing the juice for so long makes their claims of freshness highly unethical. This is especially true when customers buy the product believing that the oranges had just been squeezed within that week or month.

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Another instance of the link between business ethics and customer relations can be seen in the way in which the company treats any complaint from the consumers. A customer may notice a wet spot on the floor in a store and tell an employee about this condition, expecting the complaint to be investigated. If the store does nothing and a customer slips and falls on the wet spot, this might lead to the initiation of a lawsuit on the part of the injured customer.

The issue of dishonesty toward customers in the quest to make as much money as possible is one of the more common factors of the relationship between business ethics and customer relation. For instance, in the United States, every year, after the Thanksgiving holiday, there is a day known as Black Friday when stores compete with each other to slash the prices of goods and services. On that day, a television that would normally sell for $1,200 US Dollars (USD) might be sold for $500 USD. What the various manufacturers and marketers fail to tell their customers is that such items have been specially made for this particular period and that they are inferior to the expensive ones, even if they look the same on the outside.

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