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What Is the Relationship Between Business Ethics and Customer Relations?

Businesses should be ethical when dealing with customers.
Business ethics and customer relations applies to the way that a business conveys its products and deals with customer complaints.
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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 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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burcinc
Post 3

Those who like shopping at clothing retailers on Black Friday, I urge you to go to the same store one week or two weeks before. You will discover that many times, the prices are lower before Black Friday arrives. Or sometimes, the prices are the same, they just change the tags to make it look like it's on discount.

donasmrs
Post 2

@serenesurface-- Customers do react when there is false advertising, the least they do is stop buying the product. And there can't be a better reaction than that.

Positive customer relations is a huge factor. I know people who will buy something even if it's not that great because they like the business and their customer relations. I also know people who will not buy something regardless of how great it is because they hate the customer relations of that business. So businesses need to think twice about this issue. Ethics is more important to consumers than some businesses realize.

serenesurface
Post 1

If false advertising is unethical, then almost all businesses are unethical when it comes to customer relations. False advertising is very common. For example, right now, businesses can label their products "natural" even if they're not natural. There is no supervision of this term on labels, so almost everyone uses it now. If one checks the ingredients list of these products or calls up the manufacturer to find out about how the ingredients are processed, one will realize that it's far from being natural.

Although false advertising upsets us consumers, we are getting more used to it and many of us don't really do anything about it.

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