Ethics Helpline

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Customer service ethics are the moral principles that govern a company's conduct with its customers, potential customers and ex-customers. They are based on a particular set of values relating to the question of what is “right” or “wrong.”

Generally, customer ethics are defined as a set of ethics that service providers follow to ensure that they treat their customers with respect. Often, non-discrimination is one of these ethics and as such, it guarantees that every customer is treated with respect regardless of their age, religious or cultural background, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class or history with the company.

Other customer ethics include valuing the relationship with the customer over the transactions and keeping meticulous records of all customer interactions to reduce the chance of employee errors causing problems for customers. Valuing the relationship with the customer over making a transaction often means taking any step necessary to correct a customer’s problem, even when it means the company does not profit from the transaction that led to the problem.

A customer service code of ethics is not the same as a customer service code of conduct; while a code of conduct is a set of specific guidelines employees are to follow at work and, in some cases, outside the workplace, a code of ethics is a set of morals and beliefs that the company strives to operate by. Generally, a code of ethics is the basis for a code of conduct, and the code of conduct may reference the code of ethics at numerous points.

Common ethical values companies work into their customer service codes of ethics are:

  • Honesty
  • Responsiveness
  • Transparency
  • Respect
  • Value
  • Loyalty
  • A drive to solve problems

A code of ethics is not just a vague list of values like these. It is a set of statements that spell out how these values drive the company’s actions. These statements are the policies that make up the code of ethics and should be made readily available to employees. Often, a customer service code of ethics and all other company ethics policies are included in its employee handbook.

 

 Why do we need customer service ethics?

In customer service, doing the right thing is an end in itself. But a firm code of ethics also shows good business sense.

It attracts customers. Millennials, for example, are shown to be particular about the brands they buy from . They look for companies that fit their criteria of social responsibility: investing in the betterment of society, making a positive impact on the world, being honest about their efforts and “giving back” to their community.

It attracts talent. A reputation as an ethical company is also an asset in attracting talent . Companies with a poor moral reputation actually have to pay a salary premium to incentivize people to work for them.

It minimizes bad reviews. The rise of review platforms has given disgruntled customers a stronger voice than they had a few decades ago. A clear moral code as a basis for behavior and reference helps decrease your number of bad reviews .

It maximizes customer loyalty. Customers are likely to drop you the minute they feel unethically mistreated. Showing utmost respect and care for your customers is an easy way to build loyalty.

 

About the POEC

To administer and enforce the Public Officers’ Ethics Act which comprises of the code of conduct and ethics for public officers and declarations of income, assets and liabilities for designated public officers.

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