We all think we are ethical, honest, and above board in our businesses and that we provide excellent customer service, but on a score of one to ten how do you think your business fares?
Look through any newspaper and you will see untruthful or misleading advertising. Lots of companies continue to sell merchandise they know is sub-standard. Pick just about any manufacturer, go online, and read the reviews - it quickly becomes obvious certain companies (no names) are simply cheating consumers.
How many of the following ten points can you honestly check off? Be honest. If you aren't, you're only lying to yourself.
Our management team is completely truthful in all its dealings with employees, customers, suppliers, contractors and shareholders (or stakeholders).
All my company's advertising is not only truthful to the letter of the law, but also in the spirit of fair trading practices. It is not misleading, nor does it misrepresent, overstate, or exaggerate the facts.
I always keep my promises - my word is my bond, no matter who I give it to.
I stand by what I sell 100 percent. If it doesn't meet a customer's expectations I fix it, or refund their money. And, I deal with all customer complaints politely and quickly.
When I, or any member of my staff are selling to potential customers, we are totally honest when describing the features, advantages and benefits of what we sell. Our pricing is transparent, fair and offers good value. And, we are as attentive AFTER the sale as we were during the time we were getting the sale.
I return ALL phone calls within 24-hours.
I return ALL emails within 24-hours (except spam of course).
I do NOT pick and choose the questions I answer in emails, or in person - I answer them ALL.
I am polite, respectful and considerate to all my employees, customers, suppliers, contractors and shareholders (or stakeholders).
I show respect to all those I deal with by always being on time for meetings.
This list is not comprehensive by any means, but we hope it gets you thinking about how easy it is to let honesty and ethical business practices slip in a business - any business. Are you certain for instance that your employees are being as honest as you are with your customers?
One good idea is to create a 'standards of business-practice' document that all staff are required to read and sign when they join your company, and annually thereafter.
In today's open and transparent social media savvy world, it's very easy to get a bad name for exploding tablets and washing machines. Not to say the company in question knew beforehand there was a problem with these products, but a little upfront care about standards might have prevented all the bad press.
What was your score? If you are completely honest with yourself, is there room for improvement?