Is a code of ethics important in the places where you do business? Before we can determine if it is important, we should first clarify what it is. Investopedia.com defines it as, “a document that may outline the mission and values of the business or organization, how professionals are supposed to approach problems, the ethical (honest) principles based on the organization’s core values and the standard to which the professional is held.”
It sounds complicated, but it is simply the company’s values and principles upon which they run their business.
I have been going to the same shop for more than 10 years. As I sat in the waiting area, I noticed a plaque on the wall with the shop’s mission statement and Code of Ethics. I never noticed it before, but one of the owners said they have had it for a long time but in a different spot with a large picture next to it. I got up to take a closer look at the plaque. The code includes statements like, “Attempt to fix the customer’s vehicle right the ‘first time,’” and “Uphold the high standards of our profession and seek to correct any and all abuses within the automotive industry.”
I have owned several cars over the years and I don’t remember seeing that kind of a statement in any auto repair shop or any other retail/service establishment. That action requires a level of accountability that says they will stand by the statements they make.
Perhaps we should ask all the establishments that we do business with if they have a code of ethics. If not, recommend that they consider developing a Code of Ethics and publicly displaying them for customers to see. That may be the start to regaining good customer service practices.
Linda J. Williams, M.Ed. is a certified etiquette consultant. For more information, visit www.etiquetteandwritingconsultancy.com.