Research Paper On Building An Ethical Organization: Lifetime Customer Service Dimensions
The endeavor to create the formation of an ethical enterprise, particularly in terms of garnering customer loyalty for life, is not easy and corresponds to several facets of selling. The concept of selling has persisted in business throughout the ages, but today’s global environment demands particular ways of committing to personalized relationships. For example, according to Futrell (2011) insists that “selling and marketing” are not the same thing, and that due to myriad corporate scams of dishonesty that breed customer distrust some “companies went out of business” due to the greedy and unethical performances of their chief executives (p. 5, and 6). As a result these incidents have tarnished the public’s faith in business organizations, with many individuals harboring feelings of resentment and suspicions towards all corporations. Given the climate of a highly intense globally competitive economy, companies can ill afford to operate by means of unscrupulous practices. This research paper examines some of the principles and ideas of gathering customers for life, as relevant to quality customer service and building an ethical organization.
What does one normally think of when a ‘salesperson’ comes to mind? Futrell (2011) says that car and insurance salespeople have some of the lowest opinion ratings among all business persons, generally because of greedy intentions for higher monetary profits (p. 7). But, in his book Fundamentals of Selling: Customers for Life through Service, Futrell (2011) deems that the new definition on the horizon characterizes personal selling as a kind of unselfish communication, encouraging a caring attitude to give – in a helpful manner, as if you were trying to sell something to your grandmother (p. 7). While it is true this represents a basic idea, in theory, the fundamental guiding principle of integrity can both fulfill customers’ needs as well as cause businesses to flourish.
For example, consider the notion of customer service to begin with. What comes to mind? For some, this concept may mean that the customer is always right. To others the idea may embrace the practice of simply striving to satisfy the customers’ every need. Still others believe successful selling and customer satisfaction in service involves avoiding any negative aspects, such as displaying bad attitudes or just triumphantly attempting to have a cheerful tone in conversations with potential buyers. The truth is, a combination of important components come into play when desiring to build an ethical organization, particularly when striving to advance retaining customers for life. Communications, quality of service, and ethical constraints seem to converge in important ways to deliver effective ways of compelling customers to return to an organization again, and again. One factor represents that standards, and best practices in selling and delivering business ethics contracts a disposition in a plethora of fields of work all over the world. From Japan, to Europe, to Croatia and Brazil – the contemporary buzzwords are: ethics, social responsibility, and sustainability.
One article discusses Total Quality Management (TQM) within the context of the tourism industry in Croatia, aligning the idea of melding social responsibility (in terms of ethics) to the hotel industry. In this observation, Holjevac (2008) write “The ethical components of the tourism and hotel industry are important due to the industry’s great international importance. The main goal of managers is to generate profits, but only within the legal framework,” and never to cheat the client (p. 1029). If you think about it, obviously and according to logic, any kind of business industry could cheat customers. But it may be particularly easier to do in the realm of tourism and the hospitality industry. For example, providing an unclean or unkempt room for a customer actually ‘cheats’ him or her out of receiving the best, or fair benefits of enjoyment than otherwise might have been provided. Therefore, Holjevac (2008) suggest to embrace the system of TQM as a manner in which to enhance improvement in flexibility, involving “all employees,” and engaging in a system which is a “totally market oriented and customer driven” one (p. 1030). That said, it would be a huge mistake to confuse the idea of ‘marketing’ as a cold and isolated endeavor, because the authors make it clear that all elements are important.
Most researchers, scholars, and business professionals therefore agree that a combination of ethics, high-quality service delivery, cost-benefits effectiveness, and great leadership enhance a company’s good reputation. If balanced well, all stakeholders and parties can walk away with a smile – creating critical channels of mutual satisfaction between employees and customers while contributing to society overall, too. Yet, having alluded to the key importance of customer quality service and integrating all elements of an enterprise’s operation there seems to be a vital role in which customer service is the all-important and encompassing ‘rudder’ (so to speak) that drives the entire ship’s vessel. In other words, as Groth and Goodwin (2011) note the service industry and its correlated interests have boomed like no other over the past few decades, to the point in which “Interest in research on customer service has steadily increased” and has evolved into a lively, “vibrant multidisciplinary field, drawing from literatures such as marketing, management, organizational behavior, industrial and organizational psychology, human resource management, sociology” and so on (p. 329). Of course the aspects of organizational and behavior psychology find their places in the mix, adding up to a fascinating reality about the importance of providing excellence in customer service can retain them for a lifetime – while building an ethical (and profitable) organization.
What is interesting about the Groth and Goodwin scholarship, is how they have perused a historical background of research in service-oriented management and activities, to uncover the fact that customer participation forms a critical link in the situation. For example, all of us can witness this significance when considering the explosion of social media content, from live Twitter feeds to certain videos gone viral worldwide. But another interesting point Groth and Goodwin (2011) make is how there are “core differences between products and services” with each having “unique implications” in terms of management itself, or the nature of the company in how it learns to “measure employee performance and service quality” (p. 330). In other words, they really focused upon putting all the pieces of the business puzzle together to tie up a neat package in perfecting selling in superior service delivery (or goods), while making the organization shine through honesty and establishment of an ethical entity. One thing is certain: You cannot start with rotten tomatoes and expect to serve something of quality. In their book The Road to Hospitality, O’Shannessy and Minett drive home the point.
As the world situation continues to shrink, and we all find ourselves ‘neighbors’ of one another, staying on top of one’s industry’s updates is equally as critical. As aforementioned, social media dramatizes the moment-by-moment views and tastes of the people. But social media also reflects the need to stay update in each industry. According to O’Shannessy and Minett (2008) developing and seeking additional knowledge in whichever field your organization is in must be coupled with an understanding of the legislation, and the updates in your industry. In other words, be aware of regulatory statutes while staying current. Believe it or not, this factor alone will provide an indirect service of high-quality to customers. Specializing in the hospitality industry the authors devote a great deal towards personalized communications with customers, and not slacking off when it comes to their complaints. Once again, social media is pretty good with instantly spreading the word about a company that has treated people poorly. The bottom line, in concert with communication and treating employees and customers with a stellar level of dignity and respect – selling is what is going to convince customers to stay for a lifetime, while simultaneously building your ethical organization. Futrell (2011) reminds readers that selling is so vital it represents a major portion of their annual expenditures, and all the different styles of selling rationally determine the “complexity and difficulty” among the several categories (p. 13). For instance, he names seven sectors of selling, including: retail, outside delivery, selling tangibles, and selling intangibles. Career paths are filled with growth opportunities and a desire for helping others from the heart will go a long way.
Also, a selling career or activity need not be boring or an act of drudgery. Meeting a variety of people in a professional sales career leads to encountering many interesting people, and sometimes forming genuine friendships which otherwise might not be enjoyed. Futrell (2011) warns that using the Golden Rule, in an attitude of service with leveraging communication ability comprise chief aspects of doing well. He names “personal characteristics” as critical to the task along with bountiful knowledge and stamina (p. 17). The best sales persons are most likely very energetic. You might be surprised how contagious enthusiasm is. In wrapping up this discussion, the following story exemplifies an amazing view of how important a professional salesperson’s influence can be. The Saylor Academy (2013) reported that a salesman, Ted Schulte was up late at night on the phone in an intense conversation with a cardiologist, scheduled to do heart surgery in a few hours. The patient had quite a few health complications to consider, and the cardiologist needed guidance from the salesman to help him determine “which pacemaker would best suit her needs” (“Saylor,” 2013, p. 1). In this case, the doctor was taking crucial advice from the salesman, so he could have the appropriate instruments to perform the job for the procedure (“Saylor,” 2013). Professional selling may be described as complex, but it can be easy, if a person puts serious effort into realizing it’s all about interpersonal relationships and being prepared for the process. In this way, you can build a formidable ‘chain-link’ fence to build an ethical organization within the context of selling, marketing, and encouraging a lifetime customer base by giving excellent service.
Futrell, C. (2011). Fundamentals of selling: Customers for life through service (12th ed.).
New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Groth, M. & Goodwin, R.E. (2011). Customer service. In S. Zedeck, S. Zedeck (Eds.), APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, Vol 3: Maintaining, expanding, and contracting the organization (pp. 329-357). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/12171-009
Holjevac, I. (2008). Business ethics in tourism – As a dimension of TQM. Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 19(10), 1029-1041.
O’Shannessy, V., & Minett, D. (2008). The Road to Hospitality Skills for the New
Professional (3rd ed.). Frenchs Forest, Australia: Pearson.
Saylor. (2013). Chapter 13 – Professional selling [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/BUS203-PoM-Ch13.pdf
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