In small-businesses ethics refers to standards of correct behavior -- often established by the owner of the business -- that members of the organization are expected to maintain when dealing with each other, customers, vendors and the community as a whole. One of the benefits of maintaining high ethical standards is increased customer satisfaction which can lead to repeat business from the customer and valuable word-of-mouth endorsements of your company to other potential customers.

Selecting the Right Products

Good ethics dictates that a salesperson should help customers find the most suitable product for their needs, not necessarily the one that results in the greatest revenue or highest profit margin for the company. Customers appreciate it when sales associates take the time to find out their specific needs -- to treat them as individuals. Precisely meeting customer needs translates into higher customer satisfaction.

Reliable Source of Information

Customers look to a company’s sales staff, its product literature and even its website to obtain the information they require to make an informed purchase decision. They need information that helps them compare the company’s products or services with alternatives offered by competitors. Ethical companies don’t make exaggerated claims about the benefits of their products or services -- or make untrue statements about competitors and their products. Customers who find they can trust the company’s staff to provide reliable information are likely to come back to the company for their future needs -- the quality of information provided is part of a satisfying purchase experience for customers.

Not Overselling

A poor ethical choice on the part of a salesperson is to sell the customer something she doesn’t really need. A drain and sewer cleaning service professional, for example, could tell the customer she needs expensive diagnostics done to find out where the line is clogged, when in fact he can tell it is a minor clog that he can remove in minutes. The customer doesn’t have the experience to determine whether she is being told the truth. She may invite a second company in to do an estimate as well and find she was being misled by the first company -- which ends up losing a customer to the more honest company.

Standing by Products and Services

When customers are dissatisfied with a purchase, they appreciate it if the company promptly addresses their concerns and takes action to bring about customer satisfaction. In this case, high ethical standards means standing by the promises that were made, spoken or implied, when the customer made a purchase. A restaurant patron who believes his meal was not prepared properly can be converted to a satisfied customer it the restaurant owner gives him a coupon for a discount on his next meal. It may even be a case where the restaurant owner knows the meal was prepared as it should have been. He makes the decision that keeping the customer satisfied is more important than the cost of the coupon. He stands by his promise of providing the highest-quality dining experience.

Good Corporate Citizenship

Customer satisfaction is not only derived from the customer’s purchase experience with the company, but from the customer’s evaluation of the company’s image. A company with a poor record for environmental stewardship, for example, may lose customers who make environmental awareness a priority in their own lives. Doing more than the minimum is part of establishing and maintaining the highest ethical standards. A small business doesn’t have to support local charities, for example, but customers form a more positive opinion of those who do.