Growing I up remember going out to eat for breakfast with my family routinely on Sunday mornings at a restaurant called Bob Evans in Detroit, Michigan. What I remember most about those meals, (besides for the awesome pancakes!), is how much of pleasant a service experience it was.

Now over 25 years later I have three kids of my own and when we go out to eat, shop for groceries or even go to the local cinema to catch the latest superhero movie (my kids love Spiderman lol), I feel like something is missing from our service experience. That something I discovered was ethics.

Ethics Is the Secret To Winning Customers

When my family and I would eat at Bob Evans, there were a number of occasions where I got to see the ethical code behind the company. Once, after my family and I have finished dining, my mother complained to our waitress that she was unsatisfied with the food because her pancakes tasted soggy and cold. Displeased that we had such a bad dining experience the waitress immediately apologize and convinced the manager to tear up our bill.

Some people may interpret what the waitress and manager did as just great customer service. Which at a basic level it was, but looking deeper into what motivated the waitress to respond in the manner that she did you'll see, it was her belief of what she believed was right, that drove her to do what she did. Ethics, what we believe to be right, wrong or fair plays a gigantic part in how we relate to and experience the products we buy.

In 2009 I read a book by highly successful performance adviser, Joe Calloway, called "Becoming a category of one". In that book Calloway convincingly explains how we're no longer living in a era where companies define how we experience products and services. We're in the Twitter and Facebook era. Where customers now not only define the buying process and the product, but the entire shopping experience.

Ethics Driven Companies Are The Future

How a company lives and practices ethics is now a standard expectation that customers want to see. After the market meltdown and exposure of financial corruption in 2008, customers have become more determined to hold companies accountable to their actions and are expecting higher standards in service. I found in a recent Gallup poll, only 22% of Americans believe the executives running the brands they consume everyday were honest ( See full poll results here).

Businesses that want to be successful in this customer era can no longer afford to be satisfied with just delivering great customer service. Now if you want your company to stand out and win customers for life, you need to adopt a culture of ethics for your company that your employees can champion. Becoming an ethics driven and centered business is the fastest way to increase revenue and defend against competition in today's marketplace.