Manual for Azerbaijan companies Rena Safaralieva

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service. However, these contracts do not take into account the rights of the consumers. For example, 

Barmek  requires timely payment for the power consumed but the company abstains from moral and 

material responsibility for the quality of electric power or the damage of electric appliances due to 

interruptions of power supply.  


Obligations of businesses before customers 


In this Chapter we will discuss the nature of relationships between businesses and customers, as well as 

analyzing the obligations of businesses to customers. It should be noted that these obligations cover a 

broad spectrum of businesses, while many professions are noted for their own specific duties to their 

clients. For example, the obligations of professionals (lawyers, doctors, teachers, auditors, architects, 

consultants, etc.) are very diverse and have their own peculiarities. We will review common principles 

only, while the special characteristics of professional ethics will be discussed in Chapter X.  


Global experience recognizes seven main obligations of businesses to their customers. These obligations 

are shared by professionals as well and are as follows: 









Keeping commitments  










Honesty in dealing with customers 

Shall a baker warn his customer that the rolls are not fresh?  


Businesses should strive to build credibility in the eyes of their customers. In this particular case, it means 

abstinence from deceiving customers and wasting their money. If a business attempts to deceive a 

customer (withholding change or offering wrong information about a product), this is dishonest from an 

ethical point of view. Such behavior evokes an adverse response. As discussed in Chapter V, a customer 

will feel deceived and will not return to this particular business in future. 


Competence in dealing with customers 

Shall a surgeon call for a conference of specialist doctors, if he is not sure of his diagnosis?  


The competence of a servicing party is of vital importance for customers. A person rendering a service 

may well be honest, sincere, caring, loyal and just, but if the person does not have a sufficient degree of 

competence, he or she will not be able to adequately fulfill the task. If this is the case,  the servicing party 

should immediately recognize its lack of competence and refer the customer to a more experienced firm.  


Keeping commitments  

Can an auditing firm delay submission of an auditor’s report to its customer by one month?  


Businesses shall execute commitments assumed duly and diligently. A business may supply quality goods 

or services, but fail to meet deadlines agreed upon. In this case, a supplier will be violating commitments 

to its  customer.  


Caring about customers 

Shall a dress-maker tell a female customer that because of  her size she’d better not have her skirt too 





 M. D. Bayles, Chapter IV in  Professional Ethics, Florida State University, Wadsworth Publishing House   


Businesses shall care for and respect their customers. A servicing party may be rendering high quality 

services, but will be bound to lose customers, unless it is able to take care of them. By care, we mean a 

consistent response to customers’ needs and wishes, the provision of advice and assistance to facilitate the  

best choice of goods and services. A customer will feel cared about and trust his or her supplier. Such 

customers are bound to become regular frequenters of a particular business. It is no wonder that many 

famous companies include the principle of care into their statements of mission.  


Loyalty to customers  

Shall an architect tell his customer that a construction company hired to build a house is over- charging 

for its services?  


Businesses shall, first of all, protect the vital interests of their customers and be loyal to them. A failure to 

protect the interests of a customer may create irreparable damage to customer-supplier relations. Loyalty 

is a feature more peculiar to representatives of the highly skilled professions. For example, lawyers and 

doctors should always give priority to the interests of their customers in their relations with all other 

parties involved. 


Fairness in dealing with customers  

Can a cashier at a shop serve a woman with a small child out of turn?  


The main aim of fair treatment is to ensure equal treatment to all customers, regardless of the customer’s 

racial, national, ethnic or sexual attributes. The principle of fairness is especially important for 

professionals such as doctors, lawyers or teachers. Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath and are obliged to 

render help to any patient, regardless of their financial or status. As for the question framed, this principle 

might contradict our national mentality, which requires special attention to the aged and women with 

small children. This problem is discussed further in the Conclusion.  





Confidentiality principles  

Can disclosure of information on a patient who has undergone a plastic surgery be considered as 

violation of ethical principles? 


Confidentiality is one of the fundamental rights of customers. Health care systems of many countries 

guarantee the anonymity of patients’ diagnosis. Businesses, by guaranteeing the inviolability of 

customers’ secrets, are guided by the principle that customer information is secret in the same way as 

business information is considered confidential.  Many big companies consider confidentiality so 

important that they prohibit their staff members from sharing information on their customers with the 

public. Many professional businesses give serious guarantees of confidentiality of customer identity. For 

example, Western banking systems give strict guarantees of confidentiality of customer identity and their 

bank account details. A bank is not allowed to state that a certain company is their customer, unless a 

relevant court ruling is available. It is considered dishonest and unethical for a consulting company to 

pass information to their client on a competing firm.  


In Azerbaijan, business partners do not follow the principle of confidentiality with respect to their 

customers. There have been cases when banks have passed their clients’ business plans to competing 

firms. The majority of banks in Azerbaijan do not have an efficient system of guarantees of 

confidentiality for their customers, which partially explains the low level of credit in local banks by 

citizens of  Azerbaijan.  


We believe that the growth of economic activity and consequent increase grip of  competition grip will 

force Azerbaijan  businesses to follow these principles more strictly.  


It should be mentioned that, despite a widespread perception that “the truth is always with a customer”, 

customers also have two very important obligations to businesses: to meet agreements and to timely pay 

for goods and services.  

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