By virtue of starting an enterprise or a venture, an entrepreneur comes under various kinds of obligations to various entities in the society. Some of these obligations are legal and can be enforced by the law enforcing agencies, if necessary. Some are financial obligations and the lenders can enforce them as per the agreement or the law. Some obligations are social in nature, and although they may be nebulous and fuzzy in nature, and may or may not be legally enforceable, society has its own mechanism to enforce them. And finally some obligations are moral in nature. It is these obligations that we will look into in this article.
Every entrepreneur has legal, financial, social and moral obligations towards his customers / clients. While the former three operate at the gross level, the moral obligations operate at much higher a level. In case of legal, social and financial obligations, there are external agencies that can compel or extract performance from the entrepreneur. But in case of moral obligations, there are no external agencies. There are no taskmasters, no prosecutor, and no enactments to go by and there are no penalties, so to say, to be paid. Here the observer and the one being observed are one and the same persons. Justification of actions is to be given, not to the judge or the income tax authorities, but to one’s own conscience. One has to judge oneself in one’s own eyes. “Have I failed in my own eyes?” is the question one has to answer to oneself.
The moral obligations that rest on your shoulders as an entrepreneur are because of your superior capacities and capabilities that your customer / client has put his faith in. it always so in fairer, civilized societies. The more powerful a person the more obligations he has.
Your obligation is to actually remove the pain felt by your customer / client that you promised you will remove.
Your obligation is to actually solve a problem faced by your customer / client that you claim you can solve and because of this claim the customer / client came to you.
Your obligation is to give him your attention and carry on the transaction with care and concern, with personal involvement – to his satisfaction. In the field of administration of justice, there is a famous maxim – justice not only must be done, but must also appear to have been done. Similarly, not only must excellent service be rendered to the customer / client, he must also experience that you have given him excellent service.
Even if you are only a seller or supplier of goods, it is your obligation to be familiar with its use or working and guide the customer if he so desires.
Your obligation is to always keep your technical knowledge up to date and put it at the service of your customer / client. That’s what he is paying you for.
In sum, your moral responsibility is to be just and fair to your customer / client, not to fool him by giving him substandard service or goods or shortchanging him in any ways, even if he is never likely to discover it.