More and more businesses are seeing their demise and the loss of their customers’ loyalties because of a lack of communication and transparency. Transparency is a key attribute successful businesses need in order to retain the respect and loyalty of their customers. People like to be well informed and won’t tolerate being misled or lied to. Truthful business practices come out one way or another, so it’s best to get ahead of leaks by addressing what your actual methods are. This way, everything is out in the open and people will respect your company more for being honest. Transparency gives customers a sense of trust in your company and the products or services it provides. This can foster a better and stronger relationship between your brand and your customers. This relationship can be furthered by giving your customers confidence to recommend your company to friends and family. Check out this guide to different ways to provide more transparency to your customers in order to create a stronger bond and greater trust.
Provide regular press releases
Whenever there are significant changes within your company, make sure to provide well-written press releases. Do this for both positive and negative changes so that customers know that you’re disclosing everything going on in your company. When you provide press releases for negative things within your company, you still may receive a negative response from some consumers, but it will be much less negative than if you allowed the news to break from an outside source. This can make your business look like it’s trying to cover up something dishonest and will break the trust between the company and its customers. Simply disclosing the information isn’t enough. You must also provide a proactive plan to right the wrong or atone for the discretions.
Reevaluate your labeling
If your company provides a product, it most likely requires a label to help the consumer understand what it is and the correct usage for it, along with any warnings or cautions such as “not intended for children” or “do not ingest,” which are common warnings present on product labeling. Labels are one of the main ways your company can communicate with its customers. Customers read the labels and need to trust the information is accurate and up-to-date. Take a look at your labeling and make sure that it makes sense to a person unfamiliar with your product. Company workers are most likely experts in your product and may not realize the elevated language or specifications are not clear to the typical consumer. Have a person who is removed from the product read the label and explain any issues they find with it and rate it on user-friendliness. An easy-to-read and information-dense label is key to keeping the lines of communication open and transparency intact with your customers and potential customers. Even on shelves, there should be labeling such as the price tag molding's accuracy. The price should be correct and displayed in an easy-to-read manner. This way customers know you’re being upfront about what your product is, does, and costs.
Improve your customer service
Train your customer-facing staff members to be attentive and personable when speaking with and interacting with customers. When recruiting and hiring new employees, try to hire only people who exemplify your brand personality. This will help you maintain consistency while being transparent about what your company is like. Employees who truly reflect what your company stands for and are happy working for your company will help with customer transparency. Employees who don’t need to lie when they say they love their job give off a positive and happy energy that customers can feel. Treating your employees well lends to this greatly. Being transparent with your customers means maintaining good practices. If customers can see right into your company, you want them to see valuable things such as well-treated employees who like working for your company.
Add actual transparency
This one is more on the nose than our other tips. One way to provide more transparency to your customers is to provide actual transparency by letting customers see the insides of your operation. For example, if you own a restaurant, consider having an open kitchen or adding windows from the dining room to the kitchen. This adds a level of trust and appreciation with customers because they will be able to see how your kitchen operates and what your staff does behind the scenes. People are typically very interested in finding out how their favorite business operate, and providing more windows or even tours of what you do behind the scenes can increase the feeling of transparency and trust between your business and its customers.
Have an open conversation with customers
Invest in a way for your customers to give your business feedback and ask any questions they may have and respond to them openly. Reach out to customers who recently shopped with your company and ask how their experience was, leave an open-ended question asking if they want any more information or have any questions they want answered. The key to maintaining and increasing transparency is to then answer each individual question with a unique and specific answer. Vague and preformulated or scripted answers feel disingenuous and deceptive to consumers. Employ a customer service team that personally responds to each query and comment.
Utilize social media
At one point or another, rumors circulate about every business. Get ahead of your company or industry rumors by responding to them directly on social media and offering an open dialogue with the general public. Many companies do a great job interacting with their customers on social media. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are great for holding conversations about your business and its practices or even just fostering a stronger relationship with customers. Social media is also a great resource to share news about your company and upcoming changes.
There are many ways to provide more transparency to your customers. The most important thing is to actually be truthful and honest with the public about your business practices and the way your company is run. People don’t like to be lied to, and transparency is the first step in gaining trust and loyalty from consumers.