What type of brand would you rather do business with? Do you want a company that tells you any potential problems upfront and offers complete business transparency? Or, would you be happy with a company that swept issues under the rug and didn’t share when a problem arose?
Such thoughts might bring to mind different automobile manufacturers. When issues with tires, an engine or transmissions arise, those owners who are notified and a recall initiated are usually much more satisfied with their car and likely to buy that brand again.
The business transparency offered by top auto makers might help customers develop long-term affiliation with that brand. On the other hand, some companies try to hide the issues and wind up paying out millions in damages and who knows how much more in lost reputation?
Why Business Transparency Is Key to Success
Cisco recently published their 2022 Consumer Privacy Survey from a double-blind survey of 2,600 adults 18 and older in 12 different countries. They found around 60% of people are worried about how companies use new technology such as Artificial Intelligence and the handling of their personal data.
Across the board, consumers want more business transparency in how brands handle their information. Transparency in the way you collect and use information is a vital component of building trust with your clients.
However, there are many other reasons why business transparency matters, such as your customers being able to trust you to follow through, do what you say and create a quality experience for them. Here is how to build transparency as part of your company culture, and retain clients in the process.
1. Respond Quickly
A company that has solid policies and is open to review will respond quickly to any customer service inquiries. If a client has an issue with your product, you should immediately launch your customer retention strategy and fix the problem for them.
Even if you need some time to research the issue and how best to fix it, your agents should respond and let the customer know someone is looking into it and reassure them they will be in touch within 24 to 48 hours.
Give the customer a point of contact so they don’t assume you’re just brushing them off. Nearly every consumer has dealt with a company saying they’ll fix a problem and then ignoring them. Don’t give them any doubt you’re going to help.
2. Tell Them You Want to Keep Their Business
Did you know increasing customer retention by 5% increases profits as much as 95%? One of the best ways to keep your current clients is by telling them how much you value you. Send out thank you emails, touch base on the telephone and follow up to make sure any issues were resolved to their complete satisfaction.
If retaining clients is important to you, make it clear that you want to keep their business. Ask them if there is anything else you can do to ensure they remain your customer. Would they feel comfortable referring a friend or family member to you? If not, then you have more work to do.
3. Train Open Employees
Your staff is often the first interaction customers have with your brand. Part of their onboarding should be understanding how much business transparency you want with your clients. Train your employees to be upfront about potential drawbacks. If they only sell the positive aspects of a service, the client may wind up disappointed when they encounter a few obstacles.
No matter what you sell, there is always room for improvement. Teach your workers that they can come to you with issues with software or products and you will reward them for helping you improve. If you run a business with a punitive approach, your employees will be scared to offer their input. You may miss big opportunities to improve what you do and keep clients.
4. Ask for Honest Feedback
Ask your employees and your clients for honest feedback. You may want to make forms anonymous, so they can report issues without fear of retribution. If your goal is to find and retain customers, you must be willing to fix any problems and be open to criticism. Business transparency often requires feedback from both sides to fully open up.
Don’t look at a negative review as something awful that will destroy your business. Instead, ask how you can use the opportunity to improve. Allow clients to post reviews without any demands from you for a certain rating or edits. It’s fine to respond professionally with how you fixed the issue.
Other people will see how you plan to fix any problems and that you’re proactive and professional in your approach with current clients. Ask how you can best communicate with clients. Around 68% of millennials say they prefer text for communication. If you aren’t offering customer service in the format your users prefer, change things up.
5. Utilize Social Media
According to Smart Insights the number of social media users is around 4.62 billion, with a 10.1% year over year growth rate globally. If you aren’t already tapping into the power of social media to stay connected with your clients, now is the time.
You can post a quick message about some new development and keep things open and honest without having to make a big deal about the less favorable news. Social media also gives you an opportunity to answer questions investors and clients may have about day-to-day operations.
Own Up to Mistakes
One of the best things you can do to gain and keep the trust of your clients is to take ownership of your mistakes. No business is perfect but business transparency goes a long way toward making yours stellar. There’s always room for improvement. When you mess something up, let the customer know you did and already have a solution in progress. The more transparent you are, the more likely your clients will trust you to do the right thing in the future.