How many times have you loved some product or service, only to find out later that they weren’t what they seemed? Or you see the CEO, or an employee involved in some sort of scandal? What was your first reaction?
If you’re anything like most customers these days, you dumped the company and found a new one that you felt you could trust more. That trust is essential to your success.
The number one way to earn that trust is through transparency with the public and with your employees. Companies with a transparent persona keep approximately 94% of their customers. That’s worth going after.
But what does it mean to be transparent as a company?
It’s a very tricky thing, but it’s worth your time. Who wouldn’t want such high customer retention?
Honesty is the Best Policy
Tell your customers what you’re doing in your business whenever you can. Share your plans for the future. Talk about your new employees and what they’ll be doing for your company. Discuss your plans for growth and why you’ve made them.
Take this cider mill for example:
It draws people’s attention and keeps any mystery out of the process of making that delicious apple drink!
How can you make that same kind of window into your business? How can you get people watching with delight at what you do and wanting to have a piece?
If you’re in an office, take people for a virtual tour of your space. Interview your employees and show them hard at work. Do whatever you can to bring people into your business.
No need to give away your trade secrets, but the more an outsider feels like an insider, the better off you are. Just don’t share too much. If you’ve got a special sauce at your restaurant, go ahead and give people an idea of how you make it, just don’t hand them the whole recipe.
Speak Clearly and Plainly
The easier to digest your info is, the more people will trust what you’re saying. Leave technical jargon out whenever you can and just try to get straight to the point.
This won’t only build trust, but it will also cater to short attention spans. The quicker you can get people to what they want to hear or need to know, the better.
Simplicity and honesty are especially important whenever your company or product has an unexpected setback. People will trust you more if you don’t just share your wins with the public, but your losses too.
Explain how it happened. Explain why it happened. Explain what you will do to go forward. Everything you explain, keep it simple.
Invite your customers into your goings on and they won’t ever have to guess about what you’re doing. The less guesswork they have to do about you, the more they will trust you and your brand. With this trust, you can expect a certain amount of advocacy on your behalf from the people whose trust you’ve earned and kept.
When customers trust you, they want to tell other people about you, what you do, and what you stand for! Word of mouth is powerful. One of the best ways to get it going is to be transparent with your customer base. You must strive to be an organization worth talking about.
Stick to Your Core
You have got to spell out your core values simply and clearly and adhere to them.
If you say your company values customer service, you must quickly address your customers with a smile on your face. If you hit a snag and someone gets surly with a customer, just apologize and keep going.
If you say your company values accuracy, your content should be without error and everything should be well-researched. If you do ever mess that up, just say so, and correct your mistake.
Sticking to your values doesn’t have to mean being perfect all the time. In fact, if you come across that way, people may trust you less. People want to see you as human, and humans make mistakes.
Transparency from Within
It’s not just about your outward persona, it’s about what goes on within your company too. You should be sharing information with your employees any chance you get (within reason, of course).
A lot of companies will try to have an internal newsletter to keep everyone up to speed. This practice has multiple benefits:
People can’t talk about what they don’t know if you make sure they always have the info they need.
Keeping transparency within your company is also just a great way to keep your employees on board, happy, and proud of the place they work.
This will help with employee retention and cut down on your training costs. Plus, a company that keeps its employees happy looks good to the public. In its own way, it will build trust with your customers as well.
People may say that “any publicity is good publicity,” but if people are talking about your employees having issues at your company and leaving because of it, you’ll likely lose some trust from your customers.
Keep Your Prices Clear
If your pricing is bogged down with too much verbiage or if you misrepresent it, people are going to lose interest in you.
Even if you have prices that you may feel are high for your industry, you’re still better off being upfront about the pricing.
If you lose leads due to pricing, that can easily be fixed, but if you lose leads because you weren’t honest about your pricing, that can’t be fixed with the same ease. Even if you don’t continue those practices and do start being honest, it’s going to be tough to get that trust back.
Money Shouldn’t Be Your Only Objective
This goes back to what I talked about with making mistakes. You can’t just be a perfect, money-making machine. You’ve got to be approachable. If you’re only focused on sales, then anyone who isn’t giving you money may feel like they’re not worth your time.
No one is going to trust a company that only cares about money.
This is another great way to implement your core values and strive harder for them. They can be a foundation for your non-financial goals.
Before You Go, Consider This
If you’re a small company, a new company, or both, you don’t have a large body of work to show the public. When this is the case, you only have your persona to sell your business. Transparency is a great way to establish something strong that people will like and trust.