When it comes to your business, sticky situations happen. You may miss deadlines, struggle to connect with clients as promised, or find yourself struggling with unexpected problems. By providing transparency in your interactions long before you run into problems, however, you can create a more effective style of interacting with your clients that can help build your business and increase trust between you and your clients.
The importance of transparency
Clients and customers expect transparency from the businesses they choose to work with. They want to build trust, but they’re not willing to extend it lightly. Your transparency, therefore, can transform your client interactions. Transparency can reduce the friction caused when an unexpected problem arises. Often, you think that your reasons are obvious–but that’s because you live inside your own head and can clearly see the thought process that went into making a decision. Others, on the other hand, may struggle to see your reasoning–and they may not agree with a decision that they perceive as being made for the wrong reasons.
Build relationship. When you are transparent, you build relationships within your business. Instead of allowing customers to come to their own conclusions, you open up to conversation and discussion–and invite customers into the inner workings of their decisions, which in turn builds better customer understanding.
Increase trust. When customers understand why you’ve made the decisions you have, they’re more likely to trust your business, whether that means bringing you their needs in your industry or sharing you with a friend.
Make up for mistakes. Let’s face it: mistakes happen. You might accidentally under perform, miss a deadline, or forget to take care of a specific responsibility, and that can be catastrophic for your relationship with your customers. When you already built transparency into your business process, your customers are more likely to react in a forgiving manner.
How do you build transparency?
If you’re ready to start building transparency in your business, make sure you’re taking advantage of these key practices.
Start sharing information early. Are you about to make a big decision for your business? Make sure that you update customers before it happens. Let them know that you’re working up to a big decision, and share the reasoning that’s gone into the process.
Communicate with customers about their orders and potential concerns. A supplier wasn’t able to deliver your order in time, which means customer orders will be delayed. Production has slowed in a specific area due to factors beyond your control, which has left you struggling to meet customer demands. When you communicate with customers, rather than dropping information on them at the last minute, you prepare them for those potential challenges.
Avoid manipulation. Many common strategies, especially in management, encourage manipulating employees and customers in order to achieve the desired outcome. You might, for example, attempt to over-manage a customer you feel will have a negative outcome, or attempt to manipulate an employee into volunteering for extra hours rather than asking them outright. By being transparent, on the other hand, you let both employees and customers know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how the outcome will impact both you and them.
Transparency has become more important than ever for today’s businesses–and making the switch to transparency could be critical for your business’s success. By working to become more transparent, you will discover that it’s easier to manage customer expectations and the expectations of your employees to create a more positive business environment, greater degrees of trust, and better understanding. Transparency is key.