How does a business build trust between its employees and its customers to spur growth? One secret is developing a culture of transparency.
As a business owner seeking to improve trust, you normally focus on how you brand yourself and how you conduct your operations. Are you hitting all key aspects that an employee desires in a positive work environment — such as competitive salaries, clear work goals, a dynamic team environment and motivated managers? When looking at the issue from a customer dynamic, evaluate whether you are providing courteous and professional customer service, meeting established deadlines, and offering quality products and services.
Yet the one feature that you cannot neglect is transparency.
Transparency From a Customer Perspective
Transparency has become more than just a buzzword for customers. It has become a vital element on how they do business with companies. Customers know all too well how one hiccup from your end of operations could significantly impact how pleased they are with your product or service. You can establish stronger customer/business relationships with greater transparency. Here are some ways to do this:
- Be honest about operations
While it’s fine to tout the best aspects of your business to gain clients, exaggerating your work capacity will only be disastrous in the end — as you will end up missing deadlines or shortchanging the customer in products or services. Never promise more than you can actually offer to them.
- Have open communication
Always be responsive to communication — whether through email, phone or social media. Have one person as the point of contact for customers, so they know who to get in touch with immediately. Also, address all customer concerns concisely and accurately. Open communication with clients works for every type of industry. Giving customers the information they need in a timely fashion—such as using GPS vehicle tracking to offer accurate arrival data of a shipment or technician—helps build trust and loyalty.
- Inform customers about mistakes
Whether you billed them wrong or will be late for a delivery, let the customer know immediately instead of hoping the customer doesn’t notice the mistake. Informing customers of problems and following established protocols to right the issues shows you are accountable and responsible to all mistakes.
Transparency From an Employee Perspective
Employees should never be left in the cold when you are seeking to make your operations more transparent. Internal business transparency helps to create a stable and productive work environment when employees know what is expected from them. It also allows employees to be more engaged and speak up about ideas that could be beneficial to the company’s goals. Three ideas to consider:
Three ways to build business transparency with employees include:
- Create core values and reachable goals
Employees who don’t fully understand company goals or core values will struggle to reach milestones. Let employees know what you expect from them and how they should conduct themselves with other employees and clients. Also, create productive, meaningful and attainable goals.
- Have open-door policies
Employees should feel comfortable enough to come to you or higher management when they are experiencing an issue or concern. You can make your business more transparent by having an open-door policy so you instantly know about problems that could impact operations and cause dissatisfied customers. Encourage employees to speak up during meetings without having them fear that they will face negative backlash.
- Promote open communication between departments
Sometimes, information won’t reach the right employee or department at the necessary time to prevent mistakes or issues. Promote open communication not only between managers and employees but also between employees in different departments for a more unified work environment.
With a business that is more transparent, you have a greater ability to see the strengths and weaknesses in your operations. Transparency not only creates more satisfied customers, but employees will enjoy working for your business as well. By using the above methods, you can have better control over processes, while increasing your business’s growth.
Robert J. Hall is President of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies. Robert has over 13 years of experience in the vehicle tracking industry and graduated from Old Dominion University with a Degree in Electrical Engineering. Five short years after graduation Robert created the Track Your Truck business. Through this he has gained insight about the needs of businesses in a variety of industries.