• Emily Malone

How to become more transparent with customers, partners and employees

These days people need to know — and share — absolutely everything. Whether it’s their product reviews, political opinions, or even a filtered photo of the healthy brekkie they had before their #morningrun, there’s countless online platforms to share and discover new stuff. But now this expectation of transparency has shifted from personal interactions to business. Transparency has become vital for businesses to gain the trust and loyalties of today’s increasingly informed and skeptical generations.

According to the Harvard Business Review, it’s been recorded that there’s a 17 percent increase in customer satisfaction and 13 percent faster service when diners and cooks can see each other. That’s why a lot of restaurants like Wagamamas prefer to have an open kitchen.

But this doesn’t just apply to customers. Employees are also happier in the workplace when different levels of management are more transparent with them. I mean, no one really wants to work with a company if they feel important information is being kept from them. People like to know about every aspect of what affects their lives. Besides, as in all healthy relationships, transparency is key. So why should your working relationships with customers, partners or employees be any different?

Here’s some things you can do to achieve this:

Establish accessible communication

Have the humility to listen to how others perceive your company’s services or offerings and how that work impacts them. Get to know the people who are most important to your business’ progress. Start conversations, share stories, and ask a lot of questions. You might find out some hard truths, but you’ll also find better ways to create longer lasting business relationships. A Salesforce Community is a great platform to do this.

Show company culture

Let your enthusiasm and brand personality shine through in your social presence by sharing company culture. Customers will feel they know your team, and might even be able to relate to you. Not only can this add some entertainment to your company, it also promotes likeability and shows you’re real-life human beans. As for employees, it shines a spotlight on them as people, showing you’re proud of them and that you appreciate what they add to your business.

Focus on alignment and collaboration

Aligning and collaborating with your teams and partners can be a challenge if you don’t have the right mediums of communication and tools at hand. It’s wise to research into and invest in whatever tools you can to make sure everyone can easily see what’s happening in your business, quickly ask and answer questions, and just generally help each other out. Here’s some more in-depth tips on aligning your teams.

Be bold and clear

Don’t be afraid to get real. If people come to trust and be loyal to your company through transparency, they’ll likely be far more forgiving when you mess up (which, let’s be honest, will happen at some point). The best way to do this is to be bold and clear with your sales and marketing efforts.

Strengthen internal communications

Don’t leave people guessing in the dark. Use newsletters; employee forums; whatever you can to keep your teams informed of any changes to the business or any new updates on projects, services or products. The more you inform, the more confident they are in their knowledge. And confident, informed employees make better business decisions.

Don’t fake it

If you’re not sure about something, say so. We’re only human after all. And it doesn’t have to always result in disappointment! If you have good internal communications in place and a customer asks a question, you can say “I don’t know, but I know someone who does” and find the answer for them quickly. Transparent, collaborative teams allow customer service agents to be more transparent, so they’re not pretending they know everything and telling fibs.

Be timely and responsive

We’re increasingly impatient. So much so that we’d rather try and sort out issues ourselves than trust someone in customer service to help. But what if you could make sure cases are handled in the fastest, most efficient way possible? By using a Salesforce Community where customers can share and research their problems, or a CRM which assigns and alerts the right people for the case, you can increase the pace of which cases get handled, increasing trustworthiness and transparency.

By becoming more vulnerable and opening up what they’d usually hide from customers, partners or employees, companies are able to avoid mistrust and develop deeper relationships that last.