As consumers get more intelligent and savvy about where they spend their money, businesses must respond with transparency. Employees also want in on this and benefit from knowing what their managers and employers have in the works.
Transparency builds trust, opens the lines of communication, and has the potential to help a business build a better reputation and relationship with both workers and consumers. There are several important ways transparency could impact your business.
The foundational and most crucial element of true transparency is open and honest communication. This must extend to and between employers, employees, consumers, investors, and any other stakeholders involved.
Building open communication between all parties looks different depending on the business, but some options include:
- A regular newsletter or email to customers that updates them on changes to products or services
- Regular meetings for employees and employers to discuss the company vision and plans for the future
- A website that shares information about the sourcing of products and materials
- Robust social media accounts with frequent and regular consumer engagement and interactions
- Free webinars to explain processes to consumers, employees, and investors
- One-on-one meetings between managers and workers to facilitate discussions
Supply Chain Awareness
More than ever, consumers want to know where products come from and how they’re made. Consumers and employees also have a vested interest in products that are sustainable, ethical, and responsible. They want all the information so they can make better choices when it comes to spending or earning their money.
Businesses also benefit from greater transparency with their supply chain. Openness between the company and suppliers, and vendors is good for both sides. It builds trust and ensures expectations are met. Either one may want to stop working with the other if they use dishonest practices or don’t communicate openly.
Explanation for Pricing
For consumers, pricing is a huge factor. With online shopping and reviews, it’s much easier for people to shop around and find the best product for the best price. This means that businesses must be transparent about how they price items.
Pricing transparency builds trust with consumers. Don’t assume that all potential customers will run from a high price. In reality, what they want to know is why. If the price is justified—because of quality materials or sustainable practices—the right customers will be happy to pay it.
Avoid practices that mask prices and reasons for pricing. Don’t use complicated language. Just be honest and make it easy to find prices. Even if they ultimately find it, the practice seems sneaky and like you have something to hide. If you’re clear about it and can back up the pricing, consumers will trust your company and be more likely to make a purchase.
Reputation is everything in business. Without a good reputation, a company will soon fall off the map. No one wants to do business with someone who is known for lying or creating shoddy products.
Transparency builds reputation, especially in the face of a damaging situation. For example, if you have a product that fails, how you handle it determines the ultimate outcome. This can be a very damaging event, but you can turn it around if you remain transparent and communicate with consumers. Be open about what went wrong and what you’re doing to fix it to build a stronger reputation.
Damage to your reputation can be tough to fix, even by being honest and open. Let a professional company remove harmful internet content from Google and take other steps to recoup losses and rebuild your reputation. This can set you up for a successful brand image in the future.
A study of consumer attitudes found that 94 percent reward transparent businesses with loyalty. This is because transparency builds trust. Deceitful practices or opacity do nothing to build trust, and in fact, lead consumers to mistrust and reject a business.
The transparency movement in business is all about this positive relationship. Establish trust with consumers and with employees, and they’ll stick with you, even through tough times. Trust means that you care about them, and that has value for both workers and customers.
Balance Transparency with Privacy
The benefits of greater transparency are major, but there can be some downsides. When employees feel too “watched,” they may feel too vulnerable to experiment or be creative. It’s also possible to be too transparent with customers by giving away all your secrets. Find the balance with the proper boundaries and you get the best of both worlds.