Open up: Why transparency is crucial to business

business men shaking hands
by: Shannon Givens , March 19, 2019

Now that consumers are privy to instant information through social media, their expectations are higher in terms of the companies they choose to patronize.

These days customers and employees, particularly millennials, want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes before they embrace a given brand. In fact, 94 percent of U.S. customers are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency, according to a study outlined in Forbes — and 56 percent said if they switch brands due to transparency, they’ll probably remain loyal for life.

Depending on the priorities of your customer base, that desire for transparency might require sharing everything from your business goals to your company history to details about your performance and operations, including your efforts at sustainability and the level at which you “give back” to society.

“When millennials make purchasing decisions, they’re considering more than the traditional drivers of taste, price and convenience … (they’re) based on the tenets of self, society and planet,” confirms Kira Karapetian in Forbes. “How is the food I am buying enhancing the quality of life for my family or for myself? What good is the company contributing to the broader community it serves? How are brands adding good to the world in which we live?”

Why is business transparency so important these days? Factors include the following:

Distrust of corporate America. Because Americans increasingly associate CEOs and big business with greed, their distrust of corporations is higher than ever, reports Larry Alton in Entrepreneur, pointing to the 2007-2008 global economic crisis linked with major financial institutions. “Many Americans assume corporate goals are focused only on profits, which can lead to unethical practices, especially if those practices are hidden,” he writes. That means even honest companies now have to work overtime to prove they’re ethical and have an eye toward the greater good.

Instantly available information. Increasingly proprietary business information can be found on the internet on demand, suggesting you can best preserve your company’s good reputation by establishing good practices, then being as open as possible about your practices and goals.

Rating and review sites. Online venues allowing for objective consumer evaluations of each product, service or company have raised the transparency bar. These days, some 88 percent of consumers trust such reviews as much as opinions coming from family or friends. Since you can’t fight the fact that anyone can publicly complain about your company in forums available to millions of people, it only reinforces your integrity if you voluntarily offer that same kind of transparency.

Real-time social media. Given the fact any leaked information about your business could be spread on social media within seconds, it behooves you to be proactive in disseminating as much information as you can on your own. That gives you a semblance of control over what is said and allows you to clear up any misconceptions or untruths.

In short, it’s really no longer possible to keep all your business functions under wraps; consumers are increasingly going to want to know whether you’re worthy of their investment.

“If anything, the demands of transparency will only increase as we become more closely connected,” Alton concludes. “Your business needs to be prepared.”

Talk to Custom Toll Free about how a simple, transparent call marketing plan can work in your favor.


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