Transparency Is Easy to Say but Hard to Deliver
by CallidusCloud CX Guest Blogger, Jeannie Walters
Trust is a huge part of any relationship, and the relationship between customer and brand is no different. Brands have to trust customers not exploit their policies. Customers have to trust brands will be transparent enough not to fine-print and bury the policies that make it hard to do business with them.
As Samantha Lang recently pointed out, transparency is one of the 5 qualities you need to earn customer trust. But there are certain parts of the customer experience that are often overlooked as places where transparency matters.
What if you don’t know how to be transparent?
Consider these examples.
If the digital experience for your customers is slightly different between the desktop experience and the mobile one, how can you provide more transparency? There are often features or tools missing or simply not working the same way in these two locations.
Customers expect a seamless experience, so not finding your favorite feature on an app is frustrating!
The way brands handle this varies between ignoring the difference completely or *maybe* mentioning it on the support page, which is inconveniently buried several clicks into the site.
The most transparent and customer-focused brands consider these moments to inform the customer. Maybe a link on the mobile app with “looking for your account statement? Find that on our site here” is all it takes.
There are lots of reasons to have some differing functionality between a tiny mobile device and the main site of a brand. That’s fine, but don’t leave your customers in the dark.
What are you hiding internally?
I recently returned some clothes ordered online. Shipping them back was very expensive (much to my surprise) and when I located a store not-too-far-but-not-that-close-either, I brought them there in a special trip.
The manager explained it would take a while…because they have two different numbering systems to identify the pieces. This means that while I had all the packaging, receipts, and items needed ship the items back, the store manager had to look up each item’s code on their internal system to get the in-store identification.
This was such an unnecessary process it took my breath away.
The manager was very kind in asking if I had the time to wait there, and explained how frustrated he had become with the process. He even revealed that customers complain a lot about this time-consuming process, and yet the national directors didn’t understand why it was such a big deal.
This is when transparency is needed INTERNALLY as well as when it’s customer-facing. The company needs to understand the online ordering and in-store returning process. The leaders need to listen to their frontline store managers and customer feedback. Instead, there are so many rifts inside the organization that the customer (me!) pays for it in time and frustration.
Transparency is not just for customers. It’s for leaders, too.
Why are you hiding?
As customers have more access to brands via online chat, social media, texts, forums, and more, it’s not atypical for a brand to limit how customers can reach them. Organizing one queue of customers in a call center is a lot easier than managing them wherever they decide to communicate.
But hiding from customers is not exactly ideal.
Some brands go so far as to direct a customer to every other point of communication before allowing them to find a phone number or email. Pointing customers to helpful resources is one thing, but forcing them to dig and dig and dig some more for contact information is another.
It’s fine to say, ‘try this first,’ but it’s not fine to provide little direction beyond that.
Customer know when you’re not being transparent.
They know when you’re hiding something, even when you don’t! Are there places in your customer’s journey that require a little more sunlight and transparency? Customers will appreciate it, and so will those who are serving them!