4 Tips for Building Your Business on the Tenets of Trust and Transparency
When it comes to building a lasting brand that connects with customers, it could be argued that there’s nothing more important than establishing trust and transparency. But saying you want to build a business on tenets of trust and transparency and actually doing it are two very different things.
4 Tips for Grounding Your Business in Trust
It takes time, effort, and a fair amount of risk to establish a business in trust. It requires you to be transparent, often at the expense of sharing information that may not make financial sense, and proactive. It also requires that you give in order to receive.
In a day and age where a lot of big tech companies have eroded some of the trust consumers have in their brands, Netflix is a good example. To date, Netflix has done a pretty decent job of being open and transparent, while providing a quality service that customers can depend on. In one sense, you could say they’ve built their business on trust from the very start.
“Netflix trusted all customers to mail back their DVDs, occasionally eliminating unreliable customers as a cost of doing business. If Netflix hadn’t extended this original trust, they wouldn’t have nearly as many subscribers,” Caitlin Keating writes for Fortune.com. “Less happily, Netflix’s business suffered last year when it abruptly changed its pricing structure, which many customers viewed as a violation of trust.”
As you can see, trust is a finicky thing. However, this shouldn’t stop you from trying. Here are a few practical ways you can ground your business in trust and transparency:
- Acknowledge Concerns
Customers are always going to have concerns. The businesses that ignore them are the ones that typically don’t fare well in the long run. It’s far better to acknowledge concerns and establish trust.
Junk Car Traders, a nationwide junk car buying service, is a good example of this. The company operates in the junkyard industry, which is littered with businesses that have a poor track record of being honest and transparent with customers. So, instead of just trying to blend in and pretend everything is fine, Junk Car Traders highlights junkyard scams and tells readers how to avoid them.
- Tell the Truth
One of the laziest excuses businesses have for telling lies or hiding information is that people don’t have the capacity to deal with the truth.
But as entrepreneur Chelsea Berler says, “Never assume that certain people can’t handle the truth. Be as honest with your employees and customers as you expect them to be with you. If you get caught in a lie, no one will trust you. You don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression, so don’t count on it.”
- Be Flexible
Berler is also a big advocate for being tolerant of mistakes and being a flexible judge. The idea is that you build trust by having patience with others.
“Meet the other person in the middle. Be considerate of events and negative experiences that may have affected one’s ability to trust,” Berler advises. “Make exceptions to the rules when common sense dictates. Consider unusual alternatives for problems that can’t be resolved by typical methods.”
- Optimize Your Website
Your digital interactions with customers are just as important as your face-to-face ones. One of the ways you can build trust online is by optimizing your website so that it’s open and transparent.
As much as possible, try to incorporate trust signals – such as SSL certificates, guarantees, and information on practical steps you’re taking towards reducing risk for customers. Social proof, in the form of testimonials and reviews, is also helpful.
Adding it All Up
If you’re going to commit to building your business on a foundation of trust and transparency, you have to be all-in. It’s impossible to take a half-hearted approach. The tips outlined in this article give you a place to start – but it’s up to you to follow through.