More and more companies are beginning to come around to the idea of transparency. Transparency, in fact, is becoming an industry standard for lots of reasons, namely because it results in happy customers and happy shareholders. Transparency is all about being accountable, honest and open with everyone about the good (and the bad) things that happen in your business. As owners themselves are brought more and more into marketing campaigns and general company policies, it’s important to figure out how you can be transparent, too.
Don’t Try and Fake Transparency
One of the worst things you can do when it comes to being transparent is trying to fake being transparent. In fact, that kind of defeats the entire purpose of transparency. Talk about the things you CAN do well, even if they are things you are not sure are important. Stick to what you know. If you are just learning something new, then let everyone know that. Whatever your area of expertise is, do your best to stay in that realm. It will benefit everyone in the long run, especially you – you’re less likely to put your foot in your mouth.
It’s Okay to Accept Other Views
Even when you are an expert in your field, there are people who can contribute to your knowledge, even if they aren’t at the level you’re at (and especially if they’re above you). The point of transparency is being responsible about the information you share, and this is true when it comes to your opinion. A well-thought out stance on something is great, but when it’s something controversial, don’t expect your opinion to reign supreme. It’s okay to accept other opinions and views, even if you’re still planning on sticking by yours. For example, Ben and Jerry’s recently changed the name of their Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby to celebrate the freedom to marry the same sex. While many supported them, some did not, and that’s okay – the company was transparent about the way they felt about same sex marriage, and the response they got was mixed, as expected.
Whether you were hacked and information was stolen or you’re just replying to a customer question, it’s important that you’re responding to situations and people in a timely manner. In fact, this is more important than ever, especially since customers are expecting more and more out of the companies they patronize. You should be checking your social media (or have someone else checking your social media) at least once a day. Never let a potential customer go wayward because you didn’t check your inbox. This will help with building the “friendly and responsive” feel a transparent company usually has.
With some thoughtful and timely responses, accepting personality and some good old honesty, transparency doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it may be one of the easiest things your company has ever implemented. Once you have these few tips down packed, you’ll have the basic idea of transparency in the bag.