Lately, there’s a huge focus on creating a strong, positive customer experience. After all, the customer is king.
But in the digital world, where reviewing a business takes a few clicks, people are becoming savvier about the overall experience they enjoy. Now more than ever, there’s a desire to engage with businesses that understand customers and have similar values.
In a nutshell, customers simply want to know more about the companies that they buy from.
For example, a major area for concern has become the collection, storage, and use of personal data. If a customer hands their details over to your agency, they want to know exactly what you’ll do with them. In fact, a McKinsey survey shows that almost three-quarters of customers will walk away from a company if their personal information gets shared without permission.The key word in this entire conversation is transparency. Your agency needs to be transparent about how it operates and have a culture of open communication both internally and externally.
What Does It Mean To Be Transparent In Business?
Being transparent doesn’t mean you have to show every inch of your business to the outside world. You don’t need to give away trade secrets about how you build and run agency campaigns.
You certainly don’t need to let every potential client into your agency and show them how everything works.
It’s more about having a culture of being open.
Clients want to know that you take their concerns seriously and that you have procedures in place for dealing with disputes and queries. They want to know that the techniques your agency uses are all above board and will only work to enhance their brand.Transparency builds trust and can lead to long-term relationships with clients that are fruitful for them and your agency.
How To Be Transparent With Your Clients
There are several ways that you can be transparent with your clients and build a reputation for being trustworthy.
When going through this list, think about what is likely to be most important to your clients and start building them into your operations in that priority order.
- Keep The Communication Flowing
Trust is built through communication.
Your customers need to know that they can get hold of you at any stage and that you’ll always be open to communicating with them. Your conversations should never be one-sided either.
With each client that you sign on at your agency, spend a bit of time focusing on their communication levels.
If they need regular, in-depth updates about their campaign, then be sure to adjust your level of contact accordingly. If they’re happy with less frequent updates, don’t bombard them with information.
- Be Honest About Mistakes
Mistakes are unavoidable. But the worst thing you can do in business is to try to cover them up and pretend they never happened.
Even if you fix the mistake immediately, it’s likely that the information will come out at some point. When this happens, the trust between your agency and your client may get irreparably damaged.
When a mistake is identified, assess whether you can fix it without input from the client, or if you need their approval on how you can rectify the error.
If you can make the fix, do it and then inform your customer about what happened. If you need approval, immediately get in touch with the client and let them know about the error and the fixes you suggest.
This honesty and proactiveness will go a long way towards maintaining a good relationship.
- Let Clients Know About Changes
Changes in business are another inevitability.
Agency staff will leave and new employees will get hired. New technology for creating or tracking campaigns will get released. Prices will go up.
When transparency is your goal for your business, it’s important to be open about these changes with your customers. Try to give them as much warning as possible that a change is going to happen so that they can adjust to the news before the events happen.
- Maintain Accurate Billing
Transparency in billing is incredibly important for maintaining trust with clients.
Your agency needs to keep accurate records of all your financials. This includes what your rates are for, how you track invoices and payments, and how you keep a record of client-related campaign expenses.
The quotes and invoices you send to your clients are of utmost importance. You need to explain to your customer what they’re getting charged for and why, as well as when invoices will be sent and when payment is due.
If you’re not sure how to write a quote or create a clear and concise invoice, there are plenty of easy ways to learn online.
A vague quote and invoice will immediately create dissatisfaction and a feeling of mistrust.
- Be Open With Your Expertise And Knowledge
No, we’re not saying that you must tell your customers how you do what you do so they can do it themselves. However, being secretive about how your agency will achieve results for a client is a surefire way to create tension.
Your customers have hired you as the experts. They know that you have more knowledge than them about marketing, driving traffic to their site, or running a successful campaign.
The best way to be transparent here is to give them enough information so that they can understand where their results are coming from. They can also make better decisions about how they want to grow their relationship with your agency.
Building A Better Agency
Transparency with your customers about how your agency operates and what they can expect from you is the best way to build a long-lasting relationship. You’ll also find that these techniques will help to improve the way your agency operates because there will be transparency within as well as without. Your employees will know more about operations and better understand their roles within the agency.
When you create an open operation, you’ll find that the right people are drawn to working with—and for— your agency. There’s no more room to hide in today’s digitally driven world.
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