We live in a world where data breaches are happening at an extreme rate, fake news is posted everywhere, and misinformation is commonplace. That may sound a little alarmist, but it’s true. The digital age has brought many thousands of people online, making the human race more connected than at any time in our history. There are 7.7 people inhabiting planet Earth, and 3.5 billion of us are online! The internet has undoubtedly brought us many great things and transformed the way we live for the better. We now have access to a huge wealth of information with a few taps of the fingers. Fancy websites, high tech software, and a massive reach are no longer just for the giant organizations with huge cash flow – it’s for everyone.
Machine learning and AI have propelled us into a new era of technology. Not only are we getting more and more powerful programs, but our access to them is increasing also. The internet is largely responsible for this. The wealth of information online and growing rates of internet access has allowed talented people all over the globe to contribute to the collective human knowledge. These people may have previously been cut off from this world due to a lack of education and other barriers. Advanced technology and a higher population of skilled people go hand-in-hand and lead to where we are today. So, where are we today? In a world where advanced software is accessible, cheap, and for businesses all sizes.
However, with all the great things the internet has given us, there’s also some bad. When everyone has easy access to creating and sharing information, the downside is that there’s a lot of incorrect information out there. This leads people to have a general mistrust of the content they read online. This mistrust also gets applied to companies, where people are reluctant to trust companies who lack transparency. If a company isn’t transparent and clear about their practices and goals, then people worry that they are hiding something. This hidden something could be poor business practices, issues with products, and more.
Customer expectations of transparency are growing. It’s also true that being clearer and more transparent will have a direct effect on your sales. In fact, one study found that 85% of Americans are more likely to stick by a business in a brand crisis if the company has a history of being transparent. We’re now at a point where clarity isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have!
With this in mind, let’s take a look at why customers expect clarity and transparency and how you can improve these in your business.
Why Customers Expect Clarity
Trust in Your Business
Consumers will block off companies that don’t meet their standards of clarity and transparency. This comes down to trust. Businesses will poor transparency and unclear goals and practices are seen as untrustworthy. As a business, it should be a top priority to win the trust of your customers. Remember, without your customers, your business wouldn’t exist.
Happy customers are your best marketing strategy and customers are happier with businesses they can trust. Happy customers will tell their friends and family, they’ll write reviews for you online, and follow you on social media. All of this contributes to your brand identity. If you can keep these customers, and keep them happy, you’ll attract more customers. However, it’s also true that unhappy customers tell people about their experience too. Around 13% of unhappy customers tell more than 20 people. That’s 20 more people in the world now turned away from your business due to trust. They trust their friends and family, and their loved one doesn’t trust you.
However, you can use an unhappy customer as an opportunity to build trust. How you treat unhappy customers can change everything, and the key to this change is clarity and transparency. You need to engage with your unhappy customers and ask them why they are unhappy. Only 1 in 28 unhappy customers will complain directly to you. This means you have potentially hundreds of unhappy customers walking the streets and you’re completely unaware of it. It’s essential to utilize your customer service team to ask important questions about customer satisfaction and customer experience.
Trust runs beyond just your customers, it also extends to your potential investors. If your business has a culture of hiding things away or restricting access to information, or communication, this will make your business appear untrustworthy.
Consumers are now savvier than ever and finding an alternative company to do business with can be done with ease. There’s an immense amount of pressure to have high customer retention rates, but it’s well worth the effort you cut in. Just increasing your customer retention rates by 7% can increase your profits by 30% to 92%. With that in mind, it’s plain to see why building up customer loyalty is a must. One way that you build up customer loyalty is with strong brand integrity. You do this by providing a consistent experience, keeping an open line of communication with your customers, and keeping them up to date with what’s happening in your business.
Clarity in business extends beyond the realm of general transparent practices and into how clearly you represent your products and services. Are all relevant details about your products and services listed on your website in an easy to read manner? Do your customers know exactly what they’re getting from you? Does your customer service team know the products well enough to answer any question thrown at them? These are all questions you should be asking about your business.
There are so many options available and consumers and the latest research suggests that modern consumers favor convenience. This means that if your website is unclear, clunky to use, and there’s a lack of communication channels open to the buyer, they will take their money elsewhere.
The Importance of Clarity Between Customers and Employees
Your customer service team knows your customers better than anyone else in the business. Your customer service agents are communicating with customers all day. They get to hear the issues customers have with your products, what products they like, which one they don’t like, and which parts of your business are confusing to them.
All businesses will experience sales that fall through, products that flop, team members that don’t perform their role well, and so on. But just because these scenarios may be occasionally inevitable, doesn’t mean you should sit back and let them happen. Too many business managers chalk these scenarios down to outside circumstances, believing nothing can be done, but this is false. Lack of clarity is often the issue.
Employees must have a clear understanding of the business and be able to communicate with clarity to their customers. There are a couple of ways to foster this environment of clarity:
- Use clear and concise communications with employees. Customer service staff don’t have time to read through pages and pages of product information, instead, you should bullet point everything they need to know.
- Build simplicity into your business. Use the latest technology to offer a more straightforward experience to your employees. Employees will struggle to maintain a clear mindset if their working environment isn’t clear. If the tools and software they use are all siloed and customer data is difficult to ascertain, they will struggle. An omnichannel approach to customer service is a huge benefit here. Having all of your agents working from one all-inclusive platform leads to a deeper and clearer understanding of the customers and the business. This will then have a positive effect on the customer experience.
Benefits of Making Clarity for Customer Service Agents and Customers a Top Priority
Increase Customer Retention
If a customer has bought from you once before, then you’ve already done the hard part. With shopping cart abandonment rates across all industries being over 70%, this part is no easy feat. If a customer buys from you twice then you can feel confident that their first experience met their expectations. However, you should never be too confident when it comes to the lifeblood of your business; customers and the money they part with. Customers care about the three Cs, convenience, clarity, and consistency. If a customer starts to feel confused about your business and what you are offering, they’ll jump ship. The same is true if they find it hard to buy from your business. If they had a smooth process of buying one product, the same should be true for all other purchases.
Increase Customer Acquisition
As we’ve just discussed, converting a potential customer to a fully-fledged customer is the hard part. This is where setting yourself apart from the crowd is important. You need to prove your worth to your customers through your business practices. Here are some quick tips:
- Be radically transparent and to the point. Tell your customers exactly what they’re getting. You can include a simple bullet point list of specifications for your product first and then add a long sales pitch underneath. Time is a valuable commodity in the modern world and not every customer has the time to dissect what you offer, so don’t make them.
- Allow as much two-way dialogue with customers as possible. It’s no longer acceptable to just offer a phone number as the only means of communication. Customers now expect to be able to communicate with companies on their own terms. Younger consumers overwhelmingly prefer to use Live Chat services, some people will prefer to call, others email, and others are happy talking to a chatbot. Whatever the preference, make sure you have it covered. The same goes for the times of day your business is open for this communication. Just operating between the traditional working hours is no longer acceptable either – customers want 24/7 access, or as close to this as they can get.
Increase in Sales
This one is simple. An increase in customer acquisition and customer retention leads to more sales and higher profits for your company.
3 Steps to Create and Maintain Customer Clarity
1. No Hidden Costs or Surprises
Clarity is all about ensuring your customer understands the end to end process of dealing with your company. There should be no surprises or hidden costs that turn them away or leave them feeling cheated later down the line. The leading reason for shopping cart abandonment is extra costs that are too high with 55% of consumers saying this is why they abandoned their shopping cart. 21% of the consumer also said the reason they abandoned their shopping cart was that they couldn’t see the total cost, and 17% said it was because they didn’t trust the website.
2. Share News and Updates With Customers and Ask for Feedback
Of course, you shouldn’t spam your customers with hundreds of emails, but well-timed and engaging communication is a must. If you’re making changes in your business, let your customers know. If you’ve got a new product coming out, let them know. When you’ve made changes, ask your customers for feedback on their customer experience. If you don’t ask how your customers feel, you’ll never know how to improve.
3. Be Available
If a customer or potential customer has questions about your business, you should be available to answer them, and answer quickly. Even businesses with the best of intentions will unintentionally create confusing communications, but it’s how you respond to issues that arise that’s important. A small mishap can grow into a big problem if you don’t respond quickly, so responding quickly is a must.
Implementing practices around clarity and transparency will have a positive effect on your profit. Trust in the information we receive is at an all-time low so consumers value honesty, integrity, transparency, and clarity more than ever before. Therefore, you should make clarity a top priority for your business. Set up a culture of clarity within your business through the technology you use, how you treat and train your employees, and how you communicate with customers.