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How Transparency In Business Leads to Customer Growth and Loyalty Every company needs an effective way of speaking about their brand. Transparency will set the stage for an honest and long-lasting relationship with customers.

By Austin Mac Nab

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Customers today are hyper-skeptical of the brands and companies they buy from, and this analysis can make or break a company's profitability. When your customers — whether that be people or other businesses — are placing your company under a microscope, oftentimes they're looking for cues as to how trustworthy and real your brand is. Gone are the days where commercial advertising can sell a company on its own, and because of this, companies must invest time in integrating transparency into every aspect of their presence.

This is becoming even more important in a B2B setting where frequently it's a team of decision-makers that dictate a brand's success. Being transparent adds to a company's brand value in these situations, and a lack thereof can ultimately prove damaging to the brand's reputation.

When operating in a B2B setting, it's vital to have the following integrated into your business model to elevate and instill transparency.

Genuine and personal customer interaction

This begins with the sales team. Trust is a result of transparency, and with this in mind, sales agents must be trained on how to provide genuine responses to potential customer inquiries, concerns and issues.

When a sales staff is highly trained, knows the product or service inside and out and can quickly offer honest responses, customers will feel more trust. According to a study by Edelman, 81% of customers said they need to trust a brand in order to buy from them. It's a full capacity education for your sales team that kicks this off and providing the necessary tools to your sales staff will be an investment that helps create more sales.

Related: Using a CRM to Manage and Support Independent Contractor Sales Agents

Secondly, operating your business in a personal and authentic way can be accomplished with in-person meetings. The pandemic has unfortunately resulted in this being a less-attractive option for many businesses, especially when remote work can cut costs in so many ways. However, if possible and safe to do so, having sales agents on the ground and face-to-face with potential customers provides a more sincere experience as compared to a transaction completed over the phone. Ultimately, a human touch when it comes to sales and customer service will help clients feel more valued. This will make them more likely to continue doing business with you.

Clear and consistent online presence

Building and maintaining a customer base in today's age is no longer dictated by TV commercials and paper advertisements. It resides with a company's online presence and the type of content that's being woven into that virtual space.

Crafting your company's tone with an intention of honesty (and nailing that down across your website and all social channels) will boost your presence and create a sense of consistency and truth among your target audiences.

According to a 2019 study by Lucidpress, consistent presentation by a brand has created a 33% average increase in revenue. A great online presence provides customers the ability to "see for themselves" by offering them the ability to conduct research and learn about your brand without someone talking at them. This is typically a customer's first step in deciding whether they want to use or partner with your company.

Related: 3 Ways to Increase Client Retention Through Transparency

Showcasing your services in an effective, transparent fashion makes these decisions simple. Tactics such as clearly showcasing pricing and promoting positive customer reviews across online platforms will bring in business time and time again — if you don't have a straightforward and understandable presence online, your potential customer base will go to a company that does.

For example, VizyPay outlines every aspect of the service on its website, whereas competitors have an unclear approach to service details. This has proved successful through not only driving growth, but perhaps just as importantly, it has staved off attrition.

Strong company culture

While implementing these methods of honest customer communication and brand presence are important, nothing is more vital than fostering a strong company culture that showcases all employees practicing what you've preached to them. Without doing so, the tactics of employing honesty on the website and in sales will fall through.

In a study by Edelman, it was discovered that 67% of people agree that "a good reputation may get me to try a product, but unless I come to trust the company behind the product, I will soon stop buying it."

Related: 4 Ways to Instill and Promote Transparency in a Workplace

Integrating these qualities into your team and overall company culture is necessary for any transparent brand. Everyone from the janitor to the CEO should live and breathe the company's "why" to further build a culture around transparency. This will then bleed into your online presence and provide a genuine, personal customer interaction — something that customers will truly feel.

People are drawn to companies that showcase their culture through their people and back it up with action. It's a fact that people are gravitating towards honest brands, and those who commit to honesty will see more longstanding success. This requires entrepreneurs to remain open and informative about key points of information, including their business's goals, history, performance and operations. This also means showcasing support for the people and industries that serve you.

Everything communicates — what you say and don't say, what you do and don't do. If you can't follow through on your words with actions, don't say them. Nothing kills credibility faster than not practicing what you preach.

Transparency equals trust, and trust equals customers that come onboard and are retained. Being uncomplicated with your online presence, translucent in the way your company and its staff speak and operate, and truly practicing the methods you showcase online sets the stage for an honest and long-term relationship with your customers time and time again.

Austin Mac Nab

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

CEO, Co-Founder and Executive Leader

Mac Nab is CEO, co-founder and executive leader of VizyPay, a West Des Moines, Iowa-based provider of payment technology solutions. Mac Nab is an expert in the payment processing, bank card and retail industries. He's responsible for overseeing the company’s strategy & day-to-day business operations

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