Be transparent, show transparency for trustworthiness
Transparency is a very important word in connection with trust. I need trust in every situation in which I don't have all the information about my counterpart - in business just as much as in my private life. The more transparent a company or a person is, the easier it is for me to build trust.
Examples of transparent trust building blocks
First of all, there is a whole set of trust building blocks that I can show more credibly with transparency.
To be able to assess processes, for example, it helps to have a direct insight into the company. This can be as simple as a webcam that shows me how things look there. Ideally, this is supplemented with the people involved in the individual process steps. If I can see in advance who is responsible for which process step, it creates trust. Even with such simple things as the bakery or restaurant around the corner, everyone would find a look into the bakery or kitchen highly interesting. Modern restaurants therefore occasionally have glass windows that allow just that. Unfortunately, far too rarely.
The same applies to the team. It's not only exciting, but also builds trust if I can already find out more about my future contacts on the website. How long has he or she been in the industry? Why does he or she do exactly that? What content does he or she like to deal with the most?
Or integrity, which is only comprehensible with transparent behavior. Values or the purpose on a corporate website are virtually worthless in themselves. Integrity only comes into being with comprehensible behavior. The more I can see of it directly, the more credible it is.
Why many companies forgo transparency
Many companies are afraid of too much transparency. They think that weaknesses will then also become more visible. This is true, of course. If you clearly state that you only have 5 people available for a certain service, you can't pretend that you can put 20 people on the project in a hurry. Or the view in the kitchen, to stay with this example. Surely many restaurant chefs think that what they would see there would look too chaotic for the customers. What a mistake.
My own experience has been that clear communication of one's own capabilities works best. In the medium term, the customer recognizes what the company is actually capable of anyway. At the latest, trust is over if too much has been promised beforehand. And don't we all like to watch cooking shows or series set in restaurant kitchens? (Well, I do.) I am absolutely convinced that the lack of transparency in these areas is a huge opportunity for many companies, especially in all professions where hands-on work is involved.
This can also be applied to search engine optimization. As SEO Agency we are repeatedly confronted with the fact that companies want to rank for keywords that only conditionally fit the core of the company. This would also be a gross mistake, as users quickly realize what the company is actually capable of after the click at the latest.
Transparency can be more than just communicating individual building blocks of trust. Transparency can become a trademark and thus part of the company's aura.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of implementing the website relaunch for Andechser Dairy with my online marketing agency. The Andechser Natur brand stands for organic foods, such as milk and yogurt (at Andechser without h). I quickly noticed that the company doesn't just do this, but stands behind it with heart and soul. That's why I thought it was such a great idea to include a feature on the website where any shopper can find out which farms the milk for that product came from by looking at the best-before date on the package (current version here). The individual milk trucks drive around a few farms. This supply then produces a batch of yogurt, for example. On the website I see the farms including a description of the farm, the farmer’s family and a photo. How great is that! And how incredibly confidence-building.
Methods for showing transparency
It is worthwhile for many companies to think about how transparency can be better lived and demonstrated.
A first step can be a regular newsletter that reports on news from the company. This involves brainstorming. What are customers really interested in? This is certainly not just the hooray news, but just a transparent look behind the scenes.
Quarterly and annual reports would also have the potential to do this - in addition to the content that has to be communicated anyway due to legal requirements. An honest insight into the company would be much more exciting than the sober work that is often produced these days.
I think login areas are incredibly effective in this context. Here, existing customers can be continuously shown where their project stands or what is currently happening with their delivery. After all, we all love order tracking on Amazon or the newer delivery services. Here I can see where my food is currently on its way to me and how long it will take. These functions have not been around long, but they are a great example of transparency.
Transparency is important to exude trustworthiness with website content. It's worthwhile for any company to think about where and how to show transparency. The possibilities are huge. The potential to set yourself apart from your competitors and score points with customers is enormous.