How to be transparent and why transparency truly matters

Good communication is the foundation of all good relationships. While the regurgitated relationship advice may seem obvious and redundant, it looks like businesses are just beginning to catch on. Transparency is a growing priority for people. In 2013, employee feedback company Tiny Pulse surveyed over 300 companies around the world. From 40,000 anonymous responses, transparency was deemed to be the #1 factor contributing to employee happiness.

Fast forward nearly 9 years. We’re starting to see how companies are using transparency as a tool for interacting with customers. 75% of customers will spend more to buy from an organization that treats them well, according to a 2021 customer experience trend report.

Consequently, that begs the question — what’s it mean to treat a customer well?

It means maintaining excellent customer service; providing customer support, resolving issues quickly, and most importantly, being transparently communicative. Without further delay, let’s get transparent about why transparency matters.

Transparency builds trust

Transparency: image of two businesspersons shaking hands
Image: Envato

Trust is the name of the game, isn’t it?

Without trust, there is no business. No worthwhile brand. There would be no people behind the face of a company. It’d be just another money-hungry product of capitalism, a customer might say. 

That’s more of a dystopian view, but considering all the references to a corporate-ruled reality in video games, fantasy and science fiction — such as Cyberpunk 2077 — it’s easy to see that there’s a basis of frustration when dealing with businesses. 

But there’s one hero that can save us from scenarios where customers lose all trust in businesses, and it’s transparency.

Transparency connects the people behind the business and the people that make up the customer base. When customers see that there are real people behind the business, and not something alien, it can earn trust.

But for a person to trust a business, it must prove that its practices are trustworthy. If businesses show what’s behind the scenes, whether it’s a product roadmap, something being delayed, or where they source materials, they’re transparent. Businesses like that are elevated from just another business. They become reputable.

Transparency holds businesses accountable

Some businesses are afraid to adopt transparency because they’d then be criticized for their practices. But if a business’ practices are unethical, they shouldn’t be running a business. On the other hand, if the practices could simply use improvement, this is an asset for the business.

Improving your business based on customer feedback makes customers feel valued and enables them to trust you. Opening up to transparency and accountability facilitates that. 

In other words, being held accountable isn’t a bad thing! For a business, it can create long-lasting partnerships with customers and ensure that it’s providing an excellent service. That’s a win-win.

Transparency in action

Transparency: image of scrabble squares

Let’s take a look at Oxio, an internet service provider (ISP). Oxio’s angle is simplicity. It provides internet at the best price available with no package deals for TV service or promotions. 

Right next to its name on the homepage is a vibrant orange button labeled transparency. Scrolling down on the transparency page, you’ll find their monthly cost breakdown. Here it lists the price for the network, logistics, hardware, marketing, payroll, and profit, totaling to the final price of the internet service. 

Customers know exactly where their money is going. In our opinion, that beats haggling on the phone with ISPs for a price for which you’re not sure of its allocation.

But wait, there’s more! Oxio further explains why prices have changed in Canada since August 2nd. It briefly describes a 2019 court ruling. This made Canadian internet plans more affordable. Another court reversed the ruling in 2021.

Oxio explains it only profits after 2 years, and shows how much profit they make after 3 & 5 years of providing service. It also explains that governing bodies and industry players determine network costs.

Oxio says all this to explain there’s an unavoidable cost not determined by them for its internet plans. It provides a reason for the increase in price. If you were a customer of Oxio, how would you feel about hearing this?

Disappointed that the price is changing, sure. But you’re more likely to accept and understand Oxio’s explanation. Plus, it’s pretty radical that Oxio is willing to share its cost breakdowns, its profits, reasons for price increases and industry insights. Well done, Oxio.

Final thoughts

By now we can see how transparency can deeply benefit a business. At the end of the day, being communicative and connecting with your customers builds trust. It improves your customer service. It shows that you care about them.

What’s interesting is that we’re seeing a shift in businesses. They’re beginning to realize the power of transparency. Just take a look at 5 brands that used transparency in marketing and won. Perhaps that can inspire your next act in transparency!

We know it can be scary sharing the ins-and-outs of your business, but if done earnestly and properly, customers will appreciate it. Best of luck!


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