Be Transparent

A lot of times when people talk about improving CX they speak in terms of large, sometimes ambiguous goals. Things like listen to customers, improve employee engagement, or understand your customers better.

Over the holiday season I had a chance to talk with a friend who’s experiences with companies left a little to be desired. Based on these experiences, I’ll recommend one very specific action you can take to improve your CX without having to go to the expense that’s usually associated with some of these larger CX goals.

Insurance Premiums

My friend Terry received an insurance renewal notice earlier this month. It looked a little high so he went back to his files, found last year’s notice and sure enough the premium had increased by 15%. No mention was given to what he had paid last year, what the increase was, or why prices had gone up.

Premium Cinema Tickets

Terry’s been having a bad month with customer service because this example again involves him. He booked a premium cinema ticket online and discovered that the cinema charges a $5 booking fee for premium cinema tickets but only charges a $1 booking fee on regular cinema tickets. Again no explanation was given as to why. The booking fee was also applied to each ticket as opposed to a single booking which could include multiple tickets.

Sporting Event Tickets

In my own experience, last week I booked tickets to a sporting event through a ticketing agency that charged a per booking handling fee and a per ticket payment processing fee (not a flat fee – a percentage of the ticket price). This agency then made me navigate their website to download my tickets so I could print them myself rather than email them to me.

The advice I have for all of these companies that can be applied in any business is: BE TRANSPARENT.

Be up front and honest with your customers. Be trustworthy. Make their lives easier.

In the insurance company case above, instead of sending a letter saying that you will be charging customers “new pricing” (or even worse not sending a letter at all), tell them what they have paid in the past, what they will be paying in the future, what the increase is and why the increase was necessary. We’re all customers – treat yours as you would like to be treated.

Like Terry, your customers will research your bills. It may not happen in the first month, but eventually it will happen. They’re not idiots. Being open with them about your pricing builds trust and means they are much less likely to shop your pricing around.

In the ticketing examples above, have an easy-to-find section on your website that explains your pricing policies. If you find it hard to justify your prices then modify your pricing structures so you can. That doesn’t necessarily mean reducing your prices – they just need to be fair, equitable and easily understood.

So lets make 2015 the year that we are more open, honest, and transparent with our customers. The benefit is of course a better relationship with your customers and that’s important for multiple reasons: increased lifetime value, greater likelihood of being recommended, and less complaints for starters.

Spend some time this week with your company hat off, looking at your business from your customer’s perspective.

Ask yourself: “when I communicate with customers, am I telling them all that they need to know?”.

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