In the daily hustle of a support center, being completely honest and open to each customer often feels like a service element brands have to do without. Many CX leaders assume that their role should focus solely on immediate performance and don’t consider how direct, transparent communication — while difficult to do — is part of long-term value. Transparency in customer service, however, is a huge value driver for brands because it’s how they develop sustainable relationships with their customers.
Transparency also helps brands reach effective solutions more consistently because honest feedback on performance and product quality makes service stronger and more customer-centric. Our 2022 Customer Expectations Report found that 72% of shoppers would spend more on a brand with great service — so the more transparency you deliver, the more customer trust you’ll build and repeat purchases you’ll drive. Let’s look at a few examples of transparency in customer service, and break down how this approach can improve customer relationships.
The goal of transparency in customer service is to provide clear and open channels of communication for customers. Consider whether or not your own support center is set up to provide all the following elements of transparency.
Modern customer expectations aren’t just higher, but the gap between those expectations and what brands are delivering has gotten wider. Twilio reported that 85% of businesses believe they offer good personalized customer service, but only 60% of consumers agree — a stark 25% gap. Brands should reassess how effectively they’re delivering on these expectations and communicate their efforts more directly with customers. By being honest and transparent — recognizing areas to improve and communicating a plan to address them — a brand can strengthen its relationship with customers and further build trust.
Further reading: Our 2022 Customer Expectations Report shares tips and insights on how support centers can improve customer relationships and where it’s most important to be transparent about expectations.
Service level agreements (SLAs) are as pure a commitment to transparency as a support center can offer. Many brands tend to make the details of their SLAs implicit and internally track the fundamental function of these agreements for performance analysis. But by making a conscious effort to clearly communicate those SLAs, more honest service experiences will follow. Be clear about wait times, constraints, or needs for external input to show that you’re focused on being upfront.
Further reading: Creating consistent and reliable customer service SLAs helps you align with customer expectations and set a baseline with your agents. Read our comprehensive SLA guide for more advice on maintaining your commitments to shoppers.
Many agents are trained to follow scripts to drive efficiency and consistency in the service a brand provides. While there’s value in this approach, agents who don’t feel confident deviating from pre-written material during particularly difficult customer conversations may not provide the best customer experience and fail to properly empathize with the customer. Being empathetic, however, leverages transparency to help make customers feel taken care of and more trusting. Empowering your staff to deviate from scripts when appropriate can help match the value of natural conversations and foster deeper connections with customers.
Further reading: Making customer conversations more genuine makes it easier for your agents to be transparent about the solutions they’ll provide to resolve issues. Read our guide on natural conversations for more insight.
The most valuable customer relationships are built on trust and transparency. So when a brand fails to be transparent — or breaks the promises their transparency implied — they degrade their customer affinity.
On one hand, transparency means being honest when you fall short of your SLAs or don’t deliver a product or service on time. On the other, consistently failing to meet timeframes never following through on promised transparency can damage customer relationships beyond repair. If a misstep occurs, transparency is always the best solution — 89% of people will trust a business again if it admits to a mistake and is open about solving its problems.
At Gladly, our support center solutions utilize personalization to bridge the transparency gap between brands and shoppers.
Our people-centered approach to CX inspired tools like customer details, which tells you more about customers’ expectations through their history and buying patterns. What’s more, our conversation timeline ensures agents know the entire context for every customer interaction so they can better understand requests or needs without asking shoppers excessive clarifying questions.
Make transparency in customer service the new cornerstone of your ecommerce brand by trying a demo of Gladly.
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