consumer loyalty

Recently, Facebook quietly unrolled a new feature called “page integrity”. This allows users to see recent activity, updates, and modifications to a business page. In an era in which privacy is everything and the integrity of businesses is often called into question, transparency is a very important attribute.

Transparency is tricky, too. Not every business is at liberty to disclose details of its dealings, depending on the regulation of the industry it operates in and the sensitivity of any internal processes. Let’s keep it simple, then, and use a business that provides a food delivery service as an example.

Transparency & Disclosure

Every service usually has an associated fee that comes with utilizing it. For a food delivery business, this involves fees such as delivery charges, convenience fees, or miscellaneous fees such as small orders or longer delivery distance.

Let’s say that this business puts out an advertising campaign promoting a free delivery promotion. Customers flock to the app, excited to use their promo codes, only to be surprised when they’re hit by a slew of “other” fees. They’re turned off by this unpleasant surprise, even if these fees are completely standard, and exit out of their order, electing to just cook dinner that night.

The business could have easily avoided this issue by disclosing the potential for miscellaneous fees at the outset. Sure, not every user will read any fine print, but simply adding a small “other fees may apply” tagline could set a more realistic expectation for customers rather than relying only on the promise of free delivery.

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The same concept can be applied to any sort of “fine print” that needs to be disclosed. Any policies or procedures that may affect a customer experience should be available for their viewing at any time. By not “hiding” things from customers, a business can build trust through the concept of transparency.

Respecting User Data

Privacy and protection of user data has never been more forefront in consumer discussion as it is now. What a business does with any user data collected is important to achieving and retaining consumer loyalty.

If a customer opts in for an email marketing list, for example, a business should not sell or give away that information to a third party. If they do plan to do so, this needs to be disclosed. If a customer opts in and then begins receiving third party emails, they will quickly lose all respect for the business that collected the email to begin with.

User data should be safeguarded and encrypted where possible, and any uses of data should be disclosed to the customer. This simple but often overlooked concept is important to maintaining consumer trust, particularly in today’s age of privacy.

Operating with transparency is important for any business, no matter how big or small. While of course some businesses will not legally be able to disclose everything, the importance of protecting user data, disclosing policies such as fees, and overall operating with integrity will do a lot to gain and keep customer loyalty and trust. Those are two of the most important parts of any business success, and this is something that a marketer can help with by correctly disclosing necessary information.

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-5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.