In the early 1900’s, retail and advertising pioneer John Wanamker said, “When a customer enters my store, forget me. He is king.” Now, over a century later, that phrase resonates more than ever — although the definition of store has expanded massively.

Whether shopping in a physical location, via a web browser, on a mobile app, through a social ad, or another avenue, today’s customers wield all the power. As a result, companies are in a constant scramble to obtain and keep their dollars. While there are numerous considerations for brands seeking to delight customers, transparency is chief among them.

In fact, a recent study found that 9 out of 10 consumers will stop buying from brands they perceive to be lacking in transparency. A similar percentage of respondents said they would stick by a company during a brand crisis if it had a history of being trustworthy, and that a history of transparency would make them more likely to give the company a second chance following a bad experience.

In this environment, where customers place transparency above all things, data is a “make or break” asset for customer-facing employees and organizations.

By connecting data across all channels and applying intelligence to these interactions — like who the customer is, what they need, and what they are most likely to buy next — brands can engender transparency and revolutionize the customer experience in countless ways, including:

  • Personalization — Access to past purchasing data and browsing behavior, for example, allows brands to deliver the more tailored, personal experience customers want.
  • Targeted Offers — Extending the benefits of personalization a step further, brands can draw on real-time data to offer customers targeted offers as they move through the purchasing process.
  • Connected Customer Journeys — Linking data across channels allows brands to provide a seamless experience at every touchpoint. For example, a customer who initiated contact with Technical Support via chat can continue the conversation on the phone without having to restate the issue or detail their previous interactions.

The above examples deliver tangible customer benefits but they also positively impact brands as well, in the form of increased revenue, greater efficiency and higher customer satisfaction scores.

So, what should companies consider in their quest to deliver greater brand transparency?

According to Tara Prabhakar, global director of client impact at market research company Kantar TNS, there are three critical areas:

  1. Integrity — Being trustworthy and operating on integrity that customers experience firsthand.
  2. Inclusion — Making customers feel that they are part of the brand’s story, making an emotional connection.
  3. Identification — Encouraging consumers to identify with the brand by underscoring how it addresses their needs — and feelings.

There are numerous considerations for companies to carry out these steps, but underpinning them all is the need for a robust information management strategy.

To operate more transparently, it’s essential that companies empower their customer-facing employees with centralized, easy access to high quality data across all channels, touchpoints, and interactions.