A strong customer experience is rooted in relationships with customers and employees. In order to build those relationships, brands must be honest and transparent about their operations, both good and bad. This week we saw three stories of how being transparent can benefit companies and avoiding openness can lead to negative consequences.
H&M Tops Fashion Brands For Transparency
In an age where customers crave transparency in companies, H&M comes out on top. The brand received top marks in the 2020 Fashion Revolution Transparency Index, which measures how well large fashion companies disclose things like environmental effort, social policies and wages. H&M Group earned a 73% transparency score, far above the average of 23%. As a whole, brands increased 2% over last year. At the bottom of the list were brands like Tom Ford, Bally and Jessica Simpson, which all earned 0% transparency for not sharing anything about their practices.
H&M has made great strides for sustainability and employee experience in recent years. Although it isn’t a perfect company, it is still open about its progress. That transparency shows customers they can trust H&M to share updates and be open about what the company is working towards. H&M also improved from 61% in last year’s index, which shows a move in the right direction. The move towards transparency can hopefully encourage other retailers to follow suit.
Chipotle Hit With $25 Million Fine Over Norovirus Outbreaks
Today all eyes may be on the coronavirus, but Chipotle is paying for a different virus from a few years ago: the norovirus. This week, Chipotle agreed to pay a $25 million fine for norovirus cases that sickened more than 1,100 customers between 2015 and 2018. The penalty is the largest food safety fine ever imposed. Prosecutors claim customers got sick because Chipotle employees weren’t aware and didn’t follow food safety guidelines. As part of the deal, Chipotle also re-committed to following food safety procedures.
Following regulations is important for every business, but especially in food services. Customers need to know that their food is safe and properly prepared. Transparency towards customers starts with transparency towards employees and being open about the guidelines in place. In this case, Chipotle’s decision to not be transparent sickened customers and was incredibly costly.
Spectrum Faces Investigation After Employees Contract COVID
Internet and cable TV provider Spectrum is considered an essential business, meaning its employees are still working during the coronavirus pandemic. But the company is now facing an investigation in New York after requiring its employees to still work in the office when 230 employees in multiple states tested positive for COVID. The majority of employee cases were from people who work in call centers and were originally not allowed to work from home. Employees also voiced concerns that the offices weren’t properly sanitized.
The pandemic has brought uncertain times, but companies should always put their employees first. Transparency and honesty are especially crucial during crises, and companies need to share information with employees that impacts their health and safety. Transparency fuels action and could help protect employees and show that Spectrum cares about its workers.
To build strong relationships with customers, focus on transparency and trust. It’s never been more crucial for companies to show honesty and openness, as seen in the stories from this week.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and the author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.