Oddly enough, a lack of transparency makes you all the shadier
When Raffy and I first formed Studio98, one of the policies we adopted early on, was to be transparent in our business dealings with our customers.
One of the areas was pricing. We wanted to be very up front about our pricing with no surprises or hidden fees. This was reflected in the contracts we devised for our website work. And we delivered exactly what we promised. If there was something we didn’t foresee, but we should have, we didn’t then go to the customer, we “ate it” and learned to account for our mistake by writing better contracts. But some companies just don’t get it.
The other day, I was searching for some bubble packs of epoxy. I found a site which sold them and proceeded on with the purchase because of a little colored banner that said “free shipping”. I got to the order page and filled out all of the required fields. This took me to another page to finalize my order. This page had a box labeled “shipping” with a drop down menu. I clicked on it and to my surprise, there was no box labeled “free shipping”. In fact, the minimum shipping and handling charge for the 2 oz. order was $6.95 – almost half of the purchase price.
This company does not understand transparency and I’ll never order anything from them. Contrast that with other websites where shipping information is available before you have to fill out all the billing and credit information so you can decide before hand.
Transparency is a good thing. It attracts and keeps customers because people trust people who have nothing to hide.