Transparency Among Employees, Customers, and Organizations
Whether it was fostering dialogue with customers, employees, or both, the finance leaders emphasized a renewed commitment to improving communications amid challenging times.
AT&T took consumers’ situations into consideration when adjusting prices, encouraging some customers to upgrade to plans that have a lower monthly charge than their current plan, and other customers to upgrade to a plan that would provide them with more features than their current plan. “We’re trying to cushion the blow by providing more value and more attractive returns for the incremental amounts that they’re paying,” Desroches said.
Diez emphasized transparency in Ryder’s approach to price increases. With approximately 50,000 customers—many of them small and medium-sized businesses in the United States, Canada, and Mexico—the transportation and logistics company has sought to educate them on the environment as they look to renew leases on commercial vehicles or expand their fleets. The effort is crucial, Diez said, adding that the company’s costs for vehicles have increased by double-digit percentages.
“A lot of our time right now is being spent on educating the customer base, working with them, and creating strategies that mitigate the inflationary pressures that they’re feeling so that they could pass it on to their customers,” he said.
Likewise, loanDepot has emphasized an educational approach—for both loan officers and customers, Carrillo said.
“It’s not an easy conversation like it was a year-and-a-half ago of, ‘Great, 30-year fixed refi, here you go.’ We need to be more creative because the rates are not where they were,” Carrillo said, adding that providing context about why interest rates are climbing has been important on the customer side, as well.
“For us, the transparency is coming with the time and the care and the education that we take with each of our clients as they try to go through what is for many people a milestone and monumental point in their life,” she said.
Using Data to Provide Actionable Insights
Taking into account data sets that go beyond traditional financial metrics also provide transparency for companies seeking a path forward.
Employee surveys have been helpful in understanding employees’ concerns, as well as identifying potential business opportunities, Carrillo said. In response to survey data, loanDepot rolled out additional benefits focused on wellness and mental health, an area of importance for employees.
Carrillo added that loanDepot’s employees helped identify new home equity line of credit (HELOC) products as a need for customers. “Customers were trying to access the new wealth they had in the appreciation of their home, and it was getting very difficult,” she said. “The information we get from our employees directly is sometimes the best nonfinancial data that I can rely on.”
For AT&T, Desroches said consistent monitoring of its Net Promoter Score was important to confirm what the company is seeing in quantitative metrics such as subscriber gains and customer likes. “It’s a useful tool because, ultimately, if your customers are not satisfied, you have a looming problem,” he said.