The best way to build trust with your customers is to respond openly to questions and build a relationship of trust.

For decades, there have been rumors about what fast food actually contains, especially from the world’s largest chain: McDonald’s. As an occasional customer there, I’ve also always wondered what went into my favorite option, the chicken McNuggets. If you look inside them they look very little like chicken, but they just taste so good.

McDonald’s Canada produced the video above when allegations were made that their McNuggets were made from a ‘pink slime’, in which they actually take a step-by-step tour through the production process in their McNuggets factory. Watch the video to find out.

In recent years, McDonald’s has been putting a lot of effort and innovation into improving its food quality, especially in the UK where they have made huge strides in working with local farmers and improving animal welfare standards in its procurement. And while usually, food production methods are a closely-guarded secret, the question of what sort of unnatural chemicals are contained in McNuggets is one which they chose to address in a simple and effective way: Honesty and Openness. The risk and cost of exposing production advantages was countered by the trust it helped build with customers.

The business reasons for McDonald’s to innovate in this area is simple: The perceived value of its products by its customers was changing, as food safety and nutrition have become a more important consideration for the majority of the population. Consumers are also becoming less comfortable with just taking the word of companies and PR departments when they have questions or concerns.

Ultimately, your loyal customers are your most important ones. If they have questions on a difficult topic to which honesty and openness can help to build a stronger relationship, then that is one of the simplest and most effective ways to innovate.

The idea for the article came from the excellent post of Venessa Wong from Businessweek: McDonald’s Wants You to Watch How McNuggets Are Made – Businessweek.

Do you think that being open about difficulties in the business can lead to stronger relationships with customers. Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to sign up for our weekly updates and get a copy of our new eBook “The Secrets of Ongoing Innovation Success” sent for free to your inbox.