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Evolving Policies Require Consistent Updates

Posted on March 6, 2009 by Arianna

With enumerable online companies it is safe to assume that policies will vary from organization to organization and some will probably seem unfair, maybe a bit odd, and sometimes confusing.

A company’s rules and/or policies should give a clear understanding of what a customer can and should expect from the company. These policies are usually created in a company’s infancy and then evolve over the lifetime of the company as things change. It is recommended that they be kept up to date.  What happens when unwritten rules become policies? Or to put it differently, what happens when company known policies are not properly conveyed to those outside of the organization?

Let me try to explain it a little better using a recent example. Last week we canceled a customer’s order because he could not provide us with a physical address. He had selected an APO as a ship to address for which we do not ship to. The customer called and complained that it was unfair, that nowhere was it stated that we didn't ship to APO's. After trying to clear our point with the customer, we reviewed our shipping policy and realized that the customer was right! Our policy stated that we do not ship to PO Boxes, but no where did it state that APO's were also not allowed.

I began to think of why this happened. Was it because we assumed the customers knew that? Or was it because we truly believed that it would magically show up on the page? Whatever the reason, we had created a rule that our customers were not aware of. As embarrassing as it was to have to admit that the customer knew our policies better than we did - I think it was a good thing. We were reminded that maybe, just maybe, we need to review our own policies to make sure WE know exactly what we are telling our customers to expect.

I'm glad to inform you that we are doing a review of our policies, and will hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, have them updated.

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