Every online and offline business operates through a series of practices. Practices are essentially systems you’ve established to accomplish something for your business. For example, when someone sends you an email inquiring about your products or services, what you do with that email is considered a practice.

How you communicate your practice is considered a policy. Many businesses publish a number of their policies. For example, a return policy or a privacy policy. When you maintain good online business practices and policies, you retain customers.

There are essentially five criteria a policy or practice is evaluated by. It must be:

* Fair and reasonable: Additionally, if you state a policy or a practice you must follow through on it. For example, if you say a client can return a product within thirty days, you must honor that agreement.

* Communicated clearly: Your practices donít all need to be published on your website. However, they should be communicated clearly when it’s a relevant time to do so. For example, during your shopping cart procedure a customer should be made aware of your return policy. They should also be made aware of your return policy when you thank them for their order and/or when you ship or deliver the product.

* Effective: Your practices should help you accomplish your goals. They should also support and enhance your customers’ overall experience with your company.

* Transparent: Your policies and practices need to be clear and easy for your customers and prospects to find and understand.

* Legal: They need to be legal so you and your customers are protected under the law.

One of the most common practices is your data collection practice and subsequent privacy policy. People want to know how you collect their information and how you protect their privacy. When you make this information readily available on your website and it’s communicated clearly, itís fair and reasonable and you follow through, you’ll keep customers. It strengthens your relationship with them.

Business Practices Offer Business Benefits

Each practice you create and put into action becomes become part of your business. When your business practices support both you and your customer, your business will run efficiently and effectively. When you miss something along the way, you risk losing customers.

Good business practices support you to:

* Communicate effectively
* Motivate loyalty
* Enhance word of mouth
* Spur positive reviews and feedback
* Generate testimonials
* Operate efficiently
* Profit consistently

Take the time to review your business practices. Do they support your customer to have a fantastic experience? Do they support your success? Are they fair, legal, communicated effectively and honored? When you respect your customer through your business practices, they’ll return again and again. It’s one of the best ways to establish long-term success through customer loyalty.

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