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International Organization
for Standardization
www.iso.org
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
1
Some consumer issues in
standards – case studies
DEVCO/COPOLCO Workshop
Train the trainers
Paris, France
20-25 February 2009
Acknowledgements to: Association française de normalisation
(AFNOR), CI and members of COPOLCO
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
2
Consumer issues in standards –
Standards in the service sector
ISO/IEC Guide 76, Development of service
standards – Recommendations for addressing
Consumer issues
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
3
Consumer issues in standards
Standards in the service sector – need for a Guide
ISO/IEC Guide 76
This Guide is needed because:
Standards are increasingly being developed for services, but
typically from the service provider viewpoint
Consumers have a wide range of choice in services
(air travel, hotel, car repairs, health care, etc.)
Consumers expect many things: quality, durability, ease of use,
safety, environmental friendliness, fairness ….and don’t get them,
so complaints about services are frequent.
Some services are very complex
Some services involve long-term commitment and large sums
of money (e.g. home mortgage loans)
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
4
Consumer issues in standards
Standards in the service sector – what the guide covers
The Guide addresses consumer questions about:
Choice of service
Service delivery
After-sales service /
post service engagement
support/complaints handling
The Guide is practical:
Checklists to help standards developers
Examples of application in 3 contrasting service areas:
hairdressing, a hotel, life insurance
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
5
Consumer issues in standards
Standards in the service sector – Communication
Service elements…..
…..and the role of
communication
Communication
Service
provider
Customer
Supplier
Personnel
Contract
Billing
Delivery
Service
environment
Equipment
Service outcome
Safeguards
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
6
Consumer issues in standards
Standards in the service sector – Other useful
guides and standards
Using ISO/IEC Guide 76: preparation
Toolkit for standards development
ISO/IEC Guide 51, on safety issues
ISO/IEC Guide 50, on child safety
ISO/IEC Guide 71, on elderly and people with disabilities
ISO 10001,10002 & 10003, on codes of conduct,
complaints handling and dispute resolution
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
7
Consumer issues in standards
Social responsibility (SR)
In 2004, ISO began work to develop ISO 26000, a new
guideline standard on social responsibility of organizations.
The problem:
ISO has well established, transparent procedures for
developing standards but developing international
guidelines for social responsibility was recognized as
new territory for ISO, needing a process with extra
safeguards.
SR posed a new challenge: a need for balanced
stakeholder representation and a new level of
transparency, to ensure credibility of this unusual
standard.
A new approach was needed to ensure the
participation of under-represented groups such as
consumers and labour, in particular those from
developing countries.
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
8
Consumer issues in standards
Social responsibility (SR) (continued)
The solution: ISO took the following actions:
Set up a "working group" with unique processes to achieve balanced
participation
NSBs were requested to submit nominations of experts from six distinct
stakeholder categories (rather than national delegations)
Secured donor funding enabling sponsorship of under-represented
categories particularly from developing countries, with additional regional
seminars being held to facilitate participation
Added SR to its roster of capacity-building
activities under the ISO Action Plan
An SR trust fund was also established by
the WG to sponsor participants.
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
9
Consumer issues in standards
Social responsibility (SR) (continued)
The results:
Approximately 25 consumer representatives
out of approx. 300 experts participated at
each meeting.
The working group operates at all levels in
an established process whereby all
stakeholder groups have equal decisionmaking power.
Established consumer rights have been
included in the draft.
Because of the high level of consumer
interest in SR, CI agreed to coordinate
consumer activity in the process.
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
10
Consumer issues in standards
Product standards where consumers have made a difference
Life jackets
The problem:
Original draft considered the highest levels of safety.
Conforming products would be OK in really hazardous
situations or where use could be ensured. Not comfortable for
leisure use by fishermen, canoers, water skiers etc.
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
11
Consumer issues in standards
Product standards where consumers have made a difference
Life jackets (continued)
The solution:
Consumer representative influenced the standard, so
Three consumer standards were developed
(EN 393,395 & 396) with different performance levels
appropriate for different situations.
Comfort, ease of use were addressed thus
maximizing the chance of use
Flexibility in the design allowed for ‘fashion features’
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
12
Consumer issues in standards
Product standards where consumers have made a difference
Contraception – Condoms
The problem:
The existing International Standard assumed that condoms would
be transported and stored in relatively controlled conditions and so a
single temperature range was defined in the test standard.
Consumer research showed that this was not the case in many
countries, especially in tropical climates.
The solution:
The consumer representative was able to influence the technical
committee to amend the range of testing to take into account
storage conditions which would better reflect those found in tropical
climates.
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
13
Consumer issues in standards
Product standards where consumers have made a difference
School buses
The problem: At least one child killed when crossing in front of a
school bus. The problem was visibility.
The solution: When the standard was being revised, the
Consumer representative (father of a child who had been killed),
influenced the standard. It now includes crossing arms at the
front of the bus, improved performance for the mirrors and
defrosting systems.
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
14
Consumer issues in standards
Service standards where consumers have made a difference
Water services
The problem
The initial scope for this International Standard
restricted it to the connected pipe and sewer
systems, such as are usual in richer countries.
Such a standard would not address water
service issues for very many communities.
The solution
The CI representative persuaded the committee
to enlarge the scope to include standards for
the non-integrated networks characteristic of
poorer countries: wells, bulk-delivered water, pit
latrines and septic tanks.
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
15
Consumer issues in standards
Service standards where consumers have made a difference
Leisure diving standards
The problem:
Deaths have occurred because untrained people can provide
diving services if they have the equipment to do so. The leisure
diving industry was keen to use standards to differentiate
themselves from these “cowboys”.
The solution:
Standards were developed for the providers of diving services,
diving instructors and for diving competencies at three levels.
Although service standards, they refer to product standards for
the equipment needed to provide the services.
Consumer input ensured that requirements were verifiable,
something the industry did not understand in the early stages of
the standards development.
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
16
Consumer issues in standards
Product standards where consumers have made a difference
Complaints handling
The problem:
Service providers tend to consider their ‘average’ customer when
developing complaints handling procedures.
The solution:
The consumer representative ensured that the standard
considered the needs of all, including those with a visual or
hearing impairment. The representative also ensured the
document was relevant to non-commercial providers of services as
well as to suppliers of consumer products.
February 2009
Consumer issues in standards
17
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