ISO International Standards touch everyone. From enabling you to use your bank card overseas to ensuring your child's toys don't have sharp edges, they are used everywhere. Followed by companies all over the world, ISO standards provide specifications to ensure products and services work the way you expect them to.
What's more, they help to improve customer satisfaction. In a world where the customer's voice is increasingly prominent, this is an essential business requirement.
That's why consumer representatives play an integral role in the development of standards. ISO's committee on consumer policy (COPOLCO) provides resources for getting consumers involved.
ISO is working on ensuring consumers’ trust in online customer reviews, and consumer protection in the digital economy including essential ‘data privacy by design’.
ISO produces international guidelines that cover all aspects of product safety, including product recall procedures, food safety, child-related products, cross-border trade and consumer product safety guidance for suppliers.
The right to informed choice and to redress where expectations are not met is fundamental to effective customer relations, and is a basic right, as outlined in the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection.
ISO has a range of standards that address every aspect of customer satisfaction, from codes of conduct to handling complaints and disputes.
Ensuring products and services are safe and appropriate for children, older persons and persons with disabilities is a key priority for ISO. Work in this field includes safety of products and environments used by such populations, as well as accessibility and information technology.
An example of this is ISO/IEC Guide 71:2014, Guide for addressing accessibility in standards.
Road accidents are the number one killer of young people worldwide, and improving the safety of our roads is a key priority for many governments. ISO has contributed to this ongoing challenge with the development of hundreds of standards directly related to road safety.
Whether it’s hailing a taxi, finding somewhere to stay on your travels or arranging help at home, new and sophisticated Websites and apps are ripping up traditional business models. How can consumers benefit from sharing economy innovation, and be protected from the downsides?
Amid the many ethical claims made by products and services labelled as fair, ecological, or healthy, which can be trusted?
Covering everything from social responsibility to environmental management and social security, ISO has standards that help societies in areas such as dealing with natural disasters and living in a sustainable way.
An example is ISO 26000, Guidance on social responsibility, one of ISO's most impactful standards.
How consumers can participate
Consumer standards are developed with the input of a wide range of people - not just standards experts. By getting involved you can help ensure products and services meet your expectations.
To get involved contact your national consumer's association, Consumers International or the ISO member in your country.
Integrating the view of the consumer is important in standards development because it offers a real-life perspective, helping to ensure that issues such as safety and quality are adequately addressed.
In addition, it helps to ensure that products and services perform as expected and improves:
- quality and reliability
- consistency in the delivery of services
- choice and fair competition
- transparency in production information
- suitability of products for vulnerable populations
- credibility of standards to support consumer protection laws
ISO's Committee on Consumer Policy (COPOLCO) is dedicated to promoting consumer participation in standards. Find out more about COPOLCO.
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