The well-being of consumers is guaranteed with standards, because standards offer protection, whether during leisure activities in tourism or browsing the Internet, according to the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS).“As consumers, whenever we turn on a light switch, use the Internet, unwrap food from a supermarket, or our children play with toys, or we do hundreds of other everyday things, we knowingly or unknowingly benefit from standards,” the bureau noted.
The bureau noted also that the tangible benefits of standards to the lives of consumers are usually realised through their interaction with products, services and the environment. The GNBS says that as products and services are utilised daily, standards do three key things for consumers:
They facilitate safety through the setting of minimum requirements; improve quality; and aid easier use of products, so that even the differently-abled can use them.
Standards help all kinds of organisations to work in better and smarter ways to improve their efficiency and be more innovative, which ultimately benefit consumers. However, there are other areas where standards have a more profound impact on consumers across the globe, and these include services, well-being, inclusivity, sustainability, and the security of personal information.
The GNBS underscores that consumers get essential services — like finance, health or energy — from a wide range of organizations; and, in recent years, standards have helped to raise the quality of services that they deliver. These standards give organizations clear guidance on how to deal with the whole process: giving good service at the outset; dealing with complaints in the best way if things go wrong; and dispute resolution, if that stage fails.
In addition, the bureau explained that consumers’ inclusivity is assured when standards are implemented, as they benefit from equal rights to access the products and services they need.
Some standards are used as guidelines to ensure that the security of personal information during online shopping, banking and social networking is secure, even as people are becoming increasingly concerned about their security and privacy. Such standards give organizations step-by-step guidance on how to securely manage customer information.
For the foreseeable future, the hundreds of Standards Institutions, including the Guyana National Bureau of Standards and consumer bodies worldwide, will continue to develop, promote and encourage the implementation of standards as a means of protecting consumers from detriments which can result from the use of substandard products and services; and allow them to garner all the other benefits that can be derived from their use.