Brussels, 2 February 2012 - Businesses across the whole of Europe are using European Standards as a means to improve the quality of the services they provide, and also to demonstrate the quality of these services to potential customers. This has been confirmed by the results of a survey of businesses and other stakeholders regarding the use and implementation of European and national standards relating to services.
The results of the Europe-wide survey are presented in a ‘Study on the implementation of service standards and their impact on service providers and users’, which has been published today by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). The study was commissioned by CEN and carried out during 2011 by the Technopolis Group.
The survey results are based on the responses to a questionnaire that was circulated via National Standards Bodies and completed by 466 respondents across 28 European countries. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the respondents were businesses involved in providing services and more than a quarter (26%) were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The majority (93%) of respondents stated that they are aware of European and/or national standards relevant to the sector in which they are active, and 84% are making use of these standards.
Each respondent was asked about the benefits that their own business or organisation gets from using service-related standards. Almost all (95%) of the respondents agreed that “improved service quality” and an “improved ability to demonstrate service quality to customers” are among the benefits of using standards, and most (over 60%) agreed that these are “major benefits”. Significantly, more than 75% of the small companies (SMEs) taking part in the survey agreed that these two outcomes are major benefits of using standards related to services.
Further benefits identified by users of service-related standards include:
• Increased customer satisfaction (identified as a benefit by 89% of respondents)
• Increased confidence in service providers (86%)
• Increased transparency of the services provided (86%)
• Improved common definitions / terminology (86%)
• Improved contractual relationships (83%)
• Improved ability to meet legislative / regulatory requirements (81%)
• Improved use of performance indicators (81%)
• Improved ability to compare different service offers / providers (77%)
• Improved ability to meet health and safety requirements (76%)
• Increased market share (52%)
• Increased profitability (51%)
• Improved ability to export services (cross-border trade) (50%)
Most of the respondents (69%) and more than 80% of small companies (SMEs) taking part in the survey are making reference to their use of standards when advertising their services.
Elena Santiago Cid, Director General of CEN and CENELEC, has welcomed the findings of the survey and the publication of the study on the implementation of service standards:
“The results of this Europe-wide survey confirm that the people who actually use and implement standards for services are seeing major benefits in terms of the higher quality of their services, as well as greater levels of consumer confidence and customer satisfaction. I am especially pleased that small and medium-sized companies are finding that standards help them to improve the quality of their services and also to market these services to potential customers.”
“We know that standards play a crucial role in helping businesses to grow and facilitating trade - both within Europe and globally. This new study proves that standardization can bring benefits not only for physical products but also in relation to services,” said Mrs Santiago Cid.
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