This article throws light upon the four main types of questionnaire on ‘Consumer Services’. The types are: 1. Products-Related Policies and Practices 2. Customer Relationship 3. General 4. Overall Review.
Questionnaire on ‘Consumer Services’: Type # 1.
Products-Related Policies and Practices:
(a) Do the products manufactured meet the needs of the customers of:
i. Different classes?
ii. Different tastes?
iii. Different purchasing power?
(b) Are the product prices reasonable and consistent with the:
i. Quality variations?
ii. Efficiency variations?
iii. Reasonable profit margin?
iv. Class of consuming public?
(c) What are the criteria considered for product pricing? Is the share of ‘added value’ through increased profitability via cost reduction reasonably passed down to the consumer?
(d) Are the prices fixed under competitive market, or monopolistic conditions subject to Government restrictions?
(e) Are the details of information regarding the product, service, company profile and policies, etc., appropriately disseminated so as to ensure that the communications made to the customers regarding price, quality, services and facilities are truthful and not exaggerated? That means, whether after-sales service, spare parts facility, etc. enable the customers to derive maximum use and pleasure.
(f) (i) Does the company undertake adequate research in regard to the product and customer behaviour so as to make their products more satisfactory to the consumers?
(ii) What are the efforts made to constantly improve the product and its use value, esteem value?
(iii) Does the management assume the responsibility of ‘product development’ function as a continuing exercise in the context of society in general and the consumers in particular?
(iv) How are the conflicts of interest—variety expansion vs. variety reduction— resolved by the management?
[Conflict of interest arises when customers in general prefer a large variety and qualities of products, whereas the enterprise supplies only a few limited range of product that it can produce more economically.]
(v) Does the product development programme consider the factors of standardisation, simplification and specialisation, etc.?
(vi) Is such programme undertaken to meet only the immediate demands or long-term requirements?
(g) Are the company policies and practices in regard to the distribution of products among different sections of customers fair and equitable?
Questionnaire on ‘Consumer Services’: Type # 2.
(a) Are the services to customers prompt, adequate, courteous and friendly?
(b) Are the customers’ complaints handled carefully? How is the extent of analysis made in this regard to properly determine the causes of complaints and steps for solving them?
(c) How does the company respond to customers’ enquiries relating to the product or service?
(d) Does the system of packaging and labelling the product with specific information help the customers to appreciate the quality and other characteristics of the product?
(e) Does the organisation carry out adequate consumer behaviour research to better understand and help the consumers?
(f) Does the organisation co-operate with groups and associations representing customers?
(g) Does the company provide useful suggestions and render necessary assistance to the ‘Consumers Co-operatives’ for distribution of quality goods at reasonable prices?
Questionnaire on ‘Consumer Services’: Type # 3.
(a) (i) Are safety norms relating to the product as per the accepted standards laid down by:
1. statutory bodies (e.g. ISI, BSS, etc.)?
2. relevant industry standards?
(ii) Are suitable ‘Warnings’ given or placed in a manner to be clearly visible, in case of variations from norms as stated above?
(iii) Are such warnings marked on the product itself ‘Boldly’ or stated in the Instruction Manual depending on the nature and type of product?
(b) Are performance guarantees, for capital goods in particular, explicitly stated either at the bidding stage or at the contract finalization stage, as such guarantees are subject to fulfilment of certain preconditions by customers (e.g. correct foundations, air purity, water/chemical analysis, etc.)?
(c) (i) How are the merits of the enterprise’s own products and/or likely advantages to the consumers mentioned in the advertisements?
(ii) Do the policies of the company in this regard reflect the fundamental business ethics that “likely competitors should not be compared in any manner which explicitly decries their product”?
(iii) Are the technical data given in sales promotional media (e.g. advertisements, leaflets, etc.) specific and not vague?
(d) (i) Does the company make use of ‘sex symbols’?
(ii) If so, are they relevant to the products?
(iii) Do they convey the code of decorum and decency?
(iv) Are there any policy guidelines in this respect?
(e) How does the company ensure prompt remedy against customer complaints when products are made available to the consuming public through a large net-work of distributors and retail out-lets? Are the policies and practices effective to combat artificial scarcities?
(f) (i) Are all ‘Warranties’ explicitly stated?
(ii) Is the procedure for ‘invocation’ of warranty stated in clear terms (For example, the warranty does not cover ‘bought-outs’, etc.)?
(g) Does the company make use of ‘market research data’ with qualifications (that means, not in a manner which can be misleading)?
Questionnaire on ‘Consumer Services’: Type # 4.
(a) Is the fundamental aspect of ‘servicing’ responsibility to customers recognised by the enterprise as a policy measure?
(b) If so, how and to what extent are the customer policy and standards, and the basic attitude and philosophy of management towards the consuming public defined?
(c) Are there any instances of relaxation of policy norms in respect of responsibilities to customers even when the distribution of goods is made through middlemen?
(d) Is the company aware of ‘consumer rights’ and does it follow scrupulously the cannons spelt out in the Consumer Protection Act?