Consumer ProtectionCP2AConduct regular households surveys or similar instruments to assess consumer satisfaction
Information can reach regulators through various sources, but a primary goal is to establish direct communication with consumers.
To help to protect consumer interests, regulators must employ mechanisms and tools where consumers’ views can be shared.
To that end, regulators should undertake surveys, forums, or use other means to gather relevant information from consumers or their respective associations on their satisfaction with service provision. Surveys are increasingly conducted online and are also made available to operators.
- Consumers have an opportunity to provide feedback directly to regulators.
- Regulators collect essential information regarding operators’ performance.
- Service operators can access feedback from surveys.
In Zambia, to strengthen consumer participation in the water and sanitation sector, the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) instituted a consumer forum in each province. The purpose is to sensitize the public about their rights and obligations with regards to water supply and sanitation provision, and service level guarantees.
These forums also act a survey platforms to enable consumers to give feedback on the quality of services, as well as to present complaints. To date, consumer forums have been held in Kabweand Solwezi, the capital cities of Central Province and North-Western Province, respectively, and are to be repeated and scaled out as part of a developing regulatory survey mechanism.
Internal capacities needed and the role of partners
Regulators require public relations and communication skills when conducting this action.
Primary partners include media and marketing agencies, civil society, research institutions, and consumer associations that can help to facilitate and communicate consumer feedback to the wider public. Regulators’ staff must be trained by development partners on how to gather the necessary information using different observation tools and mechanisms.