Considering all Customers: Accessible Customer Service
November is a great time to increase sales by making the retail experience more accessible for people with disabilities. People with disabilities make up a large group of consumers.
According to Rich Donovan, Chair of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council, author and disability advocate, in Canada when the “friends and family [of people with disabilities] are added to the market, disability touches 53 percent of consumers controlling more than $366.5-billion.”
Studies have shown that consumers value accessibility and are more inclined to spend their money at an accessible business.
There are many resources for businesses and employers to become more accessible.
Accessible Customer Service Training is required for all your organization’s employees. This training better prepares members of your organization to communicate effectively with all customers, including people with disabilities. You can visit Access Forward’s website for free AODA training modules for staff.
If you are a small business owner and wonder what you’re required to do to make your business more accessible, read the Guide for Small Businesses.
Finding innovative ways to include people with disabilities makes good business sense.
Quick accessibility tips:
1. Train your staff to communicate in an accessible way.
You may need to provide communication supports to fulfill requests from your customers. For example, if a customer is unable to read the store flyer, they might request that you provide information in an alternate format, such a structured electronic Word file. This allows them to increase the size of the font or access the information with a screen reader. Other customers may prefer a staff member read the flyer to them verbally.
2. Actively monitor aisles for obstructions. This will improve the customer experience for visitors while ensuring that anyone using a mobility aid will be able to access your products.
3. Look for creative solutions to provide equal service to all customers. Sometimes these solutions are less obvious. For example, if accessibility barriers prevent a deal-seeker with a disability from accessing a Black Friday bargain, consider offering them the same sale price at a later date.