When we (a disabled person) wants to leave our home, it can be a military exercise. The planning that is involved can take days leading up to the event! Researching a place for access needs Like level entry, hearing loop, disabled toilet, large print menus or a lowered counter, can be infuriating as few businesses advertise their accessibility. Even when you contact the company directly, you are not always given the correct information.
This is why the majority of us stick to the true, tried and tested, we are confident in the knowledge that these places can and do cater to our needs. This is, of course, is useless to any new business just starting out. How do you entice new customers to come to you and spend their money?
- Advertise, Advertise and Advertise – tell your prospective customers what accessibility you have. Talk about it on your Social Media pages, have an accessibility information page on your website! Be a leader in disability access!!
- Staff Training – Make sure your staff are fully aware of the facilities available to disabled people.
- Disability Awareness Training – It is paramount that staff develop an understanding of the barriers that disabled people experience when accessing services and learn ways to overcome them. – Two thirds (67%) of the British public feel uncomfortable talking to disabled people.
- Equality Act 2010 – Do you know what you as a retailer/service provider, what is required of you by law?
As a business owner, one could think it is easy to dismiss disability as irrelevant or unimportant. But, it would be misleading to assume that a small minority of your customers are affected by disability and that it will probably never change. After all, your products and services are probably not aimed at disabled people anyway. Catering for the needs of disabled people may seem expensive and unrewarding. The reality is that disability affects every aspect of a business:
More than three-quarters of disabled people acquire their disability as adults. As societies age, increasing numbers of older people will acquire disabilities. A third of people aged between 50 and 64 years have a disability and a third of all employees are disabled or are close to a disabled person. All these people are already the stakeholders, employees and customers of your organisation.
Having a company that is “disability-smart” will not only make your organisation more productive but it will also be more effective. The business benefits are proven; stronger leadership and more productive employees, more innovative products and use of new technology, stronger customer relationships and a better overall reputation. More customers!!!
Disabled people contribute over £249 billion a year to the UK economy and account for up to 20% of the customer base for an average UK business. By treating them in the right way, your organisation is far more likely to keep them as a customer and have them tell their friends and family about their experience.
Your organisation is much less likely to encounter complaints from disabled people. Training of this type could save millions of pounds a year in compensation claims.
In reality, as a service provider, can you afford not to be “Disability Smart”?