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A Guide to Making Your Customer Service Disability-Friendly

February 06, 2018

Maybe it’s a waiter who doesn’t quite understand the order. Maybe it’s a phone representative who loses patience easily. Maybe it’s a cashier who refuses to make eye contact or uses a demeaning tone of voice.

No matter what your situation is, your customers with disabilities are simply your customers. Ensuring they have a positive experience today leads to increased business tomorrow. Does this sound good? It really is.

Follow this five-step guide to making sure your customer service is disability-friendly.

  1. Train your staff on disability etiquette. Make sure they are aware of all your policies and procedures in regards to interacting with or assisting customers with physical or mental health disabilities, and who to ask if they have questions.
  2. Watch for opportunities to assist customers with disabilities. However, always ask first. Never assume that they need assistance. This is NOT considered rude. It’s just good customer service!  
  3. Welcome service animals into your business. If you’re not sure if it’s a service animal, don’t be afraid to ask these two questions: “Is this dog a service animal required because of a disability?” and “What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?” 
  4. Make sure your business is accessible – including public bathrooms, outdoor areas, hallways and emergency exits. Keep aisles wide and free from clutter. Consider adding a personal shopper or home delivery service options.
  5. Remember that providing great customer service is the same for everyone! Stress the importance of treating all customers with courtesy and respect, no matter what. If you are a small business, consider asking how you can better help customers with disabilities on your Facebook page.

Ready to take the next step? Disability etiquette training is a great place to start.

Share this blog post with your staff: 10 Etiquette Tips for Interacting with People with Disabilities.

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