The figures that make you think about accessibility.

By Arnold.Fewell

November 22, 2013

As you read this blog I want you to look at two other people in the office, home or wherever you are.  The statistics show that one of you (one in three) will have a disability in your lifetime.  Another fact is that there are 17 million people in the UK (25% of the population) that either have a disability or are a carer.  In the world 18.5% of the population has a disability.

I find these figures staggering when the service provided to disabled people is usually well below the customer service level provided to non-disabled people.  The big question is why?

One answer may be found in research carried out by BT last year.  This showed that 65% of the general public would not go to the help of a disabled person even if they were having an epileptic fit.  The reasons given were:

1.       Fear of doing the wrong thing.

2.       Making matters worse.

3.       Fear of litigation if they did something wrong.

This shows that training staff is vitally important and has an important place in everyone’s training plan.  These attitudes must be changed if you want to provide outstanding customer service to all your guests and gain your share of the market for disabled people.  Remember it only takes one wheelchair user to sell a conference for 200 people.

I booked a meeting room recently as part of a mystery guest visit for a client.   Nobody asked if I or anyone else in the party had an impairment and if it had been a genuine booking then we would have been put in a very nice meeting room.  The problem would have been it was miles from the front door and a long way from an accessible toilet.  Not much good for anyone with a mobility impairment like myself.   

You need to provide regular and ongoing training and checking that your processes are fit for purpose.  It starts with what is on your website and then follows on to how the enquiry is handled.