Does your business turn its back on one in five customers?
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Does your business turn its back on one in five customers?

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Does your business turn its back on one in five customers?

Anyone in business wants their brand to appeal to as wide an audience as possible - so excluding as many as one in five customers should be something you should address immediately. Right?

The truth is, 19% of working adults have a disability- and people with a disability have a spending power of an estimated £274 billion a year—but ask yourself this, is your company truly accessible? Or are you one of the many businesses that is losing the custom of 19% of the population?

To look at that number from a different angle- Excluding an audience of that size is the equivalent of owning a global product or service but not selling it to people with brown hair (19% of the world’s population). I’m sure the marketing department of any organisation would perceive that as a big problem! Yet way too many businesses in the UK have their back turned to the same percentage of potential customers.

So how can a business make a change?

Connecting with a customer base by becoming more inclusive begins by changing the culture of your company and the staff within it.

Consider the statistic we at Bascule frequently recite: Sixty-seven per cent of British people feel awkward around people with disabilities to the point at they either panic or avoid any kind of contact or interaction. Forty-eight per cent have also never started a conversation with person with a disability.

Could that perception of disability be impacting your customer service? Could it be affecting your client facing staff? Would a person with a disability feel comfortable in your workplace? - or even accept a job if it was offered? Obviously, it is hard to know- but disability awareness training for staff is a way you can be certain about removing barriers. And, by making a few simple changes to accommodate people with disabilities – most businesses see immediate benefits.

First impressions count- Inclusive customer service

Whilst searching on the Internet for the importance of customer interaction I Googled ‘The golden Rules of Customer Service’. The first thing I came across was this- Rule one- ‘Always Remember That Every Interaction Matters’.

Now, that’s really worth thinking about.

It reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a friend about their decision to have a very costly dental implant treatment. She explained that her choice of dentist was based almost entirely on the helpful approach, warmth, and friendliness of the receptionist on the telephone. She made the decision- even if it was subliminally- to choose that practice based on that single interaction.

Interactions are incredibly important to us as humans and can determine how we make decisions both in life and as consumers, so if customer facing staff could potentially display a sense of awkwardness to as many as one in five of your customers- don’t you think it’s time to change that?

Of course, disability awareness training should not be limited to customer facing staff- it should also be rolled out at all levels, and in all teams, including senior staff members and directors, so the message that inclusion is valued throughout the entire organisation, is clear.

Where do we start?

Raising awareness is, and always will be, the best place to start. Why? Well, because you can get everything else right- (accessible website, inclusive recruitment process, accessible buildings -and so on), but if the most important element of your business, (the people) lack an inclusive mindset or radiate discomfort around people with disabilities, other adjustments are pointless. An example of this that I often use, is the retail outlet, with an accessible changing room that is being used to store stock.

In theory, any change without awareness training is much like laying a place at the table for an uninvited guest.

Start now…

If you want to begin your journey of truly becoming an inclusive organisation- now is always the best time. At Bascule Disability Training we have adapted our service to provide training online, allowing trainees to connect via Zoom to engage in interactive, bespoke training modules, even whilst in lockdown.

We are seeing a huge take up from businesses that are seeing this as an opportunity to increase inclusivity and develop their environment to be supportive and accessible, breaking down barriers and building awareness.

So, take the time to improve disability awareness and book on one of our online dates- or commission a bespoke session for your whole team or certain departments of your organisation.  Don’t forget also that 1 in 5 people have disabilities and that 90% of those can be hidden from view, our next blog will look at people with disabilities within your existing staff.

The benefits of awareness will certainly reap rewards for your business.

To access the forthcoming dates for future Bascule Disability Training Dates, CLICK HERE