We know that customer service can make or break any customer’s experience at any company. But did you realise this is particularly important for disabled people? Disabled people share their experiences with each other and we at Enhance the UK regularly get messages from disabled people about the poor customer service they receive. There are some simple steps you can take to ensure your workforce is fully inclusive and giving great service to all of your customers. Be mindful that shopping, travelling or visiting a venue is stressful for many people, this is often enhanced when it comes to your disabled customers.
Here are some top tips and advice on how to ensure you’re giving all of your customers the service they require and expect, and guaranteeing that your workers are not falling into the trap of making silly mistake that can sometimes have dire repercussions. Remember that great customer service often leads to positive reviews and most importantly – repeat business!
Practical advice on good customer service
We know that people want to do the right thing and particularly in the service industry, they have good intentions. But it’s easy to get yourself tied up in knots about what to say or do, and how to act. The most important thing to remember is that good customer service relies on your workers understanding the needs of all of their customers. You should ensure that every customer who walks through your doors, gets the same great service. The only thing that changes is their approach and being flexible and understanding that not all customers’ needs are the same.
Simple adjustments make a big difference, being welcoming and ensuring you go above and beyond to make sure that your customers’ needs are met. This could be as simple as opening a door to help someone who needs extra help or showing you’re welcoming and accepting of assistance dogs. Each customer needs to be treated as an individual and there’s nothing wrong with simply asking what extra help they might need.
No two people are the same
We are all different, everyone is unique. This also goes for your customers who have a disability. You can’t ring fence everyone into the same bracket. It’s important to remember that people’s requirements will differ depending on their disability. Don’t presume that because one customer required help in some way that the next disabled person will require the same assistance. Some people are more independent than others, and like things to be done in a particular way. Never be presumptuous and simply ask what help they require.
Knowledge is everything!
Get your workers to know your place of business inside and out. Making sure that your staff know where the accessible toilet is, making sure access to a lift is easy and direct. If you have induction loops – do your staff know what they are and how they work? Do you need extra ramps to access certain areas? Giving your own place of business an access audit would be good practice, as this will ensure that your staff can fully understand all areas of your business.
Have a plan in place to ensure that new staff also follow these guidelines, as there’s nothing worse than having all staff on the ball, only to discover that one of your new starters lets your company down, simply because they haven’t been given the same training as everyone else. Make it a part of your induction, and keep the staff regularly updated on any changes in your workplace.
Knowing what your customer might ask
If you follow the above protocols, then chances are your staff will anticipate many of the common questions that your customers might ask on a regular basis. It’s great when you get to know your customers, and understanding and remembering their needs will allow you to anticipate and pre-empt any of the questions or queries that might come your way.
Getting your team together on a regular basis to discuss the type of questions you get asked, will allow for knowledge sharing and make sure all of your workers are on the same page. We can’t stress enough how this will make your customers’ experience so much less stressful, and also give your staff the confidence they need to handle any situation that is thrown at them.
Invest in training
If you’re a team leader, manager or company owner, then how about investing in some disability awareness training? If you work for an organisation and you think training would be beneficial to you then speak to your manager and see if it’s possible.
We offer online training that can be completed at your workers own pace, and will give them the confidence they need to handle any situation that might come their way. By following these simple steps, you’ll ensure that best practice is followed throughout your organisation. This will then lead to positive reviews and repeat business. People talk and willingly share their good experiences, just as much as the negative ones. Take the right approach, and give your customers the fabulous customer service they deserve.