Disabled sign

Comprehensive new guidance on how retailers can better serve disabled customers and harness their £249bn of spending power in the process has been launched by the Business Disability Forum.

With one in five customers estimated to have a disability or long-term condition, the Welcoming Disabled Customers guide is designed to give businesses the confidence to help meet the needs of disabled shoppers, without the fear of getting it wrong.

Customer-facing staff are offered a raft of practical advice and up-to-date information on the requirements and preferences of customers with different conditions and disabilities.

This includes advice on communication needs, access issues and making adjustments, as well as general pointers on providing good customer service.

Tips on how to improve customer service for retailers include:

•             Never assume the existence or absence of a disability.

•             Always ask the customer how you can best assist them.

•             Be aware of accessible facilities and equipment available, such as ramps and hearing loops.

•             Be prepared to offer and spend extra time with someone who might need it.

Business Disability Forum CEO Diane Lightfoot said: “Disabled people want to be able to access the same services, products and facilities as everyone else and have a right to do so.

“Sometimes, making your service accessible may mean offering it a different way, but the level of service you provide should not change.

“Welcoming Disabled Customers is here to help customer facing staff be proactive and have the confidence to begin conversations with customers about their needs without the fear of getting it wrong. With 83% of all disabilities being acquired rather than present at birth, many of us are likely to be affected by disability at some point in our lives.

“The majority of disabilities are not immediately visible, so ensuring your business is as inclusive as possible is not only the right thing to do, but also makes good business sense. Delivering better customer service for disabled customers, means better customer service for everyone.”

For further information on the guide click here