Free tips for businesses on meeting disabled customers' needs

15 March 2019

With 1 in 5 customers or clients estimated to have a disability or long-term condition, Business Disability Forum is offering timely advice to businesses on delivering inclusive customer service.

Today we are publishing our Meeting the needs of disabled customers - 5 quick tips to mark World Consumer Rights Day today (15 March) and help businesses prepare for Disability Access Day tomorrow (16 March).

The quick tips are intended to challenge assumptions around disability and to remind customer facing staff of the importance of talking to customers about their needs and preferences.

Meeting the needs of disabled customers - quick tips:

  • Never assume the existence or absence of a disability.
  • Always ask the customer how you can best assist them.
  • Remember, to meet the customer’s needs you may need to do things differently, but the standard of service you provide should remain the same.
  • 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.

The pointers are taken from Welcoming Disabled Customers, a comprehensive and practical guide for businesses on delivering inclusive customer service, produced by Business Disability Forum. The guide aims to help businesses harness the estimated £249 billion spending power of disabled customers and clients.

Welcoming Disabled Customers was developed in collaboration with businesses, disability organisations and people with conditions covered in the guide, and with support from Merlin Entertainments plc, and was launched at LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort, last week (7 March).

Diane Lightfoot said:

“We believe that disabled customers should be able to choose how and where they spend their money not just on World Consumer Rights Day, but on every day of the year. But with most disabilities not being immediately visible, the needs of disabled customers often go unnoticed and unmet, by customer facing staff.

“We hope the advice we are providing today will help to dispel myths and remind frontline staff of the importance of providing all customers and clients with good customer service. As the guide says ‘..to meet the customer’s needs you may need to do things differently, but the standard of service you provide should remain the same.’ And, we know that when you get things right for disabled people, you get them right for everyone.”

Download Meeting the needs of disabled customers – quick tips and find out more about our Welcoming Disabled Customers guide.

Welcoming Disabled Customers has been developed as part of the Business Disability Forum Going Places campaign. The campaign aims to break down the barriers that disabled people face in their day-to-day lives, both as consumers and in the workplace. #DisabilitySmart