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Types of Accessibility part 3

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Providing as much detail as possible for your customers about the accessibility of your business is essential to ensure your customer experience is a fully inclusive one. A great way to share all this information in one place is within what is known as an access guide.

A good access guide provides a full description of the customer journey for any potential customer to be able to access your products or services. It can be produced in a variety of formats so that your customers can easily find and consume the information, for example a PDF document that sits on your website or social media channels or a selection of narrated images that can be easily viewed.

It is used to highlight accessibility information for all your customers, but will in particular, provide details for anyone with additional access needs. An access guide can be developed for any business, be that a restaurant, a hotel, museum, cinema or regular service, basically any business that has customer or clients visiting their premises.

It can contain all the basic business information such as the premises address, contact details and best communication channels. Then it should delve deeper to the often overlooked minutia, is there step to enter your premises? If yes, how high is the step? Creating an access guide is a great opportunity to go through the physical customer journey and ask yourself what the experience is like for your customers? Even better still, go out and ask your customers!

Don’t be afraid to start with just the basic customer information and add to this over time. Every additional access detail you provide can help improve your customers’ experience of accessing your business. You can over time develop a more comprehensive guide with all the physical details such door widths, counter heights and the distance between displays or tables.

Building up an access guide will also help you recognise and plan for how you can improve your accessibility. Do you provide customer guides or menus in alternative formats such as braille? Does your establishment have any a hearing loops and if so, where are they located? Learning the needs of all your potential customers will help you understand how you can provide a more inclusive customer experience.

So think about that full customer journey. Work with your team to map out how all your potential customers might access your business. Then draft a document that shows the different transport options to reach you, the best parking facilities including any disabled parking bays or drop off areas, and all the available onsite facilities that customers can benefit from whilst with you.

Image of a accessible parking space

And it’s not just information regarding the physical details that can be included in an access guide. You should also include descriptions on how to book accessible tickets, rooms or tables. Again, think about that full customer process. How accessible and simple can you make this? Remember if ever unsure what is working well or not, talk to your customers, get their feedback on your accessibility!

Finally, as spoken about two weeks ago, customer service and support will often be the differentiator between a bad or good customer experience. If there is a single staff member or team that solely deals with accessible enquiries, then you should provide contact details for them so that it is easily attainable by customers.

A lot of people remain unsure about what is involved with accessibility and how services can be put into place to help meet people’s enhanced access requirements. Hopefully this overview series on accessibility will allow you to understand how varied the topic of accessibility is and some of the ways to incorporate measures to support your customers as much as possible.

Please get in touch if you have made any positive steps to be more accessible and inclusive and would like us to share your story. Even the simplest steps can make a huge difference to providing a more inclusive customer experience.

Follow Claire D'All:

I graduated from the University of Dundee in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Applied Computing. During my studies the field that I had a great interest in was web development however since graduating I have also become very interested in accessibility. I was born with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy and since the age of 3 I have used a wheelchair 24/7. Due to my disability I have always come across problems regarding accessibility, which is why it’s such a passion for me.

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