If you look throughout history, there have always been businesses who are inclusive to people with different abilities and needs. Unfortunately, in the last fifty years, a large number of businesses have focused on funneling profits to the top, rather than benefitting their employees and customers. This results in marketing and catering to the largest common denominator. As such, people with mobility needs outside the perceived norm tend to get left out.
Below are some ways that improving accessibility and overall inclusivity benefits business and society in general, as well as some tips for implementation.
More Potential Customers
Despite lack of visibility and representation in advertising and media, mobility issues are incredibly common. According to the National Institute of Health, over 2.2 million Americans rely on a wheelchair for daily mobility. Over 6.5 million use a cane, walker, or crutches. This doesn’t include the people who utilize mobility devices temporarily after major surgeries or illnesses. It also doesn’t include the families of these people, many of whom are more likely to frequent businesses who do not exclude their loved ones.
By being considerate of a wide array of needs, companies can be more welcoming and increase their potential customer base. Ways to do this include widening aisles, choosing floorplans that are easy to navigate, installing multiple wide doors to avoid bottlenecks, and ensuring that bathrooms are spacious and wheelchair accessible. Some of these items have legal regulations attached, while others do not.
Better Customer Experience
Customers frequent businesses that make things convenient. Offering services like delivery, quick in-store pickup can really help make your business more accessible to people of all abilities. Even making improvements on other business processes like making it easier for customers to pay monthly fees on time will improve the customer experience all around, including for those that have issues with mobility.
The better the customer experience is for people of all abilities, the more likely customers are to recommend a business to others.
A More Thoughtful Workforce
When employees are trained in empathy, they’ll provide better service to all customers. Businesses should Include sensitivity workshops in the training process. They can also Invite prominent social workers to speak to employees, or include their writings and recommendations in training packets. Regularly asking for suggestions for areas of improvement is also a great sign.
When people feel like employees really care about making their experience better, they’re more likely to return and encourage others to patronize a business.
These are just some of the ways that making businesses more accessible can help the bottom line. Do you have other suggestions for businesses, or tips for people looking for signs that a business is accessible to a wide range of abilities? Let us know in the comments!
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