Updated: Oct 20, 2021
Does your business strategy focus on gaining a competitive edge and increasing sales? If so, I have the solution!
Some people currently find it difficult to access your products and services. They may have tried to reach you online or in person, but there are barriers. It is quite likely that you are unaware that doing business with you isn’t easy. However, until you become aware and make changes, your business is missing out.
In the UK there are around 14million individuals with a disability. Their health condition or impairment can make it more challenging to undertake everyday tasks, including shopping, banking, eating out and socialising. That is unless businesses, like yours, make adjustments to meet their needs.
The Purple Pound
The purple Pound refers to the spending power of households with one or more disabled family member. The #PurplePound is currently estimated to be £274billion in the UK. By ignoring the needs of these potential customers, businesses are missing out on valuable sales.
Many organisations state that the cost of improving physical or digital accessibility is too high; this is short-sighted. Yes, there are costs involved, but make the right changes and your company could reap the rewards. If you are interested in increasing profits and customer loyalty, read on.
We Are Purple suggests that 75% of disabled customers have walked away from a UK business because of poor accessibility or customer service. In addition, inaccessible websites led to 4million online transactions being abandoned in 2019. The cost of this ‘click away’ was estimated to be £17.1billion. With the recent rapid shift to online, this has likely increased.
The data indicates that UK businesses could be benefitting from £2billion a month if inclusivity was a standard element in customer service.
So, with a focus on inclusivity, you could add value to your business and society. Take action now and gain a competitive advantage!
How to Improve Accessibility on your Premises
The need for social distancing forced many retailers to alter the interior layout and create more space. If you were one of them, stick with the changes. Wider aisles and one-way systems make it easier for every customer to move around. This includes those in a wheelchair, parents with pushchairs and people who remain cautious about being close to others.
Installing ramps and clear signage, using mobile payment devices, and having tables that are the right height for a person in a wheelchair to sit at, can make all the difference.
All public sector organisations are legally obliged to provide an accessible website and it is good practice for every company. To make it easier for website developers, there are established Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG2.1) to follow.
These guidelines rarely alter the design or branding of a website. They focus on enabling visitors to use tools or assisted technology that presents the information in formats that work for them. Further information is provided on the Government’s Helping People Access your Services web page.
The attitude of your employees plays a vital role in providing a positive customer experience for all. Individuals can actively avoid talking to people with disabilities through fear of saying the wrong thing or feeling uncomfortable. For this reason, training to raise awareness of disabilities should be mandatory in any customer serving role.
Accessibility in Action: Hoe Grange Holidays
When two Peak District farmers decided to diversify, they opted for self-catered holiday cabins. From the outset, they decided to make some of the cabins disability-friendly. Providing level access, wide doors and specialist equipment cost more than a standard fit-out. This was a financial risk, but so is every aspect of a new business venture.
Fortunately, the decision paid off; nearly 70% of Hoe Grange Holiday customers are specifically looking for accessible holiday accommodation. Having found what they are looking for, in a stunning location, guests are keen to recommend and return. This customer loyalty has supported steady business growth since 2010.
Accessibility: Make a Commit to Change
Every November, Purple Tuesday aims to raise awareness of how businesses can better meet the needs of disabled customers. Organisations are encouraged to sign up through the year, make a commitment and action change. Achievements are then celebrated on Purple Tuesday.
By valuing diversity and considering all customers in strategic business decisions, inclusivity is achievable. The Purple Pound could transform your business model and future success.