The world has been largely inaccessible to people living with disabilities. There have been laws set to ensure that people living with disabilities can live normal and fuller lives. However, many of them struggle to keep up with non-disabled counterparts to this day. And their struggle is not because of the lack of skills. There is still so much that can and should be done to ensure that people living with disabilities have access to the same public services.
Businesses, both small and large, are obligated by law to make reasonable accommodations for customers with disabilities. Those that do not comply are at risk of being sued. There have been numerous instances where a customer living with disabilities brought a business to court for failing to accommodate them and their needs.
Moreover, people with disabilities are paying customers, too. Refusing to accommodate them would be like losing paying customers.
Here are ways businesses can be more accessible to all customers.
Make Your Store More Welcoming to Wheelchairs
A wheelchair ramp will provide access for people in wheelchairs or those unable to climb stairs. This is especially important in the case of stores that have more than one level, where people can find certain items on specific floors. A simple platform lift may also prove helpful when people living with disabilities want to shop at establishments above ground level.
These modifications should not strain the budget too much, even for small businesses. By law, companies need not pay out-of-pocket for added accommodations like these; they are required only to follow accessibility standards set by law, which often include following rules regarding counter heights and proper aisle widths.
Accessible Parking Spaces
It is essential to provide safe, accessible parking spaces for people living with disabilities. This will ensure easy access to the business and prevent customers from being blocked by other cars trying to park. Some companies put up signs that say “van accessible parking” or “handicapped parking.”
These are not required but help points out where these spaces are located. If there is no sign indicating this type of spot, you can show customers where they are located.
Offer Services That Meet Customers’ Needs
Businesses should also modify their services according to the needs of customers living with disabilities. For instance, if a customer needs an interpreter who speaks American Sign Language (ASL), make sure that at least one of your staff knows ASL. For restaurants, a menu that has braille writing can be beneficial. Meanwhile, public facilities such as restrooms should have wider stalls that include levers instead of knobs.
If you’re unsure what accommodations would be best for your customers, it’s okay to ask. Consult with experts for insights and advice on making your business accessible.
If you are not sure what accommodations to provide, consulting with someone who has disabilities can be helpful. Many people living with disabilities are eager to help because they want your business to succeed and for this world to be accessible for them too.
Equip Website with Accessibility Features
Your website should be accessible to people living with disabilities, too. When developing your website, ask web design services to add accessibility features for people with disabilities. Some of these include alt tags that explain images, subtitles, or video transcripts and links that describe what they are linking to.
Making these changes does carry a cost with it, especially if your business needs to hire outside assistance to make sure that everything is accessible. However, the benefits of catering to customers with disabilities outweigh the costs.
Train Your Staff
Train your staff on how to better communicate and assist customers with disabilities. Your staff is on the front lines, so they must know how to make your establishment more accomodating to people with disabilities. Sometimes, people can patronize a person living with disabilities without them knowing. It’s essential not to assume what the customer wants, so it pays to have staff ask questions about what will make their experience more enjoyable.
Being more accommodating will lead to better business opportunities in the long run. Having accessible stores is an investment that can benefit positive word of mouth and repeat customers living with disabilities. By following the law, you are also protecting yourself from legal implications if something goes wrong when providing services or accommodations.
Businesses need not provide special treatment for accommodation for customers living with disabilities. Make sure you follow these laws by learning more about how your business can be more accessible today!