High street disabled access progress slow

1st Mar 2017

High street access for disabled customers remains slow, a new survey from DisabledGo.com has revealed.

Nearly a quarter of fashion retailers lack step-free access and only 10% offer hearing loops to help deaf shoppers.

The findings follow on from a similar survey carried out in 2014, but the latest data shows little progress has been made.

"You would think that this, together with the legal obligations for every retailer to make reasonable adjustments, would have been a catalyst for change," says DisabledGo.com's Anna Nelson.

"To us, providing great service to disabled people should just be about providing great customer service."

The survey of 1,295 fashion retailers visited by DisabledGo.com also found that 60% of businesses did not provide staff with disability awareness training, a marginal improvement from two thirds in 2014.

Jo Causon, chief executive of The Institute of Customer Service, says the survey findings highlight the importance of creating the best possible customer experience for all, irrespective of their needs. "Great customer service is about accessibility across any channel,” emphasises Causon, “and in a time of economic uncertainty, organisations should be doing whatever they can to build lasting relationships with customers."

Making customer experiences easier was one of the six key areas identified by The Institute in the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index. The index also called for a greater understanding of the broader context of the customer’s relationship with an organisation.

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