15, 20, 26. What’s the meaning behind these numbers and why do the matter to your brand’s customer experience? Today, I’m going to dig into these numbers and we’ll discuss why your customer experience and customer service strategies have to address them. So, lets get started.
- 15% – The percentage of the world’s population that has some form of disability, per the World Health Organization’s “World Report on Disability 2011.”
- 20% – The approximate percentage of all Americans that have at least one disability, per the United States Census.
- 26% – The percent of adults in the United States that have some form of disability, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Now that I’ve outlined what these numbers actually are, we need to look at how they impact your brand’s strategy for delivering exceptional customer experience and service.
Remember, your goal, as a brand, is to build and foster long-term, meaningful relationships with your customers. Relationships that will adapt to your customer’s changing wants, needs, life stages, etc. As I mentioned in a previous post, the interactions between you and your customer is a relationship. There is give and take… but only if you’ve set yourself up for success.
When you look at the numbers, this is a significant subset of your customer base that is often presented with barriers to making a purchase, consuming content, getting basic services, etc. Those barriers can be physical, such as not having a ramp to enter your establishment. It could be a digital barrier, such as a website lacking the proper formatting/coding for someone’s screen reader to read and interact with the site. It could be a servicing barrier, such as a call center ill-equipped to support customers with varying abilities.
So, how do you ensure you’re addressing the needs of all of your customers?
If you’re a large company, you can seek out the assistance of a consultant or vendor to do an audit of your facilities, digital properties, call centers, etc. to determine where you are in your level of accessibility. Once you have a baseline, you can work with that consultant or vendor to prioritize addressing the most critical items first.
That said, there is only so far a baseline audit can take you. So, its important to solicit feedback from your customers as you make changes to ensure you’re moving in the right direction. Also, the earlier in the process you solicit that feedback, the more you’ll be able to avoid costly revisions further down the development cycle.
What if you’re a small company? Or a single entrepreneur? If working with a consultant or vendor to audit your business isn’t an option, you can still solicit customer feedback through surveys, focus groups, etc. Sometimes, asking customers how you can improve their experience and getting that feedback provides a wealth of information you can use to start addressing the gaps in your customer experience/service. And while some of the feedback may be unpleasant or down right painful to hear, its all information you can use to improve the relationship with your customers.