We are proud to be a Purple Tuesday 2020 participant - promoting their change programme for organisations of all sizes, from all sectors, to work towards the common goal of improving the customer experience for disabled people 365 days a year.

As a charity that helps children with disabilities achieve greater independence, this is something we are passionate about. We are also proud to be a Disability Confident Employer and are committed to improving the customer experience for disabled customers in our retail shops. 

Here is some useful information extracted from Purple Tuesday's 'Hello, can I help you? resource. This covers how companies and organisations can improve the customer experience for people with disabilities.

Did you know? 

  • 15% of the global population (over a billion people) have a disability - that’s a lot of disabled customers!
  • 80% of disabled people have ‘invisible’ or hidden impairments. So, four in
    every five disabled customers that come into your shop or visit your
    company website may need additional support from you, but this might not
    be obvious immediately.
  • Only 5% of disabled people use a wheelchair.
  • 75% of disabled people and their families have left a shop or website
    because of poor customer service and/or accessibility issues.
  • The collective spending power of disabled people and their families (known
    as the ‘Purple Pound’) is valued at £2.25 trillion worldwide per year. That is a
    lot of disposable income to be spent in your shop or online.
  • Health conditions and disabilities can fluctuate, so the support a person
    might need one day could be different on another!

The principles of good customer service

  • Treat customers as you would want to be treated.
  • Stand in the shoes of customers to understand their perspective. Be proactive in providing support rather than reactive.
  • If using the phone or email, return enquiries promptly and politely, no matter how big or small the matter.
  • Learn from your experiences of interacting with lots of different customers and ‘lock away’ those nuggets of good practice.

Things you should say

  • Refer to disabled people or a person with a disability rather than the disabled or handicapped person.
  • Avoid phrases like ‘suffers from’ which suggests discomfort, constant pain and a sense of hopelessness. Sometimes there is chronic pain, but the preference is ‘living with’ dementia or a health condition, etc.
  • Try to avoid associating negative stereotypes with disability. For example, ‘deaf to our pleas’ or ‘blind drunk’.
  • People with mental health issues have a condition rather than being ‘crazy’, ‘mad’ or ‘sad’.
  • People without a disability are generally referred to as non-disabled rather than able-bodied (which implies something better).

Read the full 'Hello, can I help you?' PDF