It's Time to Break The Cycle of Bad Customer Service for People With Disability

Time and time again, we see incidents of a disabled person being treated poorly by staff in all types of venues. And even though it is great to see quick responses by the businesses and staff training being implemented almost instantly, these actions usually don't mean the end of bad customer service incidents. Most seem to be stuck in a cycle of Incident - Complaint - Apology - Training - Time Passes - Incident. 

Staff turnover, lack of training refreshers or nervousness in interacting with disabled people are only a few reasons why we keep seeing negative news articles of bad customer experiences of people with disability. And as a market segment worth £249bn, businesses cannot afford to keep excluding customers with disabilities from buying their products or using their services. 

The Cycle of Bad Customer Service: Incident - Complaint - Apology - Training - Time Passes - Incident

The Cycle of Bad Customer Service: Incident - Complaint - Apology - Training - Time Passes - Incident


Two Parts to Accessibility

When people talk about accessibility, they very often only refer to physical access. While it is very important to ensure that all parts of the building can be accessed by everybody, there is another part to accessibility: Attitude. The most accessible building in the world becomes meaningless if people with disability aren’t treated equally inside. And this comes down to the attitudes of staff and their understanding of disabilities. Training is essential but employees need to stay engaged and build confidence to interact with people with different disabilities.

Technology to Empower

In recent years, an increasing number of technological innovations have not only aided disabled people to become more independent but also built awareness of the various disabilities. AR/VR kits are used to demonstrate the effects of disability, screen readers make smartphones and computers completely accessible and apps support communication and navigation when disabled people are out and about. The role of technology is becoming more and more important but only if these technologies are not trying to the be solution itself but also empower a positive shift in society.


Building Staff Confidence

A lot of times the fear of not knowing what to say or of doing something wrong leads customer service staff to avoid the situation and ignore the disabled shopper. We believe that the key to breaking the cycle of bad customer service is increasing the confidence of staff to interact with a disabled person. We created the Welcome platform to do just that. By giving the staff advance notice of a person's visit and providing details about their needs and a few tips to support the interaction, we ensure that the team has all the information that they need - when they need it.

And this system will not only support disabled people who are using Welcome but any other person with a similar disability who is using the venue. The staff will receive regular training refreshers which will help build their awareness and knowledge of the different disabilities. 

By embracing the Purple Pound (£249 billion in the UK alone), businesses can tap into a new and growing customer segment while at the same time doing their part to make society more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities.

Whilst we are great bakers and a great business, we are also delighted to be the first bakery in the world using the ‘Welcome’ customer service system which was only launched last year making us, along with Edinburgh Airport, The Scottish Government, Jenners, DoubleTree Hilton and St Andrews Links Golf Club, amongst the first to benefit from it. And in today’s increasingly online world with High Streets under threat, it really isn’t enough being just an amazing baker anymore. It is of vital importance we ensure that everyone has equal access to our services.
— Jennifer from Pinnies & Poppyseeds