Serving Customers with Disabilities: How Erie Custom Signs Can Help
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When it comes to serving customers with disabilities, many businesses miss the mark. Often, they don’t consider those who can’t navigate a building or interact with different parts of the business without additional help. This means they may fail to accommodate individuals with limited vision or mobility issues. As a result, they prevent some people from taking advantage of their products or services.
Whether your business is open to the public or you frequently work with those that are, you’re probably wondering how to avoid making the same mistakes. The good news is there are plenty of ways to increase accessibility and improve the customer experience for those with disabilities. And one of them just happens to be Erie Custom Signs’ specialty—ADA signage.
But before diving into the how let’s talk about the why…
Why Serving Customers with Disabilities Better Is Crucial
By law, U.S. businesses that welcome the general population are required to follow ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) rules and regulations. Specifically, they must adhere to Title III of the ADA, which applies to public accommodations and commercial facilities. All the guidelines outlined for Title III entities are designed to prevent discrimination against those with disabilities. Essentially, they provide the minimum requirements for what accommodations businesses must make.
So, to sum it up, ensuring those with disabilities have equal access is a legal issue. It’s about fulfilling the organization’s responsibilities in terms of the ADA. Businesses that don’t comply with federal ADA rules (along with state and local) can face heavy fines and lawsuits.
However, there’s more to it than that. Avoiding the financial repercussions of ADA noncompliance isn’t the only reason businesses should aim to do more.
Here’s why serving customers with disabilities better is necessary and beneficial:
- It fosters a culture of inclusion and empathy.
- It keeps individuals with disabilities safe.
- It paints a positive picture of the business.
- It opens up a wider pool of potential customers.
- It improves interactions between staff and customers.
- It increases customer satisfaction.
- It helps enhance business practices overall.
As you can see, there’s a lot to be gained by ensuring customers with disabilities have the same access as everyone else. And there are several ways businesses can deliver a better experience.
How Businesses Can Improve the Customer Experience for Those with Disabilities
Improving the customer experience for those with disabilities doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, a business can start serving customers with disabilities better just by making some minor adjustments to the facility and the way they approach visitors. If you’re looking to make changes within your own business or provide additional value to clients, you should keep the following tips in mind:
- Be respectful in every interaction.
Customers with disabilities are just that—customers. And businesses should treat each one with the same level of respect in every interaction. Staff members should ask if assistance is needed, listen to the customer, and respect their wishes. Additionally, those who interact with visitors regularly should be mindful of mobility devices (when present) and speak directly to an individual instead of their interpreter (when present).
- Let service animals do their job.
Part of serving customers with disabilities involves properly handling service animals that are brought into the building. It’s important to remember that these animals are there to provide support. Staff members should not pet or maintain eye contact with a service animal, as it can be distracting and prevent the animal from doing their job.
Note also that staff members may only ask if an animal is a service animal because of a disability and what task the animal has been trained to perform.
- Make sure the building is accessible.
Although there are rules in place for ensuring accessibility, every building is different. This means one business may require more features than another. So, business owners and building managers should review the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, follow best practices, and consult an expert to make sure their bases are covered. In some cases, an element may not be required but would make things much easier for those with visual impairments or mobility issues.
How Displays from Erie Custom Signs Come into Play
As mentioned previously, a big part of serving customers with disabilities is prioritizing accessibility. Making reasonable accommodations for those with limited vision, for example, is vital. And that’s where signage from Erie Custom Signs comes into play. Our team produces a variety of ADA-compliant signs to fit different spaces and markets.
Here are just a few examples of how we help businesses of all types better serve their customers with disabilities:
- Signage for assisted living facilities: Assisted living facilities and nursing homes have a great need for ADA-compliant signage. Their residents are the very people who are most likely to need them. People in assisted living facilities often have visual impairments or use wheelchairs, so ADA signage can help send them in the right direction.
- Room number signs: Room number signs are frequently used in schools and hospitals. Having ADA-compliant signage is especially important in hospitals, where many people with disabilities are often congregated. But schools, too, are major community gathering places, especially in small towns, so it’s important to have ADA-compliant signage to ensure accessibility for all people who visit the premises.
- Restroom signs: Restroom signs are another must-have for public buildings. For starters, ADA-compliant displays are required near restrooms because they’re used to label a permanent space. But more than that, they help customers with disabilities find the appropriate restroom with ease.
- Building directory signs: Directory signs are most commonly used in malls and office buildings with multiple rooms and levels. Members of the public and employees alike will benefit from signs in these areas. However, it’s worth noting that directories don’t need to meet ADA sign specifications.
- Elevator signs: All public buildings with elevators should have corresponding signs in place. These displays can inform customers of where the elevator is located, what level they’re on, and what to do in case of a fire. They also showcase a business’s commitment to safety, which customers with disabilities appreciate.
This is just a sample of the variety of signs we provide. Still, it demonstrates the options we have available for businesses interested in serving customers with disabilities better using signage.
Going the extra mile in serving customers with disabilities is worth the effort. Businesses can look forward to several benefits, such as higher customer satisfaction. Plus, it doesn’t take much to make an impact. Even ensuring that the correct signs are installed can go a long way.
Make no mistake—ADA signage is not just a luxury for businesses. It’s necessary for any business that wishes to fully comply with the ADA and provide a better experience for all customers, including those with visual impairments.
As a wholesale provider of ADA signage of all varieties, Erie Custom Signs is well-positioned to help other sign shops and businesses in various fields and industries serve customers with disabilities better. We understand all the regulations associated with ADA signage and can quickly produce large orders of signage for sign shops that wish to resell these signs to customers in need of them. To check out our selection of prefabricated signage, visit our e-commerce store today.