Point of view: Services for customers with disabilities / specific access requirements
Imagine that you are at the job interview / offer your services as a consultant to a tourism service chain company. It is likely that your future employer will want to know “what is good customer service?”
Your potential employer wants to know what, in your opinion, the quality customer service is, what it means to you and how you would like to qualitatively serve customers. Being a tourism specialist, you will mention such features of good customer service as:
- Good knowledge of the product/service
- The individual approach to each customer’s needs and expectations
- The effective customer service
But what if you were asked – What is good service of customers with specific access requirements?
Can you say that good customer service = good service of customers with specific access requirements?
Yes, because everyone, including you, has individual/specific access requirements.
Some needs/access requirements are easier to recognize and respond to by following one`s life and professional experience: almost in every catering establishment, a child who cannot reach a table will be provided with a special chair.
On the other hand, to help an adult in a wheelchair to reach a table ,
one should have the knowledge of specific access requirements and be able to apply appropriate solutions.
People may have specific access requirements due to temporary health problems or some specific environmental factors that, taken individually, are of no importance, but combined may result in significant limitations. This is especially true for elderly people. Many people with specific access requirements may be part of any group of ordinary, non-disabled customers, (e.g. everybody who use glasses to read a menu).
Our ability to use certain services is determined by our age, individual features or both
A fact: 70% of disabilities are hidden
Possessing the comprehensive knowledge of the particularities of a product/service and combining this with the knowledge of disability and specific access requirements, you will be able to:
- decide, if a product/service is suitable for a person with specific access requirements;
- find appropriate solutions;
- if necessary, make appropriate adjustments;
- ensure service accessibility for a wider range of customers.
The individual attitude towards a customer, while serving people with specific access requirements, allows you:
- to recognise the needs of a particular customer;
- to find out what experience a customer expects from your institution;
- to understand customer`s potential fears or, on the contrary, their overconfidence;
- to find mutually acceptable solutions.
The effective service of customers with disabilities or specific access requirements includes:
- finding appropriate and timely solutions to the customers` needs;
- offering the service that has been announced or promised (being reliable).
The service personnel, who don`t have adequate knowledge of disabilities and/or specific access requirements, often ask the following questions:
- How to detect the specific access requirements of a customer?
- What information should be provided when introducing a product?
- How to satisfy specific individual needs and effectively solve arising problems?
Treatment of each customer as of a complex of specific access requirements, along with the wish to know and satisfy the customer helps to avoid prejudices, fears and frustrations for all the parties concerned – business owners, service personnel, and also customers. The International Classification System of Functioning, Disability and Health is presented below. The understanding about the features of the generalised groups of persons with disabilities, their limitations and possible solutions to problems will help any representative of the tourism sector and any customer develop the experience of good and accessible service.