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Interacting with a disabled customer? Here are a few tips to keep in mind

It is not an easy task to run a business. It takes a lot of skills and patience to get the best out of your employees to ensure a smooth running of your business. But are you employees equipped enough to handle disabled customers? Most of them refuse to even start a conversation fearing about what and how they will talk to disabled customers!

What if we are offending them? Are we supposed to talk like that? These are some of the few questions that an employee has while dealing with a disabled customer. But it is not that difficult. Your disabled customer can get the best out of your business by sensitizing your staff a little bit!

Unni Maxx is a wheelchair user and disability rights activist from Kerala. He points out that employees at shops are usually friendly and helpful. But the whole point is, a disabled person must be able to do shopping by being independent.

It is high time that our businesses, mainly shops are made fully accessible and disabled friendly. There must be exclusive reserved parking spots at main entrances for disabled people, wheelchair ramps, disabled friendly bathrooms and also special customer care and support to name a few- Unni Maxx, Wheelchair user and disability rights activist.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while interacting with a disabled customer.

  • Be courteous and treat them as usual- Treat a disabled person just like how you treat someone with no disability. When you approach your customers, you are always polite. Introduce yourself and show your disabled customer the same love! Mainly, do not assume what a disabled person can or cannot do! Offer help only if they ask you to.
  • Face the person and talk- You might have a deaf customer who wants your help. Make sure that you do not talk loudly to their face. Most of them will be able to make out what you are trying to convey through your lip movements! So do not make yourself look awkward by doing unnecessary actions! Do not cover your mouth and speak.
  • Be patient- Sometimes, a disabled person might demand some extra time from you just like how any other customer would. If you do not understand what they are trying to say, ask them to repeat. Do not pretend like you understood what they tried to communicate!
  • Ensure that your business is accessible- It is extremely important that we break barriers to make public places more inclusive and accessible for disabled people. Is your business space disabled friendly? Make efforts to ensure that your space is easily accessible to people with all kinds of disabilities. This can include constructing wheelchair ramps, having Braille scripts and accessible toilets to name a few.
  • Understand that no disability is the same- According to Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, there are 21 types of disabilities. There are many more that are not mentioned in the act as well. The demand for each disability varies. Understand that and treat your customers according to their needs and requirements.
  • Hire a disabled employee- As we all know, opportunities for disabled people in government and private sectors are quite meagre. If you would love to have a disabled customer, then why not open your business doors to employ a disabled person as well?

ALSO READ: Working with a blind colleague? Here are a few tips to bond better

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