Opinions

Access is everything

Written by: Gavin Neate, CEO & Founder, Neatebox

Published: 27/06/2019

'Welcome' is a digital aid to building relationships between customer and business.

Access is everything. But what is “access”? Does our understanding of the word, and its connotations, sometimes hinder us from addressing the real issues connected with the journey and arrival at a given destination?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘access’ as:
The means or opportunity to approach or enter a place.
“the staircase gives access to the top floor”
synonyms: entrance, entry, way in, means of entry, ingress; More

“…to approach or enter a place” – it makes us think of access as purely a physical challenge, doesn’t it? Well, obviously, for many it is. An absence of a ramp, easy to operate door, or a light switch placed out of reach can result in a disabled person turning around to leave the venue, never to return. However, access is also very much a social issue. We don’t have to think much further than the last time we were made to feel unwelcome or were refused entry into a nightclub to understand how frustrating this can be.

Sadly, 75% of disabled people feel they have had poor service or been discriminated against. With a spending power of £249 billion, surely it is time we started placing a greater emphasis on our social interactions and the act of warmly welcoming a person to our establishments?

Of course, ‘welcoming’ behaviour is something we expect from our customer service teams. We hire them with this in mind. However, it is vital that the training of staff and the specific requirements of those with certain conditions and needs is given greater attention. Yet, this level of training can be hard to achieve, with many sectors experiencing a regular high turnover of staff. So, is it any wonder that social access and incidents of discrimination are never far from our social media feeds?

Here at Neatebox we are combining accessible mobile phone technology with GPS (location awareness) and providing customer service teams with top tips, links to further training and a message from their visitor immediately prior to their arrival in our new Welcome App system. In doing so not only are we able to improve the visitor’s experience, but we are also able to support the service team and help build relationships between customer and business – perhaps you could say even changing the face of retail, leisure, business and travel.

So, when you are asked if your business has good access take a moment to think not only about the entrance to your building, but also the empathetic greeting your visitors receive from the first member of staff they talk to as this is the very foundation on which your future relationships will depend.

“With such a massive drive to ensure that disabled people have the same opportunities of employment as everyone else we are dedicated to reducing the anxiety that many feel when they attend their local job centres or new place of employment. With this in mind, we are talking with DWP and the Scottish Government with regards to how ‘Welcome’ can reduce this #ArrivalAnxiety for both the visitor and the jobcentre staff themselves.”

You can find out more about Neatebox’s award-winning customer service system at neatebox.com (this link will take you away from our website), or contact them directly at hello@neatebox.com.

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