Purple Tuesday is the UK's first accessible shopping day, established to recognise the importance and needs of disabled consumers, raise awareness of the value of the Purple Pound, and promote inclusive shopping.
SecuriGroup is proud to support its retail clients in their positive engagement with people with disabilities, and the organisation is keen to do its part to raise awareness of the non-profit event.
Purple Tuesday isn't just a one-day shopping event (like Black Friday, for example). The aim of the day is to increase awareness of the value and needs of disabled consumers and encourage sustainable changes in business practices that improve customer experience over the long term.
As a people facing industry, and as one of the first points of contact for the public, customer service is a key skill within the security industry. As such, it is important to understand how to communicate effectively with all customers.
Almost 20% of UK adults – 13 million people – have a disability, yet recent research by Purple shows that disability can be a communications barrier as people are afraid of causing offence.
This research shows that the fear of unintentionally offending a disabled customer by saying or doing the 'wrong thing' can lead to them avoiding a first conversation as it feels like the less risky thing to do.
This is not because we don't want to be helpful, or you are prejudiced, but merely because we don't feel confident that we won't say the wrong thing.
To help people to engage with people with disabilities, Purple have put together a short guide which is designed to remove this barrier and encourage people to be confident when interacting with disabled customers.
Practical hints and tips from Purple:
There are a range of little things you can do which would have a big impact on the shopping experience of disabled customers. Here are some examples:
1. "Hello, can I help you?"
Start by saying "Hello, can I help you?" – it sounds simple, but it means a lot as many people are afraid to start a conversation with a disabled person.
Fear of unintentionally offending, by saying or doing the wrong thing, can lead to not engaging at all, which is poor customer service.
2. Noisy Environment
If the shop floor is noisy, consider stepping aside to a quieter place to start that conversation. People with mental health impairments or learning difficulties may find too much noise difficult.
3. Eye Contact
If you're talking to a disabled person, make eye contact and speak to them, rather than staring at the floor or looking at the person they are with.
4. Blind or Visually Impaired
Let a blind person reach out for your arm to guide them around the store, rather than you giving them your arm, and help them by describing the items they might not be able to see but want to buy.
5. Basic Sign Language
Learn how to say 'hello' and 'goodbye' in British Sign Language. This is very easy to do, and can mean the world to a deaf person.
Interesting Facts & Figures
- Almost 20% of UK adults (13 million people) in the UK have a disability - that's a lot of disabled customers!
- 80% of disabled people have 'invisible' or hidden impairments. So four in every five disabled customers that come into your store or visit your company website may need additional support from you but this might not be obvious immediately
- Only 5% of disabled people use a wheelchair
- 75% of disabled people and their families have left a store or website because of poor customer service and/or accessibility issues
- The collective spending power of disabled people and their families (known as the 'Purple Pound') is valued at £249 billion per year. That is a lot of disposable income to be spent in your store or online
- Health conditions/disabilities can fluctuate, so the support a person might need on one day could be different on another!
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