Businesses must adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act. People with disabilities are entering the workforce, living normal lives and spending money on consumer goods. Businesses must provide good access to disabled individuals.
Businesses can improve their image and customer satisfaction by making their business more accessible.
If you want to make changes today, you can immediately start to make your business more accessible.
1. Signage and Direction Help
Clear signage and direction help a lot. You need to make everything as easy as possible for customers. The International Symbol of Accessibility signage will provide an indication of handicap doors and entrances.
If you have an alternate door for disabled patrons to enter, signage signifying this is recommended.
Signage with braille is required for restrooms or permanent rooms that offer accessibility.
2. Accessible Seating
Seating is very difficult when the space is not accessible. I’ve had to sit on stools I could barely get on before. Tables that are too low are also a hassle because they don’t allow wheelchairs to fit under them properly.
A wheelchair needs space that is at least:
- 30″ wide
- 17″ deep
- 27″ high
If you provide this space underneath a table, it will provide more than enough room for wheelchair customers.
3. Accessible Counters
Counters that are accessible are a great benefit to disabled patrons. Lowered, accessible counters must be:
- Clear at all times
- Free of display items
Lowered counters make it easier for patrons to pay for their goods and interact with cashiers.
4. Adjust Door Closers
Doors can be very heavy. When older or disabled customers try to open heavier doors, they may have difficulty. You can adjust the door closers to make it easier to open these otherwise heavy doors.
5. Clear Aisles and Walkways
Wheelchairs are cumbersome, and it’s difficult for a person with a walker or crutches to get around a crowded place. If you can, keep the following clear for disabled patrons:
You’ll also need to keep bushes, flowers and other foliage clear so that wheelchairs, walkers and other walking aids can fit comfortably on the sidewalk. It’s important to keep these areas clear so that patrons don’t trip, fall or have difficulty maneuvering on the way to your store.
6. Welcome Service Animals
A lot of the restaurants and stores in my downtown area are providing water bowls for dogs outside of their stores. They’re also welcoming service animals for people suffering with PTSD or other disabilities.
You can even allow service animals for employees.
A dog-friendly store is a store that people talk about around town.
7. Train Employees on How to Act Properly
Employees may not realize that older patrons need to be talked to louder, or they may have issues assisting persons with disabilities. You can train employees on how to interact with disabled customers.
Interacting with disabled customers is a fine line between being helpful and insulting.
Your employees should follow interaction basics to help disabled customers in a respectable way.
Businesses that remain cautious and attentive of their disabled customers’ needs will be better able to meet the needs of all of their customers.