Front-line staff, social access and inclusive experiences
The recovery from Covid-19 is challenging many businesses to rethink their services and the needs of their customers. Part of that is challenging the future role of staff in serving their customers. In this article, we explore this in the context of that often-forgotten group of customers, those with disabilities.
As part of a wider inclusive design project for a major London airport, we spoke to passengers with a range of impairments to understand the impact of social access on their airport journey. Exploring what they would ask of front line staff, their responses were simple:
The most helpful thing that staff could do for me is to have a good and positive attitude and listen to me. I'm the expert and I can tell them what help I need. - Becky
Interact with me as a human being. Be natural, relax. I'm just another customer who needs a bit more help. - Dan
The human touch and the sensitivity to understand someone's needs and the stress levels involved would be very useful. - Jon
So as many businesses rethink how they operate and interact with their customers, they will also be reimagining how the customer-staff interaction will go. There is a great opportunity, especially with the rise of digital services, to change but not lose that human touch that we have all been reminded has such value. But as we do this, the challenge is to consider that widest range of customers, including disabled customers, and to ensure that we deliver social as well as physical access.