November 1, 2016

Would your business pass the ‘Accessibility Test’?

Consider this scenario for a moment: You run a large business. Most of your customers have access all the time, whenever they want. But for one group of customers every time they come to your door they find that it’s locked. The only way that these customers can gain access is to make a special arrangement with you in advance. How do you think they feel? Unfairly disadvantaged? Ready to take their business elsewhere?

My guess is you answered yes to these questions. In fact, most businesses would go out of their way to avoid treating their customers like this. The truth, however, is that many are doing so without even knowing it.
For the 285 million individuals worldwide who are blind or partially sighted, their experience of being able to access their important documents, for example, through online portals, from the organizations they do business with is often exactly like this. Sadly, even in 2016, many companies would not pass this simple “Accessibility Test.”

Global legislation requires that companies and organizations make “reasonable adjustments” so that customers who are blind, partially sighted or have cognitive disabilities have independent access to vital documents such as bills and statements. Companies wishing to avoid legal action and the financial penalties that others have faced have adopted a range of practices to achieve this.

But in reality, for most disabled customers this still means having to make a special request to receive their documents in alternate formats like braille and large print through the mail. The reality is that accessible documents are still very much the exception to businesses rather than the rule.

Customer satisfaction among groups who have to identify themselves as disabled to get access to their documents, financial or otherwise, is often low. And rightly so, since issues of customer confidentiality, discrimination and the time that these remediations can take is often not considered.

It’s time for large organizations to address this issue head on with 21st Century vision. With the help of technology solutions, companies can now make accessible documents part of their ‘business as usual’ processes.

Crawford Technologies has over 20 years of experience helping companies to print and digitize their customer communications, and is one of the global players now leading the way in this field. We have developed a range of software solutions which allow companies to automate the production of accessible documents. This removes the need for their visually and cognitively impaired customers to make special arrangements because all customer documents become ‘accessible’.

For forward thinking companies who adopt solutions like these, the rewards are significant. Customers are happy, leading to exceptional customer loyalty, greatly improved customer satisfaction scores and peace of mind, knowing that even if the legislation changes they are already ahead of the curve. These are the companies that pass the Accessibility Test every time.

To understand how we work with companies to help them pass the “Accessibility Test,” please contact us.