January 10, 2018

From Regulatory Compliance to Positive Customer Experience

Jen Goulden | Project & Quality Manager
document accessibility software products

We’ve been hearing a lot in the last few years about the need to comply with document accessibility regulations. Whether you’re an expert on the subject or just learning the basics, you know that if you provide customer communications you have to make them available in a variety of formats. But does compliance automatically guarantee a positive customer experience?

Compliance is the law, so it’s not an option. Having said that, there is often a gap between regulatory compliance and a positive customer experience. Are we changing the game and saying that compliance is no longer enough? Not at all! But simply providing your sighted customers with information they can read does not ensure that their overall experience with your organization is a positive one. The same is true for your customers who are blind, partially sighted or who have a cognitive disability.

So what else should you consider? Here are some potential gaps between compliance and a truly successful implementation of document accessibility:

  • Offering Accessible PDF or Accessible HTML5 would meet compliance but would likely not meet the needs of all your customers with print disabilities. Some people still prefer hard copies, and for someone who is blind or partially sighted this means large print or braille. People who lose their vision later in life don’t always learn braille and may not be comfortable with technology, so they would require audio. Audio is also a preferred format for some individuals with cognitive disabilities such as dyslexia. We refer to these as format preferences, but in many cases it’s actually a true need rather than something the customer prefers.
  • Both your customers and your front-line agents need to be aware of the services you offer and how your customers can request them. Providing accessible documents is important, but your customers need to know you offer this service. Your front-line agents also need to be aware. Remember that call center agents and advisors are the face of your organization and play a significant role in the customer experience. They should know which services are available and how to request them. Note that the process for requesting accessible documents must itself be accessible. If your customer could complete a printed form independently they would not be making the request in the first place!
  • Finally, customers with document accessibility requirements want the same things from your organization that any other customer wants. All customers, whether they have a disability or not, want to interact with agents and advisors who are friendly and knowledgeable. They want processes that are straightforward and intuitive, and they expect high-quality products and services delivered in a timely manner. These are the elements of customer service that will bridge the gap between compliance and a positive customer experience.

To learn more about compliance, the Section 508 refresh and other accessible document legislation, you can still sign up for our free webinar on Wednesday, January 17 at 1:00 ET.