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Today (Tuesday, November 2, 2021) is Purple Tuesday. It is a campaign that aims to improve the customer service experience for disabled people all over the UK and Ireland.

According to the Purple Tuesday campaign, 75% of disabled people have left a store or a website due to poor customer service or accessibility issues.

No retailer would want to alienate any member of the community. This is especially true for independent retailers as are central to their local community and in turn, depend on them for support.

Below we have listed some top tips to help independent retailers ensure that they provide all their customers with an excellent customer service experience, regardless if they are disabled or not.

Patience – It is important to remember that not all disabilities are visible. Remain patient with all your customers as they may have a condition you are unaware of. Your customers will appreciate your patience and be thankful that you did not rush them, even during busy periods when you may have queues forming.

Clear spaces – Keep your aisle are clear, ensuring that no objects are laying around that may cause a tripping hazard for the visually impaired.

Mask wearing in stores – The Hidden Disability Sunflower Lanyard Scheme helped to clear up a lot of confusion regarding who is exempt from wearing a mask during the Coronavirus crisis. Masks are still a legal requirement in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland, while in England it is simply recommended that you wear them in crowded indoor areas. Please be aware that people wearing the Hidden Disability Sunflower Lanyard may be exempt from wearing masks or may require increased social distancing due to being more vulnerable to the virus. It is also important to bear in mind that disabled people are not required to wear the lanyard to signify their mask exemption.

Good lighting – Improving the lighting in your stores will help everyone manoeuvre in your store with ease, as well as aiding those with visual impairments. It is also recommended that you refrain from using flashing lights as they could trigger seizures or sensory overload.

Large font – Using a large font on the POS in your store is a simple way to ensure that more people will be able to read it.

Allow access to assistance animals – While it is unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a disabled person by denying them access to a premise because they are with an assistance animal, many shops may still have “pets not allowed” signs in their window that could make someone with an assistance animal feel unwelcome. Assistance animals are not pets, they are highly trained, have regular veterinary treatments and are regularly tested to make sure they don’t present a health risk. Putting a sign in your window that clearly states “assistance animals welcome” is a small step that will ensure people with assistant animals feel welcome in your store.

For more information about Purple Tuesday, visit their website: Purple Tuesday – Changing the customer experience for disabled people

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